by Kelvin Chin, Meditation Teacher and Life After Life Expert
"Lack of extremes."
"Balance is evenness."
"All or nothing."
"Balance is passivity."
These are some of the beliefs people have about balance.
"Balance is 'either / or.' Balance is boring. Balance is impossible.
Seeking balance only leads to frustration."
This is a conflation of what balance is. And that misunderstanding is actually understandable — especially in our world.
We live in a world that is externally focused. It's all about "doing," about "results," about "what we can see and touch." It is a "materialistic" world. And I don't mean economically. I mean we're into "identifiable things, actions." These are the XYZ's of life that I refer to in some of my other blog essays.
But is that all there is? And is that how we should assess balance in our lives?
Is balance always about giving something up to replace something you find more important? Maybe sometimes it is — e.g., leaving a work project partially completed in order to rush off to catch your child's school musical.
But not always.
And I would maintain that the most important balance is completely missed by those who would argue that a balanced life is "boring."
True balance comes from the inside out. What do I mean by that?
I mean that we need to feel connected and anchored within ourselves, our minds need to be comfortable with who we are on the deepest levels of our minds for us to be truly self-confident, and inwardly strong. If we don't become truly connected within ourselves, everything we do to strengthen ourselves is just really window-dressing. It's not anchored. And therefore, it is easily shaken.
That is the source of balance in life.
Because if we are anchored inside ourselves, by having regularly "turned within" and developed that comfortable, conscious connection with ourselves, then our outward life also becomes more dynamic, more creative, more expansive in its opportunities and liveliness. In other words, it is far from boring.
Ironically, I suspect that even those who may have incorrectly or incompletely measured balance only by looking at the XYZ's of life — i.e., how many actions they accomplished versus how many they had to give up in order to create the supposed balance — would agree that if one could do all of that external stuff and still maintain a sense of inner calm and inner strength at the same time, that would also be a way to define "balance" in life.
And the "action only" crowd is not the only group among us who misinterprets what balance means.
Many New Age followers also conflate and confuse this. Seeking less activity in the world — spending years in ashrams, hours in daily meditation — is often based on an underlying belief that the physical world is less desirable than the "inner, spiritual" world. It is a form of denial of who they are. They define their "real self" as that inner part of themselves. But that is just a part of their reality. They choose to deny the existence of the physical. Well, this may sometimes have unexpected, unhealthy physical consequences due to the extreme inactivity. At the very least, it has the consequence of minimizing the individual's life experience possibilities. By making that choice, by definition, the individual has chosen to not take advantage of the fact that he or she is in a physical body in this lifetime.
And while 'free will' dictates that they can always make that choice, I question whether or not it promotes balance in life. Because it often leads to more passivity, less engagement in the world.
And ironically, that is also a "materialistic" view of balance. Because it also measures balance by levels of activity. It's also still focused on the XYZ's of life. Essentially, without realizing it, they are fully engaged in a form of "spiritual materialism."
So, what's the bottom line?
Balance does not mean running away from actions. Balance does not mean "lesser." It does not mean "taking away."
Balance means going inside and then coming out, and fully engaging head on, "full on" with the world. In whatever way you may choose to do so.
But, it should never come from a place of lacking.
Balance — true balance — comes from a place of fuller connection with oneself inside, so one can fully engage with the world on the outside, And with that inner connection, one then has the faculties to make choices in one's external life that promote more external balance – with oneself, with one's family and friends, and with one's community.
Kelvin H. Chin is a Meditation Teacher, Life After Life Expert, and Author of “Overcoming the Fear of Death.” He learned to meditate at age 19, and has been teaching Turning Within and coaching others in their self-growth for 40 years. He helps people understand their life challenges through their individual belief systems, and helps them find their own solutions. His past life memories reach back many centuries, and he accesses those memories in his teaching and his coaching in the same way all coaches draw on their own available experiences for perspective and effective analogies. He can be reached at www.TurningWithin.org.