Posted inDharma, Henry's Messages

Message from Henry: Balance, The Middle Way

July 20, 2022

We’re either deconstructing difficulty, on the one hand. Or on the other hand, amplifying, expanding, opening to the good.

~ Henry Shukman

All meditation is either addressing what’s difficult – as we do when we sit with a hindrance, with a difficult emotion – or it’s cultivating what’s good and pleasant and wholesome. And in some cases, expansive or even mind-blowing.

You can see this all the way through the various practices. We’re either deconstructing difficulty, on the one hand. Or on the other hand, amplifying, expanding, opening to the good.

One example of this is cultivating good states of mind, such as the “sublime abidings” (for example, metta and karuna), which is a common practice in some schools of Buddhism. Another would be the path of seeking to release the separate self and open to original nature. Both of these would be emphasizing the good.

On the other hand, some schools place more emphasis on uprooting afflictive emotions. Once they are fully uprooted, the good shines clear by itself.

You can see that certain traditions tend to emphasize one side more than another, one side or the other side. Probably a healthy balance be aware of both sides of practice.

Depending on our history, temperament and circumstances, the bigger work for us may be one side more than the other. For many, it seems to be dealing with difficulty. But even then, that can actually be made greatly easier, by at times also opening toward what’s good.

For others, the call of liberation, realization, awakening is strong, and they veer toward practices that more directly address that side. But even for them, it’s good not to forget other parts of the psyche that still suffer. A hazard of awakening practice is to override and in effect smother unhealed parts of the psyche.

In the end, once again, the middle way of both/and, of neither/nor, is likely the best way.

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