All change and growth involves three steps: 1. DISSATISFACTION: Because of outer events or inner feelings, you decide your current situation no longer works for you. 2. CONFUSION: Normally, a period of confusion follows in which you challenge your old beliefs. You begin to fantasize how things could be different. This transitional period could last a day, a month, or a year, or more ... until something happens. 3. ACTION: Someone helps you to make a decision, or an opportunity presents itself, or you manage to attain clarity. Once this happens, you take action and, ideally, manifest a more satisfying life.
But oh how we resist change. Out of fear, we cling to what is and do everything within our power to keep people and things in their familiar static positions. If you're in a good relationship, you certainly don't want your union to spin off in some unexpected direction that will cause you anxiety. You want things to remain just as they are, solid and predictable. But soon suffering arises, because life is constantly changing.
"It is your resistance to what is that causes your suffering," said Buddha. Life is change. Change is what is. If not today, tomorrow, or next month, or next year. Everything in your life will eventually change.
Trouble starts with our desire for permanency. Desire is a matter of living in the future -- of sacrificing the present for the future. And desires always disappoint. If you don't get what you desire you become frustrated. If you do get what you desire you'll still be frustrated, because what you desired will never live up to your expectations. Sooner or later you'll find you were chasing illusions.
And permanency is a great big faulty assumption, because it simply does not exist.
But what if you could lock up life so that permanency were possible? Nothing would ever change. Tomorrow would be a repetition of today. Next year, everything the same. Five years down the road, exactly the same. BORING! STATIC! DEPRESSING! It is the not knowing that makes life exciting and generates ALIVENESS.
So the idea is to be courageous enough to embrace change, knowing that your soul is in search of new experiences to provide GROWTH. Growth is why you incarnated upon the earth. But you can't experience growth living a static life. A static (stagnant) life may protect you from some problems, but at what cost and for how long? Stagnation is a process of drying up -- allowing your life to become dull, colorless, lifeless. No aliveness. No joy. Watch some TV, go to work, come home, watch some TV, go to work, come home. Treadmill.
Even if your actions in a quest for growth cause you pain, at least when you're hurting you know you're alive. And the pain will generate more action, which will lead to more aliveness. Soon you'll find yourself back among the living.
If your life has become lifeless, what can you possibly fear from change? Explore your DISSATISFACTION, allow time for CONFUSION, and then make up your mind and ACT to manifest a more satisfying life.
Within the last 24 hours, two of my e-mail friends have written me about needing to find more balance in their lives. That kind of synchronicity always gets my attention. A little voice in my head said, “Write about it.”
BALANCE. What images does the word “balance” invoke for you? For me, it’s the yin/yang symbol, followed by the image of a tightrope walker, carrying a pole.
The Universe functions as a yin/yang balance, resulting in a tension between opposites (yin is negative and yang positive). We all contain the energy of these dual aspects: love/hate, harmony/chaos, good/evil. Tension is necessary for structure to exist. Human beings are energy structures, and without tension we don’t exist. As a result, there is always yin balance in our lives. Typical examples would be, self-denial, over-committing to the point of feeling frazzled, excess hard work, gambling, dwelling upon negativity, dangerous activities, sexual affairs, arguing, fighting, drugs, drinking, and illness.
In my seminars I talk about replacing yin energy expressions with positive challenges. But for this column, I want to stick with the general perception of balance.
As for the tightrope walker, he’s never in perfect balance. He continually moves the pole up and down and shifts weight from the right to the left. A little too much movement in one direction is quickly balanced by shifting weight in the other direction. The walker is never really in perfect balance for more than a moment. If he were, he would fall.
Life is a tightrope and like the tightrope walker you’ll never be in balance for long. If you were to strive to avoid all extremes you’d limit your life and would certainly generate anxiety. Don’t use this thinking as an excuse to be overindulgent, but if that’s what you need to do, you’ll soon generate an opposite pull of the forces.
One of the friends I mentioned has been working seven days a week in a hostile environment -- pushing herself to the point of being unable to sleep. And guess who just ended up sick in bed for several days?
If you know you’re badly out of balance, take action before your body/mind finds a way of doing it for you. But stop worrying about finding perfect balance. If you can replace yin behavior with positive challenge, do it. Instead of endangering your mental or physical health, find a way to generate the needed experience, but in a way that can serve you.
From the perspective of reincarnation, we swing back and forth through our lifetimes in an ongoing quest to attain balance. And from this overview, good really isn’t good and bad isn’t bad. They’re not opposites in conflict, but two harmonious aspects of the same thing. An automobile battery offers a good analogy. Within the battery are charged metal plates. One is charged positive, the next negative, the next positive, and so on. The positive plate is not “good” anymore than the negative plate is “bad.” The interaction resulting from this alternating charge is what creates the energy you experience when you twist the key your car’s ignition.
In the book, “The Tao of Love” by Ivan Hoffman (Prima Publishing), the author discusses balance: “Everything in the world is in a state of balance with everything else. Such is the nature of the yin and yang, of the Tao itself. There cannot be winter without spring; there cannot be life without death, there cannot be happiness without sadness.
“Whenever one component of that relationship changes, by definition the other component or components must also change to maintain the equilibrium. There can never be a state of disequilibrium in the natural scheme of things, for out-of-balance situations, both in nature and in the lives of human beings, will always attempt to right themselves, much like water seeking to find its own level once the pressures are turned off.”