Don’t Be Easily Polarized

We should always have unshakable convictions, laws, and morals. However, we shouldn’t place ourselves willingly into any particular ideological box. These terms, theories and identities are too minute, small, and insufficient to attach ourselves too without limiting our growth and development. 

The Sanskrit term “Madhyamāpratipada” describes this phenomenon, meditation, or act of non-polarization in the practitioner, essentially meaning “The Middle Way.”

Many people are familiar in some regard to this concept. It’s been reworded and reworked countless times in countless traditions.

But, for those who aren’t familiar with this concept, I will do my best to summarize it in simple language. 

The “Middle Way” theorizes that while extremes are valid points of view and exist for a reason, they should be avoided by most, if not all spiritual aspirants or those looking to live a practical life. 

Of course, like the Hagalaz rune teaches, sometimes extreme measures must be taken to change a situation or element, but they cannot be practiced or embodied full time if one wishes to achieve moksha, enlightenment, nirvana etc…

We are advised to not delve too deep into the material world of sense-pleasure, as well as to not become to entranced in self-deprecating asceticism. The only reason a person should fall to one side or the other is to re-align and re-balance themselves onto this middle path. That is, of course, if one is conscious and aware that they have fallen out of balance.

The idea is that if we attach ourselves to one side of an idea, excluding the other, we will always face an antithesis regarding the same concept or thought. A type of cognitive dissonance of possibilities. 

Some might be familiar with this concept as mirrored in Greek philosophy under the title of “The Golden Mean…” 

Therefore, by taking the “Middle Way,” we leave no room for alternative or opposite thought or action. It simply becomes “the way” in which all beings “ought” to exist. In short, there is no possible opposite to the middle, so it must be the one true way or “dharma.”

The Neuroscientist Sam Harris touches upon this concept in his book “The Moral Landscape.” Stating that we can scientifically measure and calculate the ways humans “ought” to live.

This practice absorbs into one’s own dharma, duty, and daily rites, becoming one with the Eightfold Path of right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration. 

Strive to detach yourself from labels, identities, and denominations of any kind. They are at an incongruence with freedom of mind, body, and spirit.

Reflections on Nepal

In 2007, my family took a large donation of school supplies to Kathmandu, Nepal. My stepfather had some connections there, so we were able to become acquainted and friendly with the locals fairly quickly. We stayed in a small hotel near the magnificent, blue-eyed stupa in the center of town.

The trip was extremely positive and mind expanding. From listening to the myths and story from locals, smoking Nepalese weed and drinking endless amounts of Yak butter tea; my heart and soul was filled to the brim with new experiences.

However, nothing had as much of an impact as this specific part of the trip.

This picture was taken at the Namo Buddha temple/palace in the foothills of the Himalayas. A 3 hour taxi ride through the ancient winding mountains and farms of Nepal. 

This specific ceremony was a “Long Life” blessing facilitated by Thrangu Rimpoche; one of the most respected and renowned Tibetan Buddhist lamas. We were among a small group of outsiders that were present for this event, and for lack of better words, the feeling was surreal. The atmosphere in the palace was organic, ethereal, and beautiful. An experience nearly untouched since antiquity. The art, colors and sounds robust on the senses.

From what I gathered, most of the monks in the picture had all lived and studied in the palace for their entire lives, but some were also on retreats or pilgrimages.

You could feel that Thrangu radiated kindness and care for the people and also how much these monks loved and cared for this man in return. It was an equal exchange of respect as he and his disciples were indistinguishable in dress and stature. There was a bigger “Love” here than the West has had access to in recent centuries, buried many years ago by Christianity and materialism.

Each person in the ceremony was able to make an offering personally and receive an individual blessing from Rimpoce. I genuinely felt during and afterward that it had affected my well being, which was enough convincing for me of its’ potency and effect. Being from America, these “occult” feelings are rarely discussed unless in specific groups or families, but in this Eastern culture, it is no new conversation or taboo subject to discuss and experiment with the science and systems of the mind and how they correlate to the body and ultimate well being of the individual. These people were clearly much more “in tune” as a whole than the people I had left behind in the states; and this was the poorest country in the world at the time.

I felt something inside as I walked amongst the gold, red and endless colors around me. The Himalayan air fresh and furious in my lungs with nothing but ancient beauty surrounding me. Ancient Tibetan Pagan beauty.

My experience and understanding of Buddhism set the stage for my spiritual development as it was the seemingly best and most effective system at controlling the mind and will. The techniques only differ in name and execution among the pre- Christian European natives, making “Folkish” native Paganism and the ancient Pagan mind that much easier to understand and ultimately “remember.”

It is important for all European Pagans to explore Buddhism (and Hinduism) to fully understand their own religion, culture and history; as these chains have remained unbroken by the Abrahamic world since they were established. The Vedic roots of the religion can be connected all the way up the tree into the last Pagan periods, with a written and documented history of myth dating back nearly 4000 years. I am not saying become Hindu or Buddhist, but through exploration of their systems we are better able to understand the techniques and myths later described and practiced by Greek, Germanic, Celtic, and Slavic cultures. Ethics, focus, and culture of course change as things develop and tribes expand, but it is wise to understand the roots of something if you want to be able to expand and use the branches attached to them.

As you become more and more familiar with the Eddas and Vedas, you will begin to reestablish contact with a 4000+ year old system and framework of culture, myth and religion. What you do with the pieces in between is up to your and your own experience and history. But it is not wise to overlook the framework we are given. 

Hail to the Jewel in the Lotus!