With the insane amount of polarization that we are experiencing in society it is becoming increasingly more difficult and exponentially more important to find a balance in our own lives. Balance as a noun is defined as an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady. Balance as a verb is defined as to keep or put (something) in a steady position so that it does not fall. These definitions to me both seem very integral in relating to our own spiritual, mental and physical health and inherently that of our community . I also would add that we must work for and look to maintain this balance while in motion. And it is seems essential to me that this motion be forward to a known destination. For when we do not know where we are going the likelihood of becoming lost can greatly increase. Being lost then leaves us at the mercy of our environment which brings me right back to my opening sentence. For we are experiencing an unprecedented within our lifetime environment in a quickly changing world that seems to be swinging many lives in unexpected directions. This situation is what in my humble opinion is leading so many to allow themselves to be associated with the extremism that is creating the polarization which is in turn disrupting the very balance of life. I will further venture to say that this is not an accident...
Now, to avoid contributing to the growing list of conspiracy theories and the endless arguments that abound among those who thrive on such debates I will attempt to avoid elaborating on my last statement at least for now. Instead I will choose to focus on hopefully finding a clear path towards the healthy balance we all need and so many crave. At first glance it can seem like emotion may be the root of one's imbalance but upon further investigation I do not think this is necessarily the case. Let us look at anger for instance as this seems to be such a prevalent factor in the state we find our society in during these times. I personally have witnessed people who under the emotion of anger have become so determined and focused or dare we say balanced enough to make a positive change and solve that which is causing their anger in the first place. This would be anger utilized for good as a virtue and for the true purpose of its existence. Continuing to look at anger, let us look at it being used as a vice beyond its true purpose(imbalanced) when we lose our focus and our determination becomes to shame and blame(attack) others and as a result either knowingly or unknowingