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The Middle Path

Every regimen of study, work, personal grooming or health which I have ever adapted and used successfully in my life, had to contain the elements of Reasonableness and Moderation. I never had the constitution for unremitting fanaticism. The Middle Path has always worked best for me. Whenever I did undertake a campaign of intense, focused effort, no matter how convinced of its necessity I might have been at the outset, I always found myself needing to take days off for rest and re-evaluation. 

The Buddha discovered the Middle Path when he overheard a music teacher observing that if you don't tighten a string enough, it will not play; but if you tighten it too much, it will break! That made sense to Siddhartha, and it makes sense to me. 

In my lifetime, I have witnessed too many beautiful athletes who died young because they pushed themselves to train too hard. Whenever I have come near that point of exhaustion, my survival instinct has intervened to save me from such a fate. I was content to allow those who were obviously more gifted in such areas to attain the gold medals; at least I was still alive to fight another day! I always felt that I was needed for some other purpose yet to come; I wasn't supposed to sacrifice everything, just yet. Not for this. 

In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says that Yoga is the Middle Path. It is neither for the glutton who stuffs himself with too much food, nor for the ascetic who denies himself any food at all. Nature dictates a proper balance between Ahimsa and Tapas. 

To an actor, the art of performance is a delicate balance between muscular tone and total flexibility - a Middle Path employing both diaphragmatic tension and relaxed vocal chords. You must be trained and thoroughly rehearsed, but you must also be sensitive to the ephemeral inspiration of the moment. 

Life itself is like walking on a tightrope or the edge of a blade. It takes constant rebalancing and adjustment to keep from slipping off. You need strength to hold yourself up, but at the same time you must be pliable and responsive to every changing wind that may strike you from any direction. 

A tree that cannot bend will break.  

A similar Middle Path applies, I think, when it comes to the degree of complexity we need to accept in order to function well. Some years ago, I ran across an online book that claimed to be a Medieval Alchemy text revealing the ancient secrets of Creation. Its pages displayed hundreds of abstruse metaphysical drawings, showing supposed correspondences between planets, elements, colors, vowel sounds, chakras, numerical sequences and kabalistic designs - none of which bore any relationship to anything I had to deal with in my everyday life. 

It was even more complicated than the yoga style that insists on perfect alignment of each muscle and joint in the foot, ankle, calf, knee and thigh before a person can be considered to be properly standing up!   

As diverting as such tidbits of knowledge are, for a person of my mental and emotional composition keeping them all simultaneously in mind would be more than obsessive-compulsive. It would make me crazy. 

I'm not saying that the laws of the universe aren't complicated. But I don’t have to be able to build a car in order to drive one. A basic understanding of how it works and experience behind the wheel are enough to make me a skillful driver. 

I think the same principle applies to skillful living. I need a basic understanding of my body, my world and my culture. I need to spend some years learning how to operate within these elements in a practical way. I don't need to know as much as the Divine Architect of the universe. But neither should I take Her lessons for granted; I should pay attention. 

Referring back to the Buddha, one day his disciples came to him asking how to breathe. (They were Hindus, and Yoga prescribes a multitude of different breathing patterns under Pranayama.) Siddhartha cooled their mania by observing that the salient point was simply to breathe. Each person could decide how for himself. 

People can make life as complicated as they wish; but it doesn't need to be more complicated than that. 

On the World Tree, human beings occupy Middle Earth - the realm between the Heavens and the Lower Depths. This is the very fulcrum of the seesaw, the point of Balance itself. 

If this doesn't speak to us about the advisability of the Middle Path, maybe we're not listening closely enough.

 

 

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A student of esoteric traditions since the age of 16, Ted Czukor (Theo the Green) began teaching Yoga in 1976 and was adjunct faculty in the Maricopa, AZ Community Colleges for 26 years until retiring in 2013. Raised Christian but deeply influenced by Rosicrucianism, Vedanta, Hinduism and Buddhism, his Pagan worship has strong Gaia-Goddess tendencies. He is an Interfaith wedding celebrant and the author of several books, two of which are available online. He lives with his wife Ravyn-Morgayne in Sun City, Arizona.

Comments

  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor Saturday, 14 September 2013

    Indeed, my friend, one day at a time; one present moment at a time. It must be very hard to work with the small keys on a cell phone. If I didn't have a desk top computer with a regular keyboard, I don't know how I'd keep this up. Say, which Ren Fest do you work? My wife and I have been going to the Phoenix AZ Ren Faire for a few years, but it's so hot and dry! We used to live on the East Coast, and the Ren Faires in Sterling Forest NY, and at The Cloisters, were so much more like England; there were actual trees and grass! We saw Oberon Zell's unicorn Lancelot there, when he was still a kid.

