6-4-17 Balance

Balance – A harmonious arrangement of parts. An influence or force producing equilibrium.

Why is balance important? For me, the answer turns out to be the same metaphorically as literally: so I don’t fall over. Achieving balance, then, in my view, ultimately rests on having courage: the courage to make difficult choices; to exclude other possibilities in order to choose the one that suits you best; to let go of fearing the disapproval or disappointment of others. The correct practice of balance requires you to aim at your own happiness while simultaneously aiming to help others also. When we recognize we’ve allowed our lives to fall seriously out of balance, we must take courageous action to reestablish it. Psychology Today – Alex Lickerman, MD

While the word “middle” denotes balance, however, the Middle Way should not be confused with passivity or a kind of middle-of-the-road compromise. To tread the Middle Way not only implies, but requires, ongoing effort.
We need to use our hearts and our heads. If we are too engrossed in spiritual trappings we will miss how to act wisely with the world. If we are too taken with worldly things we have no wisdom to go beyond the mundane accumulation of things or accolades.
We are Aware of when a thing has a negative influence in our lives, we Mindfully take a different path, engaging a different behavior, and have the fortitude to carry that Action through. We may need help from others to accomplish this, that is where we lower our ego, ask for help and do the work.

The Buddha specifically recommended maintaining a balance between faith and wisdom, and between effort and concentration. There should be a balance between fellowship and solitude, study and meditation, seriousness and light-heartedness, self-concern and helping others, etc.
Any musician can tell you that if the strings are too tight or if the strings are too loose the music is not pleasant. Not too tight, not too loose.

There will be times when we seem out of balance. Perhaps a relationship or financial difficulty. The death or illness of a loved one. Being in love or getting something we have wanted. All of our emotional states are relevant and provide a basis for learning and growing. But only if we are not re-acting and promoting old learned behaviors. Be real, be true to yourself. If you feel you are out of balance, do not get more out of balance by feeling sorry for yourself. Accept that you have had a good awareness, and begin taking right action, right now.

The practice of (the truth), is “going against the stream”. As long as one swims with the current of the river, one remains largely unaware of it. But if one chooses to turn against it, suddenly it is revealed as a powerful, discomforting force. The “stream” refers to the accumulated habits of conditioning. Ever hear someone say, “Different day same shit?” I feel sorry for anyone with that narrow, negative mindset. The practice of reality or truth, requires us to turn around midstream, to observe, to know and recognize, mindfully and intelligently, the forces that condition us, instead of reacting to their promptings. Therefore, we need to make constant effort to train ourselves to do this practice until it is so well established that it has become our second nature. Paraphrase – Noah Levine
Open your mind, your eyes and your heart. Each day is a thing of wonder. We can be present, appreciate and enjoy each moment, or we can walk around out of balance, blaming others, or worse, ourselves, for our self-imposed woes. No BLAME, just step forward.

In my addiction I was terribly out of balance, only attending to what I wanted or did not want, with a big emphasis on ignoring what was really happening. As I grow in my recovery, in the ongoing activity of re-discovery of my true self and my true connection with others, I am swimming in somewhat unfamiliar waters and need to take honest stock in an on-going manner of where I am and where my balance is.
I need to first address the major addiction or obsession that is ruining my life and harming others.
I also need to keep doing tune-ups on myself. What can I do better? Can I say less and mean more, listen better? Am I overindulging in seemingly healthy behaviors? Do I need the approval of others or can I think for myself? Am I indifferent to other’s welfare? Sometimes a small change can have a large effect. What is a good balance for me? This will vary for each of us?

Prayer and meditation, time alone, and time with others, some exercise and eating well. Are TV and the computer overdone as an escape? Games on the computer? I need to feel how the many different aspects of my life can meld together for a well-rounded diet. I need to realize that I cannot try to always be in perfect harmony, that is unrealistic, life is up and down and I need to be flexible, but not permit myself to get so far out of balance I will cause harm.
If I am going by what happened yesterday, I will be using the wrong map. If I project into the future, I can only do this using what happened yesterday, adding fears and hope, and it only recreates a new difficulty. To be in balance I need to be open to NOW, continually open.

A balance is an ongoing opening and action. It involves mindfulness, kindness, and discipline.
I do take stock of my day in the evening, I look over what happened and what I might do differently. In the morning I do look at the upcoming day and have healthy aspirations of being kinder and more balanced. I can reflect in the middle of the day, to feel how well or poorly I am acting and renew my aspiration to be kind, confident and not swayed by negativity or fear, mine or others. The middle of the day reflection can be even one minute where I take to look at myself before I eat lunch. It helps to have a routine of self examination, a reminder to balance.

I will have to step into places that are uncomfortable and embrace new behaviors, and let go of things that are harmful. I am worthy of all the wonderful benefits that naturally follow.
I can put my hand out to help others, an essential part of my balance, but only if I am well enough balanced myself, so I can actually be of help to others.
What do you actually DO to gain and maintain a balance???

How do you fill your bucket? One drop at a time.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
“The great arises out of small things that are honored and cared for.”
Heart Of Recovery web site – fcheartofrecovery.com