Right Down the Middle

KMHuberImage; St. Mark's Wildlife Refuge; Florida; USA

I often think of present moment awareness as a matter of balance, and whenever I think of balance, I think of Buddha nature: “The reason everything looks beautiful is because it is out of balance, but its background is always in perfect harmony” (Shunryu Suzuki).

The background balance of Buddha nature is the source of the infinite possibilities available to us in every moment we have. Our lives are up-and-down, in and out, and all the while, the balance of Buddha nature holds it together while we try this and that.

There are many names for Buddha nature— the web that has no weaver, God, Allah, the Tao— and underlying them all is impermanence, the pain and pleasure of existence. All the great traditions offer ways to accept impermanence, for if we can wrap ourselves around the idea that change is what offers us opportunities, we can live in the moment for all that we are.

There is no one way to present moment awareness but all the great traditions encourage living life fully present.  They offer prayer and meditation as tools but only we can find our middle way for balance is uniquely personal.

Thick of it 0313

Yet, the nature of impermanence is that balance requires constant adjustment. Just when we think we have found balance, a way to live that accounts for most possibilities, something changes. Sometimes, everything changes or at least seems that way.

Those are the moments of greatest opportunity but they often require everything of us. Our emotions rage. These are not moments to be passed off in positive platitudes or repressed in any way. These are moments to explore the energy beneath the emotion. Present moment awareness plunges us into the energy without the thought.

Many of the traditions define emotion as raw energy with thought or a story attached to it. Usually, many stories emerge with our emotions. It is the stories that bubble up and we attach to them. Before we know it, our thoughts have removed us from the rawness of what is occurring.

The result is we either stuff the emotion away or devise a strategy to control what we are feeling but regardless, we do not immerse ourselves in the rawness but impermanence is the nature of existence, so we will get another opportunity. What present moment awareness offers is a way to wake up and be in the rawness.

Single Path 0313

It is not surprising that we are resistant to being in the moment for it means accepting the unknown, yet we do not doubt that life is unpredictable.  We want a certain amount of unpredictability in our lives but we do not want to be uncomfortable.

When something outside our regular routine occurs, we get unsettled, and we struggle for balance. Whether the occurrence is as minor as not being able to get a cup of coffee or if it is life-changing, accepting impermanence as the nature of our lives gives us the power to deal with change. It is not approval of any event but acceptance of impermanence.

“So this place of meeting our edge, of accepting the present moment and the unknown, is a very powerful place for the person who wishes to awaken and open their heart and mind…it is what propels us toward transformation…the present moment is the fuel for your personal journey” (Pema Chödrön).

Meditation and prayer are two, sustainable fuel resources and always available. We begin within so that we may be all we want to be to the world. In finding our unique middle way, we awaken our hearts and minds to the ways of the world, able to adjust to its constant flux.

14 thoughts on “Right Down the Middle

  1. Really liked “if we can wrap ourselves around the idea that change is what offers us opportunities, we can live in the moment for all that we are” so very true! Kind of like a gestalt moment where we keep shifting our perspectives/perceptions!!! Thanks so much for sharing….

    Like

    1. Yes, rather like a gestalt moment, which I had not considered for every moment is unique so there is a constant shift. Thanks for that and for stopping by.
      KM

      Like

  2. Thank you, Karen, for sharing your wonderful thoughts, as always! It is too easy for us to fall from balance – to let events overwhelm, and I think the philosophies of the East offer us wisdoms that we often forget in our hectic tech-western world.. I had an incident this last week which was unexpected and certainly expensive – will be blogging about it Sunday. Underscored the realities of impermanence. It would have been too easy to turn it into something distressing or worrisome; but the reality is that we have to accept what comes our way; and in the greater scheme of things it was nothing to unbalance life.

    Like

    1. Glad to hear all is well, Matthew, and as I am so tardy in my response to your comment, I will check out today’s post from you. As I mentioned to Kozo, I suspect ours is to accept the impermanence for as you say in the the greater scheme of things, or the background, all is in balance or Buddha nature, meaning the chaos plays out against a constant backdrop. Thanks, Matthew!
      KM

      Like

  3. I agree with Kenetha: so much wisdom here as usual. I love how you keep pushing us out of our comfort zones here, KM. We think we can find peace in the dharma, but this peace is impermanent. We look in the moment, but the moment is full of the unknown. Your phrase, “but impermanence is the nature of existence, so we will get another opportunity” says it all. I love how you use the word “opportunity.” Yes! impermanence is an opportunity to fully embody the now. Thank you for taking us on this high-wire balancing journey towards acceptance and peace. {{{hugs]}} Kozo

    Like

    1. Hello, Kozo!
      It may just be that once we stop struggling against the impermanence that is the nature of our lives, we will suffer less. And although I am not sure, I suspect peace may reside in that impermanence, much as you suggest. Isn’t it fun to be exploring this together? I think this puts the ball your court now! Hugs to you.
      KM

      Like

  4. Hi Karen, as usual you hit the nail right on the head. Changes can bring so much fear with them, yet as you say if we relax into the moment we see opportunities unfold and move forward to where we need to go.

    Like

    1. Hi, Athena!
      I apologize for being so tardy in my response to your comment but as you say, no matter how difficult the moment, if we settle into it, it will provide us opportunities. Thanks for all the support, Athena.
      KM

      Like

  5. Your posts are always such a wealth of wisdom, Karen. They always help me to see things afresh. I particularly like this reminder: “What present moment awareness offers is a way to wake up and be in the rawness.” I am so often guilty of trying to run from the rawness, but the times I do have the courage to just be in the rawness, it passes so much more gently and quickly. It sounds backwards, but I’m learning that the most self-compassionate thing I can do in most times of rawness is to just be there in it – not to run, not to hide, not to try to distract myself from it – just be there.

    Thanks, as always, for sharing!

    Like

    1. Hi, Kenetha! What you say does not sound backward at all to me but as you say, the most compassionate thing to do for if we learn to be in our own rawness, we are compassionate with others when they are raw, however that might affect us. Thanks for stopping by and sorry for the response to your comment.
      KM

      Like

    1. Hi, Diana!
      Things are what they are but I am learning a lot. Such is impermanence, eh? I apologize for being so tardy in my response to your comment. Thanks, Diana!
      KM

      Like

  6. Love this:
    Those are the moments of greatest opportunity but they often require everything of us. Our emotions rage. These are not moments to be passed off in positive platitudes or repressed in any way. These are moments to explore the energy beneath the emotion.
    So true!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s