  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor Saturday, 14 September 2013

    Dear GBH: You asked a question about the Enlightening and Empowering Ritual, which is Francesca's bailywick. But since she is busy this weekend, I would just gently remind you that the sun rises in the East (New York) and sets in the West (California). HOWEVER, there is no hard-and-fast rule about where you have to face when meditating or doing a ritual. Some Gurus recommend facing East in the morning, South in the middle of the day and West in the evening - but you may safely experiment with different variations to see which works best for you. I think Francesca will agree that there is not so much any danger in facing the "wrong" way, rather it is a case of the ritual just not working as well. It's kind of like why you shouldn't drink grapefruit juice if you take a statin for high cholesterol; the juice doesn't poison you, it just reduces the efficacy of the medication.

    By the way, I know nothing about posting pictures to this site. I've wondered about that, too.

  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis Saturday, 14 September 2013

    Had unexpected free moment to drop by. Commented on another person's blog on the way to this dialog here, which has so much new stuff that I can't read all of it in the little time i have. But know I am thinking of you two!

  • G. B. Harte
    G. B. Harte Saturday, 14 September 2013

    Hailings, 'Sir' Ted & 'Lady' Francesca .....
    Ok....
    Let's see if I can do this .....
    ..... & see if this 'unit' will permit me to do this .....

    I do the Koroneburg Renaissance Festival in Corona, CA.
    I am two (2) persona's there .....
    > Dr./Prof. Konrad von Gessner. Swiss. Naturalist. 1516 to 1565. Doctor of Medicine & Illustrator of Wildlife. Author.
    Mountain climber.
    >> Astorious AlbusBarba. Generic Pagan. Runecaster.
    I work thru the "Guilde of Science & Arts".
    I can also be found next door at the 'Chapbooks' shoppe hawking the chappaper & chapbooks.

    I usually do north.
    Then go in the circle.

    Hope you are both having a good weekend.....

    Astorious
    15:05 pac
    9/14/2013

  • G. B. Harte
    G. B. Harte Saturday, 14 September 2013

    Salutatio.....

    It gets dry & dusty here too!

    Here is the 'official' 'site' for K'burgh >
    http://koroneburg.com/

    Here is the Guilde's 'site' >>
    http://guildofscienceandarts.com/

    We have many 'historical' personages ->
    Galileo, Nostradamous, Captain Cook, Shakespere, Gessner, etc....

    Astorious
    15:33 pac
    9/14/2013

  • G. B. Harte
    G. B. Harte Thursday, 17 October 2013

    Hailings....

    ....from 'both of us'.....

    Draconae Ethereal & Mundanian Mortalis Humanitus.....

    It has been 33 days since any 'comment' postings to this 'topic'......
    'We' are still 'here' in the cyberspace cyberrealm as well as the more mundane realm physical.
    'We' have been 'here'/here - ethereal cyber & mundane physical - for 33 days, since 'our' 09.14.2013 comments about the annual Koroneburgh Renaissance Festival, this 'Middle Path' meeting place 'topic' has gone silent.
    Ted & Francesca have you 'moved on' to other subjects & topics?
    Has this cybernetic 'meeting space' truly 'gone silent'?
    'We' are still very much still 'here'/here.
    Anybody else from Anywhere, Anywhen ?.....

    Does it even matter?....

    Just a few thoughts from a Mortalis Mundanis & Ethereal Draconis here quietly in the 'Domus Familius' before today's Guitar lesson & other doings & 'tendings...

    So such it be .....

    GBH / Astorious
    05:55 am pac.
    10.17.2013

  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor Thursday, 17 October 2013

    My esteemed Dragon friend: I acknowledged your communication on September 13th and made a direct request of you. I had hoped to receive some sort of response. I respectfully assume that the oversight was due to the limitations of your human translator, since it could not have been committed by one as omniscient as yourself.

  • G. B. Harte
    G. B. Harte Thursday, 17 October 2013

    Hailings, Ted .....

    Human & Draconis both 'here'/here.....
    .... 'here' thru these 'online' 'single-fingerings'
    as well as back 'in' from 'out' .....

    H} > Your 'Guides'.....

    D} >> What do You 'sense'? What do You 'feel'?

    H} > Do You have an 'affinity' or 'calling' to something or someone? Are You 'drawn' or 'pulled' by something or someone?

    D} In Your 'dreams' or 'meditation's' are there recurring images, sounds or themes & patterns?

    H} & D} .... Yes. These are only questions. It is where GBH started. We can & will continue this but there are mundanian 'tendings to be tended.....

