What an amazing principle that defines all life, universal law and the way of nature itself! Everything in existence must have its opposite. The opposing energies and forces must balance for there to be synergy and harmony.
Yin and Yang, In and Yo, comme si comme sa, internal and external, hard soft, night day, light dark, good bad, up down, in out, exercise and rest, anger and joy, peace and war, love and apathy, saving and spending, challenge and support, etc. etc.
I could talk balance in many many realms, from the universe to the solar system to planet Earth to the ocean, to our countries and how they are run; economically and financially with surplus and deficit and income and expenditure and assets and liabilities. It is such an important and intrinsically active principle that it cannot be left out of our human development.
So let’s just talk human growth, evolution and potential. Why do we need to balance stuff out in life?
It may be obvious, or you can do your own writing exercises on what may occur with a life of too much excess and risk; a life of too much reservation and conservatism. Too much of anything will lead to illness, weakness, eccentricity, mental illness, obesity, dis-ease, a distorted sense of things, taking things for granted, a lack of gratitude appreciation and value. Missed opportunities, lack of experience and wisdom, alienation, prejudice, judgement, burnout, failure and death.
Yes some of the greatest inventors, leaders, warriors, fighters, artists, criminals, and other record breaking humans were eccentric and perhaps destroyed everything in their path to achieve what no-one else achieved, inspire and break through to pave way for followers and admirers of their pioneering ways. How did they last? How did they live and how did they die? They sacrificed to be legends – but were they still balanced? Yes they were, their glory usually had extreme opposites. For every win their might have been a thousand failures – some catastrophic to themselves and others. Indeed a sacrifice.
In the beginning and the end it is the nature of all things to balance out anyway.
Again I encourage you to do your own brain storming and creative activity that expresses your ‘own meaning’ for balance.
Mind: Balance in thinking, moderation, ‘this way – that way’. What is your perception or how do you perceive a thing, an event, a situation or another person? How does a balanced attitude affect your perception, your behaviour? Are those things balanced? Is your attitude and belief structure balanced in positive and negative? Knowing that there cannot be one without the other.
Somewhere between memory and imagination culminates a balance of being, existing and doing in ‘the now’. Mindfulness.
Martial arts: It is well known that generally there is the internal and external martial arts. A duality that must exist. Two good examples may be Shotokan Karate and Tai Chi Chuan. One a hard and linear style and the other mostly ‘soft’ and circular. A well-known saying is ‘Do not mistake gentleness for weakness – for one to be strong one must be gentle.’ Simply this is control over your own muscles. Can an Olympic weightlifter, one of the strongest men on the planet be gentle with his own new born baby? Of course! He has great control. A ‘hard/soft’, ‘go ju’ opposite flows to one another to create a harmony. In Lao Tze’s water poem he describes how devastating, hard, powerful and persistent water can be and then how compliant, soft and flowing it can be. ‘Follow the path of least resistance.’ – Like water – is one popular philosophy or methodology. Some systems use the elements to influence their actions in combat or in life! In combat sometimes there is the need for a balance of defensive or offensive tactics. Percussive impact and various hard or powerful striking, or yielding, redirecting and manipulating an opponent into submission, restraint or maiming and unconsciousness. Muay Thai fighters retire in their 30’s. Have you ever seen a hard style martial arts practitioner into their 60’s or 70’s? If they have not bothered to add Qi Gong (Chi Kung) or kata/Hsing practice that employs a balance of slow and fast, chances are they are arthritic and damaged, limited in their range of motion and mobility and sore. In Tai Chi they say ‘Don’t resist, don’t insist.’ In the modern scientific martial arts we talk about bio mechanics, summation of forces and ‘mass x acceleration = force.’ The power we require for striking and grappling in self-defence or sport martial arts. Of course, there is much more I can add to balance in martial arts ….
Fitness: Physically speaking; how are you at standing on one leg? Do your support muscles work and stabilise you in some competition where this is necessary? Surfing, gymnastics or maybe a yoga posture are other areas where not forgetting, but remembering to develop the core and lower leg or arm support muscles are paramount. Are we centred? Do we promote a neuro-muscular challenge? Excess in work (exercise) causes stresses, do you require this to grow in your own context? Or is moderation more suitable for your condition, age or body type? Most importantly, a balance in all areas of fitness will result in optimum health.
Automotive analogies: Have you thought about why car engines run so smoothly? They are balanced! If you are rebuilding a new engine. Performance or otherwise, the crankshaft is counterweighted – if it does not rotate evenly the result will be eccentricity and, for want of a better word, wobbly! Some engines are balanced internally with the harmonic balancer/damper and flywheel or flexplate neutral; and some engines are balanced externally with a counterweight added to the flywheel and balancer. The rotational mass (pistons, rings, and conrods) throw off the crank, so the crank has to be either drilled or filled with mallory metal to counter act that action. Another analogy might be the tuning of the engine. The air, fuel and timing has to be balanced for the engine to perform efficiently. For example if we have too much fuel in the mixture the engine will run rich, perform poorly and burn the excessive fuel. If the mixture is lean, the engine can underperform, detonate and cause excessive internal damage.
Interestingly, the human body will respond the same with being too rich (fat, obese, sluggish) or too lean (unhealthy damage, lack of energy and nourishment). And who wants to be wobbly and eccentric?
I trust this article helps you employ some balance in all areas of your life, or at least awaken to the necessity of the Balance Principle.