The final of the four truths, or Facts of Life, taught by the Buddha is an outline for a way of living that will enable one to live in a ‘right’ way according to one’s nature, in tune with Reality. The Noble Eightfold Path, as it is called, sets this out, culminating in the state of unity with the Divine Presence. This Truth is called marga, meaning the path.
The Buddhist concept of the path, called the Middle Path, is very consistent with the new spirituality that is emerging on the planet today. It is inclusive of the opposites without being controlled by one or the other. It values both the positive and the negative, the higher and the lower. This new spirituality that is seeking to manifest is a challenge to the consciousness of people who are caught either in the old religious dichotomies, or in reactions to the old style religions.
The traditional religious dichotomies describe reality in terms of right and wrong, good and evil, with specific belief systems clearly defining which is which. Those who take the opposite stance of discrediting these views maintain that there are no such objective standards, or at least not in the way they are traditionally defined.
The new spirituality avoids the judgments of the opposites and finds value in all expressions of life. The understanding is that whatever exists is part of the whole, and therefore meaningful in terms of potential learning for us humans. Much of what people see as wrong or evil is a great challenge to our selfishness and ignorance, urging us toward compassion and understanding.
It is not a matter of identifying what is wrong and trying to eradicate it, but to discover what the lessons are and learn from them. The so-called negative side of life exists as a means of teaching us what we would not otherwise be challenged to learn. If we learn what we are challenged to learn, the negative no longer needs to be present for its purpose has been served. Through our learning we are then capable of expanding our consciousness and being of greater service to others.
The middle path is the valuing of all things, all people and all experiences as a useful, and even necessary, part of the wholeness of life. If we have the idea that we need to strive to experience wholeness rather than perfection then we have a sound foundation upon which to embrace the opposites as part of that wholeness, as well as a useful pathway to experience more of that wholeness. In this way we are not inclined to de-value any experience, any person or any reality. We can then appreciate all that we are and experience as a manifestation of universal beauty, goodness and love.
If we do what is required in the first three steps of the journey, which we have presented in the previous three Soul Perspectives, living the first three Facts of Life, the fourth follows naturally and automatically. We will then be on the middle path, the creative path of living our dreams, joyfully embracing whatever comes along as energy for the journey.