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Episode · 1 year ago

Lecture 20 THE MIDDLE WAY

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This lecture aims at finding a happy medium between extreme detachment toward the objects of our desires and excessive attachment to them. Both are unsuited to our nature, which can neither be reduced to its dark side of suffering and death, nor can be viewed exclusively as a bright side that is forever blissful.

Meditation, Time, Lecture Twenty, the Middle Way. The bonds of desire betray a state of servitude doomed to toil and turmoil, and likewise reveal a chance to experience the freedom to live and love life. This paradox spontaneously inspires us with ambivalence, which calls for a middle way between extreme detachment towards the objects of our desires and excessive attachment to them. The one is disproportionate relative to the precarious nature of life that entails the risk of suffering and the certainty of death, but also affords the possibility of fleeting joys and abiding peace. The other is immoderate, given the need to restrain our propensity for clinging to desirable things that are always subject to change. Our human desire as self,...

...however ephemeral, is not illusory by contrast with the divine, eternal self at the heart of everything. It is equally real and must be cherished in all its transient beauty, without hankering after the impossible. What is more, this human desirous self belongs to the realm of existence that manifests and thereby complements the realm of essence. Without this former realm. The latter would amount to a mere potentiality that, worse than questionable, is impossible to test and question and is therefore not until proven otherwise. For that reason, the realm of existence may be regarded as the opportunity for the realm of essence to realize its potential and become selfaware. It is the realm of experience and meaning. Our first responsibility as humans is to be mindful of this experience, perceptions, emotions,...

...reflections and actions in all matters, to acquaint ourselves with every aspect of our complex nature, including our intimate relationship with the outside world. In doing so, we grow increasingly conscious of our three unified levels of being, which are also unified levels of becoming in the ever changing present that constitutes the passage of time. First level of being, it is the most immediately apparent of the three, made of habitual patterns of thought and behavior that were developed in the context of our social shall and natural environment. There we are exposed daily to various sources of information and different types of situation. Every so often, changes in that environment, such as disquieting but reliable information that something deemed good is in fact not so, or a troublesome and unavoidable situation that renders a certain...

...way of acting no longer possible. Challenge these habitual patterns enough to warrant their revision, because they are suddenly at odds with reality and hence fail to meet the basic requirements of truth or efficiency for our survival and happiness. It then behooves us to resist the temptation of denial or renounce the familiarity of past habits to make the necessary adjustments appropriate to the present. In short, we are challenged to adapt on pain of dying or making our own misery. Second level of being. This level refers to our human potential for adaptability, which normally exceeds our assumptions about it by an incredibly wide margin. When comes the time to devise suitable habits of thought or behavior in response to changes in our environment, the most reasonable ad atitude is a leap of faith, with some measure...

...of caution, no matter how diffident we may feel. Patience and persistence are then of the essence to find a new way of seeing or doing things and prove to ourselves that we are indeed far more resourceful than we had reckoned at the outset. Third level of being. We reached there in the last innermost frontier of our existence, which is also the intrinsic creative matrix of everything in the universe. This matrix transcends individual deaths and can rightfully be called divine. Science has often sought to trivialize this originative force by breaking it down into commonplace principles of organization and evolution. Truth is, there is nothing trivial about the eternal source of creation, whose many distinguishable features should not distract us from its fundamental unity. No disjointed medley of forces could ever produce a human being comprising...

...every aspect of the universe and functioning as a unified, if manifold, whole. And so the proper stance toward the eternal source of creation that can be ascertained but never explained is humble reverence.

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