B is for Balance
I am currently blogging, along with my daughter, all the way through the alphabet. Check out how the idea started, and get the rules here.
The older I get, the more I am convinced that the balance I have spent my life seeking externally can only be found internally. That is, I am never going to get my circumstances balanced. My checkbook will probably never balance, at least not for very long. My schedule will not remain balanced more than a day or two. But I can seek and find balance on the inside.
Great truths are always paradoxical. (In fact,any truth that does not require us to integrate things that don’t seem at first to fit together is likely not the whole truth.) Jesus said the one who loses his life will find it. Here is the paradox that it is only in giving up something that we can actually have it. We can only have what we do not claim to be able to possess. This includes truth. And balance.
The more we seek balance, the more it will elude us. The more we insist on it, the more it will mock us. The more we demand balance of ourselves, the more out of balance we will swing in the attempt to find it. To find balance we must die to the need for it. After all, it is not really balance we need, but the peace that it brings. Since it is peace we need, we begin not by seeking balance, but by opening up to the conditions that create peace in our lives. Peace is found in letting go, in the giving up of our clamoring needs — for approval, for love, for balance, for independence, for control. As we learn to give these things up, we find not that everyone approves of us, but that we can live in peace without universal approval; not that everyone loves us, but that we are free to love; not that we can live independently, but that we no longer fear the mutual dependence relationship brings; not that we have gotten control over everything, but that we no longer need it. This is the spiritual journey, and this is where peace is to be found.
And what is balance, other than finding that we have arrived in a place where we are at peace, where we are not constantly at the end of anyone’s chain (including our own), where relentless running and approval and accomplishment are no longer necessary, and where all the broken and dislocated pieces of the world can somehow come together right here in the quiet chambers of our hearts.