People always talk about balance. How it’s best to live a balanced life, balance this, balance that. But what does “balance” even mean? Its implications reach far beyond the dictionary definition…
True balance is not sitting in the middle. Life is motion, not stagnation. True balance is movement between poles. It’s a perpetual sliding of the scale, back and forth.
During a yoga class a few months ago, the instructor said that balance is not being completely still or static, but lies within continuous, small motions. It’s the subtle back and forth that promotes stabilization in yoga positions. Remember, trees stay standing by moving to and fro with the wind, not by being rigidly straight.
Life is a dynamic see saw between opposites. You don’t just sit in the middle. One side goes up and the other side goes down, then the cycle repeats.
Think about riding a bicycle. Firstly, you need to be in motion to stay balanced. Secondly, you pedal with your left foot, then your right, and repeat this cycle over and over to stay in motion. It’s a transfer of intention and force onto one side, which is then counterbalanced by intention and force on the opposite side. This is analogous to life.
“Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralyzed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birds’ wings.” -Rumi
Birds are another manifestation of true balance. They must be in motion and flap both wings in order to fly. Motion represents the flow of life, while two wings represent polar opposites. Both are fundamental for the phenomenon of flight.
Life is a beautiful dance between the yin and yang… Inhaling then exhaling. Activity then rest. Listening then speaking. Reading then writing.
And how does Earth maintain “balance”? It’s in constant rotation, orbiting around the sun and engaged in ceaseless cycles. Day to night. Summer to winter. An aeonian interplay of opposites.
I’ve recently become aware of some cycles that I naturally fall into. In the summer time I tend to be more inclined towards extroverted activities; traveling, going out and talking to more people. In the winter time, I tend to embrace more introverted endeavors such as reading, writing, meditation and other activities based in personal reflection. These cycles create an overall balance. Before I get too far on one side of the spectrum, the cycle begins to take me into the other direction, and everything comes full circle. Also, there are mini-cycles within these larger cycles. There are times when I’ll be reflective during travel, or times where I’ll go out in the winter. The scale is always in motion. I heed subtle hints from my intuition, sparking lively spontaneity in the infinity of each moment.
Spending your whole life meditating alone on a mountain is not balance. Conversely, spending your whole life drinking beer in a bar is not balance. Working all the time is not balance, nor is never working at all. Balance is partaking in both when the situation arises. (Without being attached to, or dependent upon either side.)
“Don’t find the balance by riding this narrow margin where you never sway to one side or the other. Find the balance by pushing the extremes out as far as you can on either side. Go for a seven day fast on the top of a mountain where the only substance you’re ingesting is water and peyote. Do that. Or meditation. Whatever is on the farthest side that you can reach for that. Then go the other way. Stand on top of some speakers at a night club, pound your chest and howl at the moon!” – Aubrey Marcus
Go ahead and do everything. Experience as much as possible, but with two conditions:
1. Don’t allow yourself to be dependent on one side of the spectrum.
Let’s take partying for example:
If you find yourself partying every weekend of your life, that is not balance. That’s dependency, habit, addiction…etc. Throw yourself a curve-ball and spend a weekend in nature, reading a book, or doing anything else that interests you. Shake things up and break the dependency before you end up stagnant, drowning yourself in the deep end of one extreme.
2. Don’t harm yourself or others.
Continuing with the partying example. If you’re harming yourself or others, it’s most certainly not balanced. If you drink alcohol to the point of harming yourself, if you lose your temper, or you neglect obligations or other people due to partying, that’s not balance either. Choose love over fear.
Live in perpetual motion. Immerse yourself in the dance of the yin and the yang.
Stay balanced, my friend.