RETURNING TO THE MIDDLE PATH
Dr. Terry A. Gordon
"We dance round in a ring and suppose, but the secret sits in the middle and knows."
~ Robert Frost
A simple plea for calm rippled across the globe after Rodney King, a black motorist who was mercilessly beaten by white police officers tried to coax our collective conscience back to the sense of commonality and decency we had long since forgotten. He implored us all to join him on the middle path as he exclaimed: "Why can't we all get along here?"
Sadly in today's world, we as human beings have become ever more diametrically polarized. Whether it's the conservative right lashing out at the liberal left, the Arabs versus the Jews, or the Shiites in opposition to the Sunnis, the common battle cry is: "I am right and you're not only wrong . . . you're going to hell if you don't embrace what I embrace. And I'll help you get there faster!"
This paralyzing polarity of dogma is of course all based on ego, its intoxicating effect enhanced all the more as one group usurps energy from and gains control over another faction. Ego by its very nature requires conflict in order to justify and nurture its sense of superiority and separateness.
Sadly in today's world, entire generations of children have grown up in a tragic milieu of ego-driven hatred and violence. Anger and hostility is cultivated in our children beginning at a very early age. Palestinian children have been taught to hate Israeli children and vice versa. The Hutus and Tutsis in Rwanda have murdered one another over their perceived differences. All of these and the many other conflicts in our world continuously feed the self-perpetuating cycle, which has never, nor ever will serve a constructive purpose.
It is the constant barrage, the incessant exposure to the negative energy percolating through our world that is poisoning the innocent and fertile minds of our children, adversely affecting adults as well.
It is my belief that the rhetoric gurgling from both political parties in America adds negativity to the Universe as did the recent senseless slaughter by a crazed individual of twenty-six innocent individuals, children included, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut.
OUR BODY IS COMPRISED OF OVER 100 TRILLION CELLS. Every single one strives to aid every other cell, thus working for the common good of them all. The whole is always more important than the egoic sum of its parts. Each of our cells gives its all, ultimately dying in an ego-less fashion in order to make space for a new cell to replace it.
Healthy cells have the capacity to stop their expansion and their growth in order to avoid encroaching on another cell's space. Each cell knows its own individual boundary. As two cells come into contact with one another, there is generally an innate knowledge instructing them to stop growing. This is the essence of life that allows the whole to continue to thrive.
Cancer cells, on the other hand, lack that ability to halt the growth process. Sooner or later, the cancer cells outstrip their own source of nourishment and to survive must encroach on what belongs to the adjacent healthy cells. Ultimately, this paradox of nature results in the death of the total organism, with both healthy and cancerous cells succumbing.
Why is it that we who are composed of trillions of healthy cells have not remembered to practice the same ego-less form of constraint they exhibit? Instead, most of us generally behave like cancer cells. We certainly impose our beliefs, our way of life on others. The history of mankind has seen this sort of expansionism demonstrated repeatedly.
If we chose, however, to live in ego-less fashion and to dedicate ourselves collectively to the service of others, our world in its entirety would benefit immeasurably. Can you imagine a world where the common belief is that the whole is truly the sum of its parts?
If that were embraced, how could anyone be killed by anyone for any purpose? Imagine a world where there were no aberrant renegade cells. No one would be hell-bent on the destruction of any other. There would be no cancer cells, no terrorist cells.
We need to remember that everyone is connected as part of the whole. We must embrace the truth that we are all one. If we impinge on the space of even one human being, we jeopardize the whole of humanity.
It will be from the space of joining our opposition on the middle path where the knowledge and perfect ego-less wisdom we have long forgotten can be rediscovered.
Choosing to embark on this middle path is often viewed as a desertion of personal ideals and convictions, throwing in the towel in reckless abandon in order to placate your opposition; erroneously it can be viewed as acquiescence.
The Middle Path as described in Buddhist philosophy is anything but conciliatory. In fact, the word 'middle' translates into neutral and centered. This middle path is one where the search for solutions to life's challenges can ensue from a place of unbiased consciousness.
We should strive to avoid extremes, instead pursuing The Middle Path. It is from there that one will be able to clearly see with conscious neutrality both sides of any issue. The result: a win-win scenario where previously opposing camps are attracted toward common, middle ground where living harmoniously and peace are manifest. It is from The Middle Path that our swords can be beaten into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks.
"How is it they live for eons in such harmony — the billions of stars — when most men can barely go a minute without declaring war in their mind against someone they know? How can we live in harmony? First we need to know we are all madly in love with the same God."
~St. Thomas Aquinas