Chapter 2: The Way Is Perfect
Just be in the middle. This is the greatest skill and art, just to be in the middle, not choosing, not moving left, not moving right. Don’t be a leftist and don’t be a rightist - just be exactly in the middle.
If you are exactly in the middle you transcend the world. Then you are no longer a man, no longer a woman. That’s what Jesus says. Then you are no longer a materialist, no longer a spiritualist. Then no longer are you alive, no longer will you be dead.
Neither this nor that - the bridge is passed over. You have reached the goal. And the goal is not somewhere in the future, it is here between two extremes. Neither hate nor love.
Always remember, wherever you find two extremes, don’t choose. Just try to find a balance in between. It will be difficult in the beginning just because of the old habit.
Mulla Nasruddin was ill and he was hospitalized. After just a few minutes somebody knocked on the door and a snappy little woman entered.
She said, “I am your doctor. Undress, I have come to examine you.”
Mulla asked, “Do you mean completely?”
The doctor said, “Yes, that’s what I mean.”
So he undressed. The woman checked, examined him. Then she said, “Now you can get into bed. Do you have any questions?”
Mulla Nasruddin said, “Only one: why did you bother to knock?”
The woman said, “Just old habit.”
Even in your gestures, old habits persist. Habits are easy to follow because you need not be aware - they go on, on their own. Awareness is difficult because it has never been a habit for you.
You choose easily: you condemn, appreciate easily; you reject, accept easily. You say, “This is good, that is wrong” easily, because this has become a habit: for millions of lives, you have always been choosing. This is just a robot-like phenomenon.
Without any awareness, the moment you see something, you have decided and judged. A flower is there: you look and you say, “Beautiful,” or, “Not beautiful.” Immediate judgment comes; with the perception, judgment comes. Then you will never be able to remain in the middle.
Somebody came to Chuang Tzu and he talked about a man in town and said, “He is a sinner, a very bad man, a thief,” and condemned him in many, many ways.
Chuang Tzu listened and said, “But he plays the flute beautifully.”
Then came another man, and the first was sitting there, and the other said, “This man in the town is really a beautiful flute player.”