3 Ways to Find Balance
Until we leave our body we are in our body, and that's the foundational balance we live into. When we say 'we are not this body' or 'we are more than this body' two things happen - we are reminded of who we are, the living force within, and reminded to balance out the material and spiritual energies that surround us.
Balance is a key component of the bhakti practice - the art of remembering Krishna and our relationship with him. When our life goes to the extremes - it can overwhelm us and move us away from that remembrance. This happens regularly so bringing ourselves back to the center is often a daily task, sometimes many times a day. When we first wake up in the morning we are already off balance.
So three things can help us walk the middle path:
1. Reflect on how the sense of balance pervades everything - there is a rhythm to the sunrise and sunset, cycles of time, cycles of life, the in and out of our breath. Nature will always seek to balance itself out and so do we. Most stress and illness comes from out of balance lifestyles.
The Gita advises us - "He who is regulated in his habits of eating, sleeping, recreation and work can mitigate all material pains by practicing the yoga system." BG 6.17. And the purport adds "Extravagance in the matter of eating, sleeping, defending and mating -- which are demands of the body -- can block advancement in the practice of yoga." Balance, my friends, balance!
2. Recognize when we are going off balance. When our life goes out of sync - it can overwhelm us and we get absorbed in the here-and-now, forgetting our spiritual essence. As an airplane will drift off course while in flight and the pilot brings it back on track, so too for ourselves and our life. While there may be many reasons, and people, that are messing up our life, avoid trying to blame others. Only you can make the changes you need to make for yourself. Our biggest mistake in life is to try to fix or change others in order to make our life better. Never worked, and never will.
3. Restart. Ask yourself, What about balance is important to me? Pull back, reframe, forgive, let go, and look ahead. You'll know you are back to balance as much as we know when we are hungry and when full. The trouble is we tend to ignore the early off-balance signs and skip the restart. At our peril, as we know drips of water or sparks of fires can end up doing a lot of damage and being harder to fix when neglected.
Our Founder-Acarya, Prabhupada, lived in a very balanced way. He saved the quiet early morning hours for writing and chanting, ate at set times, walked in the morning and had a daily massage at noon, had set times for letter writing and managing as well as other times for meeting people. His balance made him strong, steady, insightful and also kind, compassionate and very personable. His balance enabled him to make an incredible contribution to the world - as a teacher, leader, and spiritual master.
Balance belongs to all of us. We need to live there, and come back to it when we wander off. It has a magic that can help us get to where we want to be.