I used to think the Middle-path was overrated. At best a featureless state of being and at worst an escape from definition.
I have changed my mind.
The middle-path or the middle-ground is a wonderful integration of two opposite forces – both required yet both destructive in their extremes. Hence a balance, an integration of the forces give birth to a third and a more neutral and effective force.
I see this manifested most visibly between the two sections of humanity (my division). Those who are organized and structured and those who are free-flowing or laid back.
The organized guys are wonderful – they are punctual, their bills are paid on time, they are dependable, they remember birthdays and anniversaries and call on those days, they have a well regimented schedule through their day – exercise, food, clothes, logistics et al. You see quite often standing at corners, waiting for the free-flowing character, fretting and fuming, most often the meeting starting with a lecture….
The free-flowing guys are wonderful too – they are musing, dreaming up ideas, relating to the emotions of friends and family, talking about the deep, dark stuff, and generally having and giving a good time. They expect and trust that things will work out – and if they don’t, well, they shrug it off and do without. You see them usually hurrying in a mad rush for a meeting which they are late for, knowing they are in for it. And while the lecture is on, they usually squirm in their place, generally feeling guilty but really having no intention of changing.
But jokes aside, the differences and battles between these two lots of humanity can get ugly. Expectations rapidly degenerate into judgements and judgements rapidly become burdens. Burdens eventually get shrugged off.
It might be important to examine what makes the organized guys feel superior and what makes the free-flowing guys disparaging about the organized ones. Especially when one cannot do without the other. The organized ones face the danger of becoming control-freaks while the free-flowing ones face the danger of becoming anarchists.
Its not only in relationships. Its in the relationship with the self too. The battle only manifests externally, but actually gets played inside us. The willful child against the imposing parent. The grasshopper against the ant. The bird in flight against the final need for it to come to the ground.
Its evident that only free-flowing doesn’t work. One might enjoy the sight and freedom of ripples going in all directions, but ultimately it needs a structure to translate into flow, to gain power. For ideas and dreams to manifest into reality. And structure and form cannot become a purpose by itself … ultimately its useless if does not support something. Until it cannot provide a structure for the idea and the dream and make it happen.
Yet, knowing the necessity, reconciliation between the two forces within and without is difficult. Reaching a middle-path involves giving up pet peeves against the other, involves restricting oneself to a certain extent, involves modifying the free-flight into a more directional flight, loosening up on the grip one keeps… and so on. Often one would rather live with the horrendous consequences of being off-balance, rather than trying to attain middle-path.
The dance between these two forces, when reconciled, can be beautiful. Rhythmic, graceful, powerful, moving, and utterly simple. It can be macabre when not reconciled, degenerating to power-games, one-upmanship, gross and ultimately annihilating. Both aspects fear giving up their comfort zones.
The middle-path, if one can see, is not escaping responsibility, but learning to embrace it. It is not being constrained but learning restraint. It is not losing control but learning flexibility. It is not going into chaos but learning to symphonize. Its not co-option but co-operation.
The middle-path makes its way to a destination, reaches somewhere and achieves something. The other paths generally meander into meaningless nothingness.