A friend talked to me recently about balance in life, and my mind started whirling. Ever since I started thinking for myself, I’ve struggled with this issue. The ancient Greeks believed the human dilemma was to bring the mind, body, and spirit into harmonious co-existence. The Indian philosophy of Karma with its goal of nirvana rests upon this same objective. Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity – study any of the world’s major spiritual movements and, at their core, you’ll find this principal operating.
Understanding the desirability of bringing my life into conformity with this belief has never been the problem. For me, it’s not a question of wanting balance; it’s a matter of accepting responsibility for it.
The obstacles are subtle. A few too many candy bars or milkshakes and there goes my body. A little too much complacency with my TV and there goes my mind. And, perhaps most importantly of all, too little attention to my spiritual condition and my zest for life dissipates.
I’ve worked out and ate like a vegan; I’ve used my mind like a steel trap and I’ve meditated on 12 Step programs to find God; yet, I can’t ever recall having all these elements working together in balanced proportions simultaneously. I’ve often had one aspect working great guns. Like the two or three times I worked out so much I was bench pressing 300 lbs. and running 6 miles a day. In a few instances I’ve had two factors working together. But to get all three working in tandem, now that’s a feat of Herculean size – I can’t honestly say I’ve ever managed. What, I often ask myself, prevents me from attaining this goal?
The answer must lie within me. Discipline my father would say. Just say no is quite popular and, of course, joining a monastery has been suggested by some. All joking aside, I guess I’m just human (my God, did I really say that) and couldn’t resist temptation that easily.
Yes, I will make improvements, but perfection is not for me. Along the way I guess I’ll be like most of us, dreaming of a body by Bo-flex, a mind like Einstein and a spirit like Mother Theresa. And in the midst of this struggle I’ll likely pause for coffee Hagen Daz, watch All in the Family re-runs and continue to dream of my arms around my soul mate on the shores of Tahiti. Oh well, we all have to go sometime, but I’m sure glad for the delights life offers along the way no matter how imbalanced they may be.
Carl Conley, Ed.