Balance from the inside out
I've been recently asked to hold a seminar about how to find balance between life and work, having career and being a parent, or a partner, balance between life and professional life, I thought "well, balance is in the mind. It is in understanding how the mind works, the inside-out nature of reality. So why don't I just make people aware of the influence State of Mind has over how they see balance and their lives." That's what I'm writing about today.
The way I see it, the balance we are looking for, is already there, inside of us. It's just that sometimes it's invisible to us, it's hidden by our habitual thinking.
Each of us has our own ideas and definitions about what that balance is and how it looks like in our own imagination. Each of us creates this ideal in our own head and then we check the experience we have in the moment against that ideal and when it doesn't fit, we tend to blame the world, the crazy working hours, the partner, the boss, life circumstances and ourselves and so we think we need to do something about it and therefore we seek a cure outside of us: we think we need to learn a way to make that happen. Very often we even put our happiness and well-being at stake and decide we'll be happy when the ideal balance we made up in our heads comes true.
Now, what I am suggesting is that the so-called lack of balance, unbalance, that people experience is nothing but our thinking in the moment. We tend to think our mind is a constant, a logical and reliable information processor, but the State of our mind is not a constant, it is a variable. Our ability to see and think clearly, the quality of our thinking and reasoning, the quality of perception, the overall stability of our mind, the quality of perspective and understanding our mind can accommodate, all these change as our State of Mind changes. You can look at State of Mind as a variation of clarity levels and mental capacity, which we experience through our feelings.
For example - feelings of tension, anger, distress, unease, stress, indicate a low level of mental capability and clarity. Feelings of ease, calmness, well-being, indicate high levels of clarity and mental capacity. Think of State of Mind as your human weather - sometimes it's sunny, sometimes it's cloudy, sometimes it rains and sometime there is a huge storm, and your feelings are the barometer. Now, a barometer doesn't predict the weather. The barometer measures the atmospheric pressure in the moment and it can only give a short term forecast of the weather. A barometer will not tell you how the weather will be in a month, a year, a decade, or a century. Our feelings operate in the same way, they don't tell us who we are, or where we are in our lives. They just inform us where our thinking is in the moment.
Now let's get back to balance. I would say that balance is as much part of us as the head is part of the body, or the nose is part of the face. Balance is built in. The place to look for balance is inside of us, in the clarity and silence of the mind, "before the contamination of thought", in our innate mental health. The lack of balance is just a product of our thinking in the moment and the solution to the unbalance is not more thinking, it's perspective. Alan Watts wrote: "The question 'what shall we do about it' is only asked by those who do not understand the problem. If a problem can be solved at all, to understand it and to know what to do about it are the same thing. On the other hand, doing something about a problem which you do not understand is like trying to clear away darkness by thrusting it aside with your hands. When light is brought, the darkness vanishes at once. This applies particularly to the problem."
The very question is how much time do we spend enjoying the balance we have, how present we are to our lives, how much do we build on what's good and how present we are to our thinking and to our mental war of guilt, fear, stress, worry, or anger. That is the unbalance and that is all made up of thinking.
To simplify all this, I don't know how to shorten your working hours, but I understand that when you operate from a clear mind you can go "twice as fast, in half the time, with half the effort.", and that usually helps ☺
I'll end my message to you with a quote from philosopher Sydney Banks "If the only thing people learned was not to be afraid of their experience, that alone would change the world".
I wish you well, good human weather and I hope to be seeing you soon.