The Buddha’s Middle Way

Book: Coming Full Circle through Changes, Challenges and Transitions  (available on Amazon)


It seems as though, in the past few years,  the ability to compromise or to walk in one another’s shoes has often been lost.  That ability to have empathy or to consider the common good is no longer the Gold Standard. The gap has widened between polarities, and it has become more difficult to bridge that chasm. Of course, this is not always true, and we find a new humanity arising among us. However, this is never more evident than in the big issues of our day.

Often it seems that people have dug in their heels and refused to consider that each side of an issue has some valid points. Where is the middle ground? If we will take just a few minutes to drop our defenses, it soon becomes evident that there are always pro’s and con’s to be considered. If I am the owner or CEO of a company responsible for putting a great deal of pollution into the air, then I will oppose the idea of climate change. However, if I am a person with COPD or Asthma, finding it hard to breathe with the pollution, my position will take the opposite view.

The company will, of course, be concerned with their profits, but they might also be concerned for all the workers who could possibly lose their income and be thrown into hardship. On the other hand, the person with breathing difficulties has another set of problems, both physical and economic to consider. Somewhere in-between there is a solution, if there is a willingness to genuinely do so. The grass growers, who burned their fields in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, faced this issue for years. There was lots of controversy while they worked on other ways to achieve a solution to halt burning and yet accomplish what needed to happen for the grass growers. At the same time they had to consider all the people who had to leave the area for a month at a time when field burning took place. Over time, they slowly found ways to find a balance and achieve a basically win/win solution.

And of course, this is just one example among many where solutions can be found if true compassion and compromise were to take place. Thinking on this subject, my mind drifted back to the 60’s and the counter-culture years when our cultural paradigm began to make a noticeable shift. Pop-psychology was big then and we learned how to move from the “I win/you lose,” or the “You win/I lose” mentality to the “Win/Win” where we found a fair solution that benefited both parties. And there was the variation: “I’m okay/you’re okay.” People were enthused and one heard those concepts being discussed and utilized in many situations. In the Eugene, Oregon school district where I worked in a large school, we solved many of our staff issues in this manner.

Perhaps we need another Buddha or a new and advanced Counter Culture Movement to appear and show us, once again, “The Middle Way?”

“Between right doing and wrong doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”    -Rumi





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