They think adding more exercise, meditation or changing their personalities (i.e. be more outgoing, stop spending sprees, etc.) will do the job.
The desire for balance can cause us to quickly grab onto anything, and thus we unwittingly create more imbalance.
My suggestion is to look within oneself first and find out what you are paying the most attention to—where you spend your time and your emotional energy.
What is it that you really like/love? And what do you dislike/hate/fear?
By valuing our likes over our dislikes we create imbalance. Our inner scales are unequal. We have given more mental and emotional weight to what we like and pushed away what we don’t like.
And we feel a little wobbly. Something is off.
Each of us has a personal myth of how the world should be, including ourselves. We may be very loyal to our myths, just as we are to our tribe.
We often discredit or disrespect what seems opposite to our beliefs. We denigrate “the other” which throws us off balance.
Equanimity restores balance.
Equanimity implies accepting what is--whatever is this moment, just the way it is, without adding our opinion—our like or dislike—to what is.
We intentionally allow things to be what they are at the moment, knowing they will change, for everything is impermanent.
We may wish things were different, but we are willing to accept that this is the way it is right now.
To bring balance into our life we need to listen deeply and notice the ways we judge and determine what should and shouldn’t be. We have strong beliefs about these.
Through the practice of equanimity we admit our prejudices, remembering that our intention is fulfilment and contentment, above all else.
We desire to have both feet on the ground so that we can move forward as guidance reveals itself.
Often what we cling to, value above all else, is our definition of who we think we are.
We are proud of certain traits and consign others to the basement, banishing them from our awareness.
The truth is that we are not who we think we are. We are something much greater!
But we will only discover this through the challenging work of inviting in the darker aspects of our personality and accepting them because they happen to be hiding in our consciousness right now.
Whatever is, is! Our wishing it weren’t so doesn’t change what is.
These traits look and feel dark because we keep them in the dark. They are in opposition to the image (myth) we have of ourself.
By allowing oppositional voices to dialogue with each other we stop being “one sided” and become multi dimensional. Then life really begins to feel juicy, being filled with new possibilities.
To begin this process all we need do is notice how much weight we give to what we like and how much animosity and shame we feel toward what we don’t like.
Of course we will justify our reasons for feeling this way. It seems so “right.”
A question comes to mind, “Do you want to be happy or right?”
Listening to the other side doesn’t mean we agree with it. Or even believe it, but we need to hear what it is saying and notice if we are judging.
Is there a sneering attitude? Is there shame? Is there hate?
Are we painting devils horns on that which we dislike? Do we see “it” disgusting or wrong—not worth wasting time on?
Opposites are vital. They can tear us apart or bring forth something new and beautiful. And they can bring back the part of ourselves we have banished—that has caused our imbalance!
Opposites need to come into balance.
When we listen to the opposing voice—not with the idea of joining it—but with sincere interest in this different viewpoint, we can learn from it and find common ground.
What does the world look like from this viewpoint? How does it feel looking at the world from this angle?
Please note that this doesn’t mean we agree with the other viewpoint. We simply listen and converse with an open mind and an open heart.
I have discovered that life is a dialogue, not a monologue. Dialogue is interesting. Monologues become boring. They are one-sided.
Dialogue requires going below the surface of opinions, thoughts and goals. It means listening deeply.
By writing in our journal we can delve into our vulnerable places, our emotions, feelings, memories, our deepest joys and most painful wounds, out of which have come our beliefs, our myths.
A good example is when I find myself frightened. This voice shouts so loudly that it can nearly shut me down. My breath becomes shallow, for I have given fear all my attention and have been thrown off balance.
By letting it speak, either in my journal or placing my hand over my heart and holding myself, I remind myself that I am safe and thus it is possible to listen to the voice of fear.
No censoring, just respectful listening, dialogue. I wait and listen. What is coming up now? Perhaps its sadness, or despair. Losses need to be mourned. They need to be heard.
I write, listening to, holding myself no matter what trickles or pours out.
The voice of comforting love must be heard also. This will come from an opposite aspect of myself.
I let any voice be heard. They all have a viewpoint and are happy, just to be listened to! There is so much going on within each of us at any moment. We have a world of “inner people” clamoring for attention.
And they become midwives for a new birth.
This cannot be forced. We need to be careful not to collapse into an answer just to find relief, for this will result in a still birth.
We wait—holding the tension between the opposites—not giving up or giving in, simply continue listening.
And we discover that when it is as dark and unbearable as it can get, the fog dissolves and a tiny sliver of light begins to shine.
It may be small but it gives us the light we need. It is a slender thread to hold onto.
Relief begins to enter. And something new is born.