Seeking a middle way, 中道.

Living through arduous times, makes us wonder. What we should do and what we can live with (or without). It seems that our emotional balance is simply ‘off kilter’.

There’s a well-known story about a sitar player who was discouraged with his meditation practice, music and felt deeply stressed in his everyday life.

He went to Siddhartha Gotama, the Shakyamuni Buddha, and asked for advice.

“What happens when you tune your instrument too tightly?” the Buddha asked.

“The strings break,” the musician replied.

“And what happens when you string it too loosely?”

“When it’s too loose, no sound comes out,” the musician answered. “The string that produces a tuneful sound is not too tight and not too loose.”

“That,” said the Buddha, “is how to practice and live; not too tight and not too loose.”

It’s all about, balance. Experiencing an overdose of stress in your life, has effect on your martial arts training. One of the side effects is decrease in your performance. It might seem counterintuitive, but when you reach a point in your martial arts practice where you feel like you’re no longer making any progress, the best solution might be to take some time to rest and recover. Physically and mentally. Tune out and recharge. Will turning off CNN, Fox or CBC have any effect on your endurance, or the way your throw a punch or kick? You bet. We want to be ‘informed’ but not ‘obsessed’. Like being in a combative match, you have to instantly understand; what’s in our control, and what’s up to chance.

Ultimately the unfettered mind, gives the body a chance to fully preform. Seeking the ‘middle way’ 中道 gives us the ability to persevere, and flourish in times of extremes. Without being obsessed with success in the time of adversity, maybe joyfully we can accomplish, more.