In the eastern way of thinking, we are better off in life when we stay away from extremes.
I have to admit that I initially did have trouble grasping this.
First, because in many cases only extremes lead to progress.
Change is hard. Think practicing more or eating less.
We do have habits and they get a life of themselves and don’t want to be eliminated. Only if it gets really bad, only if we experience an extreme, we are motivated enough to move our butts and invest into making progress.
Second, because extremes are really fun sometimes.
Staying in the middle can be so damn boring that it almost hurts.
It feels like wasting ones life.
On the other hand, the eastern world produced many wise people. And if they all agreed for centauries that the middle way generally is a good idea it would be more than arrogant to dismiss this as complete baloney.
In other words: I did not get it.
So I started watching out for proof that they might be right.
Middle Way, show yourself!
And I looked in the area that obviously lay in front of me which is teaching.
I observed how I got taught and what I did when I was teaching myself.
I tracked two major tendencies.
– On the one hand we seem to be overly optimistic.
We overestimate what the person we are teaching is capable of.
And that’s all fine and good and absolutely motivating.
The problem starts when in front of an audience we realise our mistake in judgement.
We can get pissy at our student, we feel shame and where there is shame, blame is not far away. Blame is useless and destroys peace and friendship.
– On the other hand we tend to be overly pessimistic.
This means as a teacher we see that correction is necessary – in EVERYTHING.
Closely examined nothing is as clean as it should be.
Every single note, every move of the body, every detail, every whatsoever should be optimized.
This leads to frustration. Frustration for both, the teacher because this has no end and for the student because this has no end. Everyone loses when our zoom is too close.
Here comes the interesting part:
A good and fun way of learning seems to be exactly in the middle.
In other words, the Middle Way in teaching could be to stay away from blind optimism as well as from too closely zoomed in pessimism.
Moderation does not sound like a thrill-packed ride.
But it probably helps moving forward and being kind and patient. Which is not bad.
I wonder how these guys knew that thousands of years ago all by themselves in their caves…
Much love and take care,