    GBH / Astorious
    17:50/5:50 pm pac
    10.17.2013

  • G. B. Harte
    G. B. Harte Thursday, 17 October 2013

    Hailings et Continuo #1 ....

    Ok.
    Time for a 'mea culpa'.
    We both missed Your 'Guides' question.
    Yes. Both of us.
    Human who may have been having a bad case of '13th' ....
    & Draconae who may? have been up to its winglets in dealing with its Human on that '13th'.....

    D} >> Guides are very quietly, privately personal.
    We are often not even noticed.
    To even know that 'we' (the ethereal 'guide(s)') are even present is not something every Human can do or is even capable of doing.
    There are so very many kinds, types & forms of 'guide(s)' that GBH - He who is sitting in His bed not watching the baseball game slowly 'single-fingering' all of this into a tiny screen screen His eyes don't like - cannot tell you.

    H} > Perhaps not directly can I tell You but there is the thought question from the Native American's - What is Your 'totem'?

    D} > GBH is working to pull some thoughts together.
    I am 'sending' some thoughts to Him.
    It has been mundae physically a very disrupted & dischordant week. GBH is requesting some very discrete diplomacy.....
    Emotionally & Psychologically it has been really quiet.
    Distractions have ruled the past 10 days.
    Your 'reminder' of our dually-missed 'Guides' question along with a new guitar exercise for next week may? do Him a great deal of good.....

    H} Re-writing that empty, pointless & musically futile 'Minor Melody' also helped. Gahhh..... Random notes in a 3 line whatever..... No pattern. No flow. No ... anything.
    & *that!* just triggered a thought.....
    Have there been any 'patterns' or 'flows' recently - or even perhaps not recently - that might be quietly & discretely (so much so You may? never have paid attention to them) 'speaking' to You? Or? like 'Minor Melody' just a series of random notes on a page?....

    & with that 'we' move from bed in bedroom to chair in family room so M. is not there watching baseball alone plus it's almost time for 'Jeopardy'......

    We may? not be 'single-finger' scribing but 'we' will be thinking.......

    GBH / Astorious
    18:55 pm pac.
    10.17.2013

  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor Thursday, 17 October 2013

    I apologize to you both for making you work so hard on such a private matter; I should not have imposed on either of you. I described my Guides' voices in my blog entry, Uncovering My Real Roots, posted on 31st August. They have spoken to me periodically over the years, saving me from some dangers of my own making. I do not know who they are, or what we may have been to each other in past lives, but they have never let me down. I should have realized that they had good reasons for not revealing these secrets yet, and that a friendly "shout-out" to them from another Spirit Guide would not do it either! That was just the curiosity of my ego. It's not important. I apologize again.

  • G. B. Harte
    G. B. Harte Thursday, 17 October 2013

    Ted ....

    Worry not.
    It was a very timely request.
    Both of us have been so 'lock-focussed' on raising & maintaining 'shields' that something to think-upon other than how to 'not react/not respond' has been very welcome. That book you mentioned. Is there a free e-edition? Sounds like something that would be worth reading. Even if there is no e-edition is it available in a store or thru an online store? Might take time for me to be able to order it so I can read it but it should eventually happen..... Sitting here 'not reacting/not responding'......
    I need something better than a tv baseball.game to distract me from sitting here like a silent statue. Do Not Apologise.
    Give me something more to think upon & challenge my mind with...... I am working so hard to 'not react/respond' I just had a 'shuddering shiver'..... & the home plate umpire just got flattened...... & I post/send this before I scribe up another encyclopaedia volume......
    20:40/8:40 pm pac. 10.17.2013

  • G. B. Harte
    G. B. Harte Thursday, 17 October 2013

    Ted ....

    Game over.
    I have 'escaped' to my 'shielded' room.
    Now that I am back in this 'shielded' room a few quick bits of explanation.....

    I mentioned 'not reacting/not responding'.
    What is it I am 'not reacting/responding' to?

    M.'s never-ending 'stream-of-consciousness' virtual non-stop 'conversation'.....

    On the way to guitar lesson.
    On the way to KMart after lesson.
    On the way to a very late lunch after KMart.
    On the way home after lunch.

    I am ... at least I think I am .... doing better.
    I may be ... by my own admittedly inaccurate & not to be trusted 'guesstimate' .... somewhere between 85% to 95% able to 'shield' myself from this never-ending s.o.c.
    onslaught.
    It was only either last night or the night before that I finally realized why I have been so 'internally disrupted'.
    So much non-stop s.o.c. I've been 'buried in the avalanche'.......

