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What is “The Middle Path” in Mindfulness Therapy?

Mindfulness therapy encourages a positive thought process by first understanding how much inner dialogue can affect one's physical and mental health. A large part of this process involves the Buddhist concept of walking the middle path. This is a compromise between what one can control and what cannot be controlled. The mind walks the middle path by understanding the power and the limitations of the self.

How to Walk the Middle Path?

Many holistic treatments that deal with depression, anxiety, and mental health disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder use mindfulness therapy to aid people in distress. The technique involves "replacing ‘either-or' thinking with ‘both-and' thinking. Instead of expecting everything to go the right way, learn to accept that things are not so straightforward or black and white. The middle path is a gray area where one can accept the bad and the good.

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Accepting the Good and the Bad

Life is a construction of dualities, contradicting and opposing forces, that are universally balanced. Many times, people only focus on the bad parts of a situation, and how something affected them personally. It takes a trained mind to see both sides of a situation. For example, losing one's job may seem like a complete loss; however, if looked at differently, a loss of a job can be viewed as a new opportunity to start something new and exciting. Understanding that the bad never stands alone and that there is always a good to go with the bad and vice versa, is being mindful of the middle path.

Learning from Emotions

Emotions often get the best of anyone's situation. The mistake is not the emotion rather the regret that follows. Learning from a mistake is the best gift to give one's self. Understanding why anger, sadness, or any kind of emotion occurs tells someone vital information about their own desires and fears. Once this knowledge is present in the mind, then fears can be confronted, and desires can be fulfilled. Understanding emotions can lead to growth as an individual, which strengthens the ability to cope with depression, anxiety, etc.

Being Present

The middle path also includes the notion of time since the past and future are out of one's control just like the good and the bad. To be balanced also means to live in the present where life can be controlled. Thinking of the past (the should-haves) and thinking about the future (the what-ifs) only creates stress. There is no action in the past and future, only thoughts. To remain in the present moment means that one can take affirmative action and create real change in their life.

Conclusion

The power to change relies on the mind to literally be mindful. Once one realizes that the mind is truly the one in control of its own perception of reality, then anything is possible. Walking the middle path is an essential component of mindfulness therapy as it trains the mind to accept and change the world around them.

Source: Resilience Treatment Center