(by Ninja) Balance, we are not born with it. Most of us have watched a young child struggle with taking their first steps, though we may not remember that event in our own lives, and the achievement of other balancing ”firsts” can often create a strong and enduring memory – your first bike ride without a fall, your first time down the mountain on a snowboard or skis, the first headstand, or successfully delivering that tray full of hot dinner plates from the kitchen to the table on your first day waiting tables. Some people achieve levels of physical balance that seem to defy the laws of gravity, and watching the ballet dancer, the gymnast, the trapeze artist or even the pole sitter can fill us with wonder, because we have all struggled with balance and know how good it feels to achieve it. Eventually, if we become weak through age or infirmity, balance eludes us once again.
It takes strength, willpower, and practice to develop and maintain physical balance. The Oxford dictionary defines balance as "stability”, or "equilibrium". Because these qualities are valued in many contexts outside of simple physical balance, we also speak about balance from emotional, spiritual, structural, environmental, or even geopolitical perspectives. The film Koyaanisqatsi which came out in 1982 was recommended by Rama - Dr. Frederick Lenz. This is a Hopi Indian term that translates to "Life Out of Balance”. It is a mind-altering collage of imagery, with music by Philip Glass, and a poignant reminder of our status as temporary tenants on this planet.
The director, Godfrey Reggio, appears to be proposing that if we do not use our strength and willpower to restore and repair the ecosystems we have benefited from, and if we continue turning a blind eye to the impacts we are having, the Hopi prophecies delivered in the score of Koyaanisqatsi are worth considering:
• "If we dig precious things from the land, we will invite disaster."
• "Near the day of Purification, there will be cobwebs spun back and forth in the sky."
• "A container of ashes might one day be thrown from the sky, which could burn the land and boil the oceans."
Rama - Dr. Frederick Lenz eloquently discusses our often one-sided, unbalanced relationship with nature in his talk on Kundalini in the audio series On the Road with Rama: “It’s funny how human beings tend to think that they’re the masters of the Earth because they’ve put in a lot of shopping malls and painted little white lines on blacktop, never realizing that the Earth for a time simply tolerates its tenants and then, when the mood strikes, that it changes. It shifts its continents around. Mountains rise and fall. We take so much for granted.”
Have we made any progress since the 1980s or are things just getting worse? This question is a central theme of the new documentary Kiss the Ground, narrated by Woody Harrelson and available as of this writing on Netflix. Without giving away too much, while this film plainly presents the direness of our situation environmentally, it does paint a picture of hope, of a path back to balance, and the answer is right in front of our noses … or more specifically right under our feet. Climate change is a curable disease, and our ability to work together to overcome this imminent threat will certainly prove that we can bring balance back to our earth.
What about spiritual balance? Spiritual balance - we could say that all these other forms of balance, be they physical, emotional, environmental, or other are simply outward manifestations of underlying spiritual balance. The ballet dancer in mid-pirouette is not thinking about her grocery bill, she is supremely focused, as is the competitive snowboarder barreling up the wall of a half-pipe, as is the environmental mediator bringing together disparate interests to meet the common goal of saving our planet. Spiritual balance is so important that Rama dedicated audio tapes to it in both the Lakshmi and Enlightenment Cycle series, and it is mentioned repeatedly in many other talks by Rama.
Unfortunately though, just as we had to fall down many times before we learned to walk, unless you are remarkably gifted, you will probably fall down a few times on the way to spiritual balance! You will focus too much on balancing your outer life, and forget about meditation … or you will get so focused on pushing the meditation, that you don't attend to the important details of your career and other pursuits that will give you the space to meditate. You may conscientiously craft your life to distance yourself from those people, places and things that are draining your personal power, and forget that we are all one being deserving of endless compassion. Or you may get so focused on compassionate giving that you do not attend to the areas in your life where you are losing power and energy. Ultimately, achieving spiritual balance is a trial and error process.
“…the thing that I’ve observed in the successful students that I’ve had over the lifetimes, is a quality which I think you can develop. I think it’s something that’s in each of us, and it’s a quality of gentleness but strength, silliness but maturity, optimism but a sense that it’s not going to be easy, if not impossibly difficult, but we’re going to get it done anyway, a kind of quiet fortitude which is renewed by a person’s love of light.” Rama
“Pure and simple, balance is happiness—happiness in spiritual practice, happiness while meditating, happiness while working, while playing, in pleasure and pain, in sickness and in health, in life and in death, in all circumstances. That’s balance.” Rama
Enjoy your journey to greater spiritual balance!
For more information about Ninja, see his Teacher Listing.