Soon after the Buddha enlightened he approached friends of his that had been striving along side him to reach enlightenment. He wanted to share with them what he had discovered in the hopes that they too could attain freedom from suffering. When he spoke to them for the first time, he gave them the following teaching:

“There are these two extremes that are not to be indulged in by one who has gone forth. Which two? That which is devoted to sensual pleasure with reference to sensual objects: base, vulgar, common, ignoble, unprofitable; and that which is devoted to self-affliction: painful, ignoble, unprofitable. Avoiding both of these extremes, the middle way realized by the Tathagata — producing vision, producing knowledge — leads to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding.”

The Buddha then went on to explain the eightfold path and the four noble truths. I will simplify these teachings for you. The essence of the Buddha’s teaching is to bring the mind into the present moment where we know what we’re doing because, when we do this correctly, the middle way arises by itself followed by the eightfold path, followed by the four noble truths.

If you find that you are working too hard, when you bring the mind into the present moment, you will naturally relax. If you find that you are not working hard enough, bringing the mind into the present moment will make you more diligent. Whatever is needed to bring balance to your life, it will be reaped when you bring the mind to what you are doing and how you are feeling. We encourage you to heed the Buddha’s words, start or continue your insight meditation practice and ensure that you balance your working life with your spiritual life.

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(1) Lead with Mindfulness, A. Success and Stress-Free Living