Moving From 'Middle Road' to Mindfulness

Seeking the "Middle Road" is an effective strategy I use with therapy clients and on my own journey to wholeness. Rather than allowing your mind and emotions to take you on the habitual roller coaster ride of excitement and expectation, leading to the inevitable crash and burn -- one strives to rein in the super high and low feelings and center them in the chest area. The thoracic region, from a few inches below the throat to just above the navel is what I call the Middle Road.

This is a place of relative neutrality where one learns to avoid extremes of emotions and keep expectation on an even keel. When we get too excited about something, we tend to place our expectations very high, which is an automatic set up for disappointment. Or, to avoid fear of failure, we predetermine something's not going to work anyway, so we give up before we even start. In these instances, we set expectations too low.

By consciously containing the emotions in the Middle Road, one perfects a kind of balancing act, sidestepping destructive wear and tear on the emotions and adrenal glands. It is also a natural step to gaining more poise, peace and awareness.

Meditation is not the only pathway to achieving mindfulness, according to Jon Kabat-Zinn, the leading authority in the mindfulness movement. I have found that moving from the middle road to mindfulness is accomplished rather effortlessly once you gain insight and self-control by containing and centering your emotions in that space between throat and navel. The organic by-product of this self-training is awareness. Awareness of what you are thinking, feeling and experiencing in any given moment is, essentially, mindfulness.

I have a "high bliss" personality (after all, part of my first name is Joy!) and have adored soaring in the stratosphere for years. Eventually the Law of Balance caught up with me and the pendulum swing was dramatic and painful. Employing the concept of the Middle Road taught me to appreciate a kind of quiet joy, one that says, "Hey, this may not be the highest of highs, but it is still very pleasant and comforting. And so much less wear and tear on my body, mind and spirit."

Is this Middle Road Method right for you? Ask yourself:
• Are you prone to super highs and crash/burns?
• Do you place high expectations on new relationships and then get disappointed?
• Are you quick to anger and then feel bad about it afterwards?
• Do you find yourself wanting or longing for things that you really don't believe that you can achieve or deserve?

If so, here is a mental imagery exercise to help you capture and contain your unruly emotions in the Middle Road. With focus, this practice will become second nature to you.

The Butterfly Net

Imagine that you always have a butterfly net nearby when you need it Create a strong visual of one of these in your mind, maybe by searching for images online and mentally designing one in your favorite colors and fabric.

When you feel your emotions become excessively excited or sinking too low, see or feel yourself reaching for your net and trapping those emotions, gently bringing them back to reside in the center region between chest and navel. Take a few deep breaths to center yourself. Every time you achieve this give yourself positive reinforcement.

I'll be interested in hearing how this works for you!

LindaJoy Rose, Ph.D. aka "Dr. L J" is a therapist, author and educator in the field of natural wellness, subconscious dynamics and hypnotherapy She is the founder of the Natural Wellness Academy and certifies Holistic Health & Life Coaches and Clinical Hypnotherapists worldwide.