The middle way that the Buddha found is no longer applicable. Not really. His insight is no less stunning today than it was way back then, but all of those Buddhis practices are relics from a different age.
You don't have to live in seclusion to find enlightenment. You don't have to say no to the world to let go of the world. You don't have to live healthy to find the way. In fact, all you have to do to find the way, is to wake up.
And for most of us, the awakening is not sudden. Enlightenment doesn't hit you like a brick wall and changes everything. For most of us it takes years to wake fully from that worldly dream we call reality. And still, we are more awake today than we were yesterday, and we will be more awake and aware tomorrow than we are today.
And setbacks are ok. It's quite ok to relax if you've worked to hard. It's ok to step back to humanity and enjoy the comforts of good company, Jack Daniels, Viagra, cigarettes or Joints, or what ever kind of stimulant you prefer. You can dive into a hedonistic lifestyle for a while, just to ease the pressure.
AND IT WILL NOT STOP YOUR ENLIGHTENMENT.
As soon as you've taken that first step, there is nothing to stop you from being more aware. Nothing will stop you from waking up. As soon as that first step is taken, enlightenment is coming to you. All the wordly pleasures that you might take refuge in as reality is being taken apart, will serve as pitstops. You can stay there for some time, but sooner or later, you will, by your self, want to move on.
So don't worry about you faults. Don't worry about your addictions. Don't fight them. Notice them. Notice how you enjoy it and why you enjoy it. You don't have to fight it or even do anything about it. Actually, fighting it, is the worst thing you can do. AA is not a cure for alcoholism, it's just a sustained fight against the acts of alcoholism. No wonder AA-people still call them selves alcoholics: The fight against it, maintains the AA inside.
Now, just to be quite clear: You can lose your way. You can become such an addict that you will always fight enlightenment. You can become consumed in the fight for the next fix. But still, notice it. Don't fight it. Just notice what you do, why you do it and how you like doing it.
Just take a few minutes right now. Look out. This is the world. Forget the pressure of work or the IRS. Forget about your lover, your child, your family. For just a second, just be you. If you find yourself thinking about things, just acknowledge the thought, and then try to let it go.
What you will see is a world that just is. The people over there? They have no intentions, they have no hidden agendas. They just ARE. As are you. There is just existence. THere's just this moment. And in that moment the world may exist, but all the mental projections of hope, love, hate, fear, joy, sadness are gone. They do not exist until you let them exist. There is no hate in the world. There is no sadness in the world. There is no Joy, no fear, no hope, pain.. there is only the physical world around you. All else is you. Forget about you, and it will be like letting go of a 100 pound backpack. It will set you free.
Just for a moment.
And next year, that momemt will be twice as long. And the year after, you might be able to remove yourself from the equation at will. And if you get that far, enlightenment is just around the corner.
Forget about the Buddha. Forget about scripture. Forget about gurus or holy men. Only remember that all you see in the world is created by you, and just start to be aware.
Go get it Tiger, enlightenment is so cool !!!