It’s a Feeling
Middleway Method is for those of us who aren’t interested in believing in other people’s ideas. It is for people who recognize that methods, philosophies, religions, fads, and trends are usually forms of popular consumerism, dumbed down to the lowest common denominator, designed to retain users in order to extract money from us. Middleway Method is for those of us who appreciate the practical insights that curious people derive from our ordinary lives of trial and error. We love to learn from everything – from our own success and failure, from other’s grace and folly, and especially from mere existence itself. Practiced properly, Middleway Method quickly makes itself obsolete, as we come to appreciate that it is pointing to nothing but our own natural intelligence.
Middleway Method is useful in the sense that we can practice it to remind ourselves what we already know. When we are willing to learn from what we observe with naked awareness, then we will naturally find this so-called Middleway Method on our own, without any help from anyone. Then we can say, “Middleway Method is nothing. It is just nature, doing its thing.” If we pay attention to the way things are, the way things behave, and then we make choices that are expressions of our own common sense in response to the real situation, we will be doing something like Middleway Method, and we will have no use for the method itself. It is just a collection of suggestions that might help us get to a place in body and mind where we are able to notice our natural wisdom and then interact with life in our own spontaneous, creative ways.
The goal of Middleway Method practice is to develop our physical and mental health to the extent that we can recognize our own natural wisdom. When present, physical dysfunction, tension, and pain dominate our attention, drawing it in and away from our functional body-wisdom. When there is physical and mental discomfort, we tend to concentrate on it, rather than on the sensations of our natural self-balancing capacity. In other words, we concentrate on the sensations of the problem rather than the sensations of the solution. Even in the midst of acute physical pain, our bodies give us direct feedback, solution sensations, that indicate what best supports healing and resolution. These are big words to describe simple sensations. It is merely the contrast between “Ouch,” or “No,” and “Ahh,” or “Yes,” that distinguish problem sensations from solution sensations. Abiding by the axiom, “Do what works,” we do what produces “Ahh,” and limit doing what produces “Ouch.”
If this seems deceptively simple, that is because it is. It is so simple that through mental over-complication and the tendency to concentrate more on problems than on solutions, we have lost track of an essential and natural felt-sense. Middleway Method seeks to restore our sensitivity to our felt-sense of right and good, as it is communicated to the mind from the body. Once we recognize that bodily sense of right and good, then the method we practiced to achieve that recognition is no longer necessary. Once we figure out how to support our own physical and mental health, then our true nature does the rest. Our minds imagine, discover, and create. Our bodies heal, enliven, and communicate with us.
Some of us really like to be told what to do. We like an authority figure to say, “This is good. That is bad. Do this. Don’t do that.” Middleway Method assumes that we possess, as a very natural aspect of being alive, the basic feedback mechanisms necessary to make those determinations on our own. All the method does is suggest experiments that we can do to might help us access those natural feedback mechanisms, in order to make informed, autonomous decisions on the basis of our own intelligence. If we want Middleway Method to tell us what to do and not to do, here is the best it can do: Discriminate between useful or not useful activities according to how you feel in your body. If you feel good in your body, then the thing you are doing might be useful. If you feel not-good in your body, then the thing you are doing may not be useful. For the moment, at least.
Most of us have the means, resources, and capacities to live in ways that are balanced and healthy in body and mind. Merely by paying attention to the natural wisdom of our bodies, we can make choices to use our resources in ways that feel right and good. Doing this, one choice at a time, we can grow and sustain our own wellness. Like gardeners who learn about plants by taking care of plants, we can learn about the workings of our bodies and minds by taking care of them, attending to them, and watching our responses to things. We are naturally endowed with body-wisdom that can discern between what is right and good, and what does not promote life and balance. This wisdom is not a thought, not a philosophy, not a religion, and not a method. It is a feeling. It is a knowing that is irrefutable, trustworthy, and life-affirming. This knowing is our guide.