I want it all. I want to be young with the Wisdom of Solomon. I want to be a twenty year old and get the senior discount. I want freedom and to be in a deeply rewarding relationship. I want to be rich and bang on the drum all day. I want great health and to party all day and all night. I want to be exceptionally intelligent and sleep all day. I want all of the services government provides and not pay taxes. In other words, I want polar opposites all of the time.
As I get older (mature) and wiser (experience), I have discovered that there are just some things that can’t exist at the same time. It doesn’t matter how unfair I might believe that to be, we can’t have the best of all things at the same time. We have to decide almost every minute of every day what we want. The good news is we can decide what we want. The bad news is we can’t have it all at the same time.
I believe that time was created so that our heads don’t explode. Can you imagine everything happening all at once? Even if we could, it would give us a headache. Running marathons and being a coach potato can’t coexist in the same time frame. Reality doesn’t work that way. So we have to decide what we want, or even better, balance the two extremes.
Our universe operates on the pendulum principle, in that pleasure is always followed by pain, and pain is always followed by pleasure. At least, until we stop being attached to one or the other. If we stop judging something as pleasant or painful, life evens out. For adrenaline addicts such as myself, I see no fun in evening things out, but I also have to be willing to experience abstract concepts such as pleasure and pain. How can those be abstract you ask? Hypnosis has proven that pain is experienced in the mind, and the mind can be put to sleep so you don’t feel pain. If you don’t feel something does it exist? If no one witnesses an event, does it actually occur? Granted these are existential questions but they have application in real life.
You can’t have freedom and be with the same person twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. You have to let go of attachments in order to have freedom. There may be consequences to that, but everything (energy, relationships, events) moves in cycles. If we accept the fact that what we want will be followed by what we don’t want, then you can be more peaceful and not resist what you don’t want. When we resist something, it tends to get stuck. When we let things go in their natural order, things shift more rapidly.
The great balancing act is to accept everything as in its natural order. Another way of saying that is accept everything as God. It is often hard to see something tragic or horrible as God, but it is the only way that we will be able to understand how the universe works. Everything we know and believe is an attempt to understand the way the universe works. When we step back from our concepts, our understanding, our world view, then we start to see the deeper truths of life. We can seek the truths that make life bearable, fun, exciting and rewarding. These truths are right in front of us, but our desire to have it all prevents us from see it.
I love a story about the Dalai Lama, who was confronted by a wealthy woman one time who complained that her family hated her and she was destitute. The woman wanted to know what to do. The Dalai Lama said “change your mind”. After all, how we perceive things dictates what we experience. What we experience dictates how we feel and understand life. So when we change our perception we experience a new life. It is the end of the year and a new year is beginning.
What can you do to balance your life, to stop the pendulum from swinging so dramatically between pleasure and pain? I believe that life is a pendulum swinging from one polar extreme to another, between pleasure and pain, between good and bad, between life and death. We don’t have to get off the pendulum, we just have to raise our awareness so that we go up the pendulum to the center point where nothing swings, it just turns. There is no great dramatic shift, there just is. We don’t have to make decisions about what we want, we just experience life as it is. So to get to the center point, that point of stillness, we have to stop judging and reacting. Be the center of your universe. The great thing about our universe is that it has as many centers as it does beings. Each being is the center of their universe. Don’t believe them when they say “you aren’t the center of the universe, the universe doesn’t revolve around you!” Actually, it does. So for this New Year, accept everything as a gift, whether it feels good or not. Be grateful for everything, especially the stuff that doesn’t feel good.
Another way of looking at the challenging stuff in our lives is to think of them as push ups. The more push-ups we do, the stronger we become. So to do more spiritual push ups, we need to welcome the challenges as they come. Oh how strong we will be. After all, that which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. So balancing is more about accepting and being grateful. Every time we accept pain exactly like we accept pleasure, be become more balanced. Eventually, there will not be pleasure or pain. There will only be the abundance of a balanced life.