    If only for a few hours - relatively! - I had something else in my thoughts other than .....
    "....We need to do lunch after KMart. You need to check for sweaters. Did you get the cat food in from the car? The birdfeeders are empty. I need to go water the roses. When we go out we need to stop for gas. Do we need to stop & get milk & yoghurt? He should not have swung at that. Remember your walking stick when you go get the mail. Paper sacks for the groceries. That was not a foul ball. ..... .... ..."

    Just imagine an entire day of that.....
    Then a week of days of that.....
    Then a month of weeks of days of that.....

    Thus ....

    Do Not React.
    Do Not Respond.

    Later.....
    I am again 'hogging the stage'.....

    Benedictus Bonum Sum.....
    Benedictions Blessings Be.....

    GBH / Astorious
    21:45/9:45 pm pac
    10.17.2013

  • G. B. Harte
    G. B. Harte Thursday, 17 October 2013

    Ted ....

    1 final thought .....
    It was not a book.
    It was your blog.
    I've again been s-o-c'ed into an 'oops'.
    Blog. Not book. Either way I should read it.....

    GBH / Astorious
    21:55/9:55 pm pac
    10.17.2013

  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor Friday, 18 October 2013

    Okay. First response thoughts. Please forgive if I misread the cues; they were a little obscure.

    Sometimes, in a committed interpersonal relationship, each partner may care too much…about different things. At first this conflict can seem sexy; but if it continues for too long a time, it can tear you apart.

    Uncontrolled stream-of-consciousness talking can be caused by two things: (1) a mental illness (in which case it's not that person's fault and he or she needs professional help; or (2) a desperate feeling that the object of his/her affection is no longer interested. In this case, closing yourself off (and refusing to respond) will only deepen that anxiety and increase the babble. What is needed is a quiet, honest conversation (with the TV off) in which you politely take turns and each allow the other to get everything off their chest. But Really Listen! Communication is everything. Without it, no relationship can escape dysfunction.

  • G. B. Harte
    G. B. Harte Sunday, 20 October 2013

    Ted -
    & Francesca? -

    Very Briefly here from my 'tv room chair' on a Sundae night during 'half-time' ....

    Hope I make coherent sense here. Distractions & disruptions abounding ....

    You points are very well taken.
    There is a possible 3rd option & it is that option that I find myself living, enduring & surviving thru....
    That option is simply an opinionated, set-in-her-thoughts-&-ways, living 'inside the box', seriously 'senior citizen' aged female parent. She 'misses conversations' so I get the incessant s-o-c verbal overloading. She admits to being 'picky & opinionated'. She will just sit there & talk, talk, talk......
    I have to endure & survive this.
    Tonight, as I am 'single-fingering' this I am enduring & surviving her never-ending comments.....

    Ok.....
    Enough of that....

    I have been posting out a Sundae morning 'Benedictus'? on FB 'messenger'.
    In time I intend to recycle/repost those 'Benedictions' here but not until I have a better way to do it other than this micro-screen 'unit'.
    Until such time as I can set-up & utilize my own place-space on this site do you have a FB 'messenger' account so I can add you (& Francesca?) to the 'Group' list?

    Ok....
    Almost back the game & I need to go get some guitar work done.....

    Later?

    GBH / Astorious
    19:45/7:45 pm pac.
    10.20.2013

  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor Sunday, 20 October 2013

    No, I canceled my personal Facebook account over a year ago. While there were some nice things about it - like catching up with old friends - the sheer waste of time and the negative (and ignorant) comments from people I hardly knew were driving me crazy.

  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor Sunday, 20 October 2013

    Sorry about your Mom, GBH. I had no way of knowing who "M" was, so I took a stab at it. Dealing with the senior ramblings of any relative is one of the hardest things we will ever have to endure, so I feel for you. When I'm in that situation I keep thinking of Karma - and I wonder who will have to put up with me when I get to be that way. It's not a nice picture, but one we all have to face sooner or later. Hang in there, my friend. This, too, shall pass.

  • G. B. Harte
    G. B. Harte Sunday, 20 October 2013

    Afterhours!.....

    Yes. 'M.' is indeed Mother.
    The 'She who is.....' .....

    Just set the guitar away for tonight.
    Got almost an entire hour+ in total today.

    Ramblings?
    I hear you on that.
    Although for me it will likely be the sleeping cat(s) that will have to listen to me.....
    ..... though there have been times when 'editorially' I may have already done my share of 'background noise'......

    Ok....
    Shutting down from 'here' on this 'unit' & here physically from this closed-door 'quiet'space'.....

    Benedictus Bonum Sum / Benedictions Blessings Be....

    Later?....

    GBH / Astorious
    20:30/8:30 pm pac.
    10.20.2013

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