“Harmony is the secret principle of life.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda
“When there is harmony between the mind, heart and resolution
then nothing is impossible.”
~ Rig Veda
“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony.”
~ Thomas Merton
“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, The Essential Rumi
“As long as you live, you will be subject to change, whether you will it or not – now glad, now sorrowful; now pleased, now displeased; now devout, now undevout; now vigorous, now slothful; now gloomy, now merry. But a wise man who is well taught in spiritual labor stands unshaken in all such things, and heeds little what he feels, or from what side the wind of instability blows.”
~ Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ
“As it acts in the world, the Tao is like the bending of a bow. The top is bent downward; the bottom is bent up. It adjusts excess and deficiency so that there is perfect balance. It takes from what is too much and gives to what isn’t enough. Those who try to control, who use force to protect their power, go against the direction of the Tao. They take from those who don’t have enough and give to those who have far too much. The Master can keep giving because there is no end to her wealth. She acts without expectation, succeeds without taking credit, and doesn’t think that she is better than anyone else.”
~ Lao Tzu *
Life’s in the Balance
Our life is in the balance,
Ever < NOW >,
‘Twixt our hopes
and our history,
On a fulcrum of Mystery,
Our life is in the balance,
Ever < NOW > !
Ron’s audio recitation of “Life’s in the Balance”
* Lao Tzu, translation by Stephen Mitchell
Ron’s explanation and dedication of “Life’s in the Balance”
The foregoing quotes and sutra poem address an important philosophical and practical question: “How can we live a “balanced life”?”
Have you ever considered what it means to live a “balanced life”? If so, what did you decide? Have you considered eating a balanced diet, or balancing and prioritizing your time spent with work, recreation, meditation, relationships, rest, etc.?
Each of us is unique with a unique earth life history and perspective. So there can be no specific answer or definition for each of us about what constitutes “a balanced life”. Moreover, everything is in constant flux, precluding any unchanging answer. Yet this is an issue of considerable importance for all of us, individually and societally – pragmatically and spiritually – on which I have reflected since my mid-life inner awakening.
Since then, I have learned that – just as our bodies naturally tend toward maintaining a state of homeostasis – there is a strong tendency throughout Nature to maintain homeostatic equilibrium, and to energetically compensate for any disruptions or deviations from that balanced state. And that “Interdependence is a fundamental law of nature.”
Yet it appears that we Humans are the only earthly species responsible for significant ecological imbalances. Forgetting that Nature is our nature; that we are interdependently ONE with Nature; and, that Nature ‘bats last’, we have mistakenly believed and behaved as if we are separated from each other and from Nature.
This behavior has resulted in disharmonious cruelty, wars, and insanely unsustainable exploitation of our precious planet, with widespread psychological suffering and unhappiness. Our mistaken self-identification as supposedly separate entities is what spiritual teachers call “ego”. And most spiritual teachings are intended to help us transcend such limited ego consciousness. They remind us that
“Interdependence is a fundamental law of nature. Not only higher forms of life but also many of the smallest insects are social beings who, without any religion, law, or education, survive by mutual cooperation based on an innate recognition of their interconnectedness. The most subtle level of material phenomena is also governed by interdependence. All phenomena, from the planet we inhabit to the oceans, clouds, forests, and flowers that surround us, arise in dependence upon subtle patterns of energy. Without their proper interaction, they dissolve and decay.”
~ Dalai Lama
Because we have forgotten the interconnectedness and interdependence of all life everywhere, we have degenerated into insanity – unconsciously committing mass suicide by ecocide, and threatening nuclear catastrophe. So these are critical times of immense jeopardy and suffering, yet immense opportunity.
The human species has developed amazing new technologies, which if wisely and unselfishly used could foster a wonderful new enlightened age. And paradoxically we can advance toward such a new age by emulating past pre-industrial societies.
Isn’t it now crucial that we learn from the wisdom of indigenous people who have lived sane and happy lives by prioritizing sustainable harmony with Nature over it’s unsustainable exploitation; cooperation over competition; respect for prophets over lust for profits; democracy over authoritarianism?
Since Nature is our nature and is in charge of our lives, to live a “balanced life” we must self-identify with Nature, and consciously cooperate with our precious planet’s interdependent ecosystem. We must behave mindfully without disrupting the crucial homeostatic harmony of our body-minds with our environment.
The foregoing “Life’s in the Balance” sutra poem was composed during an extended period of post-retirement hibernation. May the poem and preceding quotations help us discover innate happiness in our interdependent ONENESS with Nature and all of its lifeforms, and encourage us to give ‘power of attorney’ to Nature as The Lone Arranger of our lives.
Realizing that Nature is in charge of our lives, may we learn to leave it to The Lone Arranger in order to live interdependently with all life everywhere in homeostatic balance and harmony.
And so may it be!