Finding a sense of balance

Perhaps every pair of opposites calls for a balancing act in our minds. Without reflective practicing, we lose our sense of balance. We go for one extreme or the other. We over-compensate for one excess with another obsession. We get the idea that there's never enough of what we're doing or too much of a good thing. We see the need for more when there is too much already and costly consequences for our one-sided devotion.

We get out of balance when we think we are in real danger. We cannot do enough of our lopsided response because it consistently fails to moderate the oppressive danger we fear. We see our over-reacting as reasonable, justified and necessitated by our scary circumstances. We're in chronic trouble because we're convinced we're right. We strongly dispute accusations that we are addicted, compulsive, extreme or unreasonable. The opposition merely convinces us that we must persist in dealing with this obviously real danger.

When we're out of balance, we make a thing of what we're doing to excess. Our thinking becomes rigid and categorical to defend our stance. We idealize the extreme we're going to and demonize the opposite endeavor. We expect to be rewarded for our exceptionally good behavior while those who go to the other extreme will be punished, deprived or excluded from our chosen elite. We make arguments, conflicts, enemies, and wars by justifying our imbalance. Reflective practicing appears self defeating in the heat of battle.

Finding balance is usually painful and disorienting. We must lose faith in our ways determining what situations call for. We "bite the dust" or "eat humble pie" as we realize our imbalance has been wrong, self righteous, unresponsive and extreme. We realize the merit in the opposing side. Our reflecting on "why this happened to us" reveals the balance to bring about. It occurs to us the opposite extreme is what was missing all along that prevented the danger from being alleviated.

Our reflective practice about imbalances yields new ways to consider what was a foregone conclusion and necessitated reaction. We complicate our certainty with questions of "how much?" and "how will this affect the danger?". We get it together by embracing both halves of the whole situation. We do both endeavors in moderation or in combination. We see how one balances the other and keeps things from getting extreme. We make peace with our enemies and show mercy to our adversaries.

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  1. Everyone gets thrown off balance at some time or another. I believe you are correct in pointing out that when we are "off balance" or not "centered" we are not as effective as we could be.

    There are physical practices to help us come back to "balance" and "center" more quickly. Being aware that we are off is the starting point. There are partner practices that give us the opportunity to get thrown off (purposefully) and we get to practice returning to center.

    My post the "Learning Dojo" points to an emerging discourse that focuses on learning through the body, not just the mind. When what we learn is "embodied" it is in our muscles and we are able to take new actions.


  2. Pete: I see the same process of mutual balancing happening among us bloggers. Different viewpoints throw each of us off balance, and getting back on our feet generates a more inclusive perspective.

    Thanks for jumping in here :-)