Surfing The Golden Mean


As we explore our spiritual selves, we come across all kinds of concepts and ideas about what it means to be spiritual.  If we decide that we “want” to be spiritual, what does that mean? Here we are not talking about which type of spiritual or philosophical doctrine one devotes oneself to, we are talking about one’s actions and behaviors.  For all spiritual and philosophical understandings are worthless if lacking real physical action.

Even in meditation, which one might call “the art of doing nothing”, we are performing a physical exercise.  Spirituality ought to be physical.  It is the drawing down of the divine into our physical body, or, more accurately, into our daily lives of action and deed.

So we can try every kind of diet, every kind of yoga, meditation, religious study, and other devotional actions, however, as we embody unity and Oneness, we ought to embrace the concept of moderation and balance.  Many terms can be used to describe such a balance.  One such term is The Golden Mean.

The Golden Mean is a philosophical concept of balance between the extremes of life.  Aristotle uses the example of courage.  Courage is a virtue, but too much courage is reckless and not enough courage is cowardice.

And so it is with every aspect of life.  We can find truth and beauty in the middle of the extremes – the light and dark, the good and evil.  By seeking the middle path, we can transcend the trap of dichotomy.  The Middle Way was offered by Buddha to describe the path of moderation as a means to enlightenment.

Balance is a personal, individualized construct.  What strikes balance for me, may not strike a balance for you.  We have to consider ourselves, who we are, our strengths, our weaknesses, our natural dispositions and attempt to strike balance.  If we find ourselves wandering into the extremes of life it would do us well to step back.  Oftentimes, our body will inform us when we are out of balance, through some form of illness or disease.  In other cases, our minds will inform us when we are out of balance through states of confusion or depression.

Finding and keeping our life balance is mostly about remaining at peace but also requires us to make rapid adjustments when the time is right.  Key moments in life can propel us rapidly forward if we are vigilant and open to the timing of those changes.

To use the analogy of surfing, much of a surfer’s time in the water is spent simply waiting.  A mindful surfer will enter into a meditative state while she is waiting for the waves to build.  During these moments she is enjoying the sun, the air, the birds, and the feeling of the weight and power of the water moving beneath her.

Smaller waves will crest and break nearby, but she does not chase every wave, for to do so is to waste energy.  So she waits, in peace but also moderately attentive, for when the right wave comes, she must act quickly and decisively.

And then, with a very keen observation, she can see her time is near, the moment is now, and she moves in the right direction and positions herself carefully and then catches the wave.

As she rides the wave, balance is the key once again. She is not hastening in her task, nor is she hesitating.  She is in the moment(um) while the energy of the universe carries her forward with minimal power of her own expended.  She is in joy.

Therefore, we seek balance as individuals but we are also aware of prompt and right action.  On some relatively few occasions, we can stand up and ride the wave of energy that we are prompted to ride based on our observations.  For this reason, states of keen observation amid relaxed readiness is of great value on the spiritual path.  When the time is right, the energy of Source Consciousness will lift us and carry us to new heights with nary an ounce of struggle.

One who is struggling to “chase” the wave by splashing and moving about vigorously is not properly positioned, is not patient, and is not in balance.  A wise surfer knows the key to catching a wave is not about chasing but about waiting in the right spot.  An even wiser surfer enjoys simply waiting on the water, breathing, humbly grateful to be part of the magnificence of the universe.