The Glory and Illusion of Balance

“Hold your balance!”

I said those words many times early in my former life as a yoga instructor. Then I learned: not only is it bad advice, it’s impossible. 

For many of us the holy grail of yoga poses was handstand. Oh to be able to balance independently. Once I learned it though, I came to see that I was never in perfect balance. I was always oscillating. 

In the beginning of learning, our oscillations are huge. We fall over lots. In time, we refine; the fluctuations become smaller and smaller, thus giving the illusion of “holding the balance.” 

Another view is that balance is equal strength on both sides. This is particularly true of inner balance, inner peace. 

I’m not a Christian, and Jesus comes to mind as a model teacher for us. He told us how to experience the “peace that passeth all understanding”. All understanding? It means that no matter what’s going on outside, inside there is peace. 

How does that happen? When we are able to lean in to both sides, the pain and the pleasure, the joy and the sadness, the light and the dark - only then do we know inner peace. The Course in Miracles tells us “it is in vulnerability that power lies.” 

Sometimes we have to cross a line to find out where it is. When we do, then we know it’s time to adjust. The more we are able to feel it all, the less pain and resistance with each oscillation. 

But wait, you still feel pain? Does that mean you’re doing something wrong? One of my mentors, Norman Vincent Peale, said this: “your biggest problem is that you think you’re not supposed to have problems.”

When we feel pain of course it’s a sign to change something, most often in our perception, and sometimes in the world around us. The true purpose of that occurrence is really to help us expand. Holding our balance or always being at peace sounds great. The thing is, we came to earth school to learn, to grow to be ever more of our potential. 

Even Jesus, in that (maybe) last moment on the cross, was learning. “Forgive them father for they know not what they do.” No doubt he soon came to know that in the eyes of spirit nothing is ever wrong, nothing ever needs forgiveness. 

So here’s my advice: always strive for balance while knowing it’s ever elusive. If you’re alive, as soon as you have it, it’s gone. Yet we can make friends with that. We can even celebrate when we cross the line, when we fall or start to. Each time we are becoming more and more of our infinite self. 

Next thing you know you’ll upside down, balanced and smiling. It’s time for those of us on the path to turn the tables and get upside down. The more peace inside us, the more in the world.