Whatever your ideological leanings or belief system, you can’t avoid the fact that our world is traversing a particularly imbalanced period. We are all affected and this makes it hard for us to stay balanced in our own lives. Why is balance so important? When we lose it, we begin to experience higher levels of stress and anxiety. These tensions affect our physical and mental health. Interpersonal relationships also suffer from more misunderstandings and aggressions. At work and in the world, our imbalance manifests in negative ways that impacts our lives and those around us, setting up a vicious cycle which generates more problems.
The world is always changing and so are we. Hence, balance is not a static state that we can just achieve and enjoy for some time. It is a dynamic process that requires constant effort and attention. It is also the prerequisite for growth and development. When a plant gets the right amount of light, water, and minerals, it can grow and express itself. Too little or too much of these elements could harm or kill it. When we can maintain this dynamic balance in our lives, we will also flourish and achieve our potential.
There are three aspects to our life that needs balancing. We need to find balance inside ourselves, in our interactions with the world, and in the world itself. The first one is the most important. Our internal balancing system depends on several factors but the most critical is our inner sense of composure, contentment, and worth. When this feeling is strong, we feel centered and complete. It’s like the keel of a boat, maintaining us balanced and upright, even in storms or dangerous waters. As the backbone of our vessel, it provides us with strength and stability at all times. Our keel is our inner spirit or Self. All practices and efforts to bring us closer to our Selves, such as meditation, strengthen our center and balance within. We are then able to navigate and take advantage of life’s challenges.
While strengthening our center is key for finding balance in our lives, we are not always true to our inner spirit when we interact with the world. Sometimes our own thoughts, other people, or environments influence us in the wrong direction. If we ignore our inner voice or consciousness while speaking or acting, we encounter dissonance within and create conflicts in our lives. The second way for maintaining balance is to align our external actions with our spirit within. To guide us in this endeavor, we each have our ethics, our moral principles. Returning to the boat analogy, these are like the rudder which gives us the correct direction to move in. Although these principles may vary across time and cultures, they should be based on cardinal human values which promote the all-round welfare of all beings. Those without ethics will inevitably destroy their lives and bring imbalance to those around them.
The third way to keep balanced is to try to balance the world around us, that is, to work towards greater harmony amongst the people of this world and with other living beings. Of course, this is a never-ending and often over-whelming task. Yet when we act from our consciousness and moral principles to help the society, we develop our will force and commitment to establish balance in the world. This is the inspiration, the wind in our sails that pushes us forward towards our goals. These actions will positively impact our own lives and society as well. They will reinforce our efforts to find our center and align ourselves with our ethical principles. The more balanced we are, the more we can inspire others to do the same, and visa versa.
Balance is a dynamic and continuous effort to get closer to our inner spirit, to follow our moral principles, and to help bring balance to the world. It is an art, a practice, and an inspiration. At a time when society is struggling to find balance, it is crucial that we find harmony within and share it with everyone we can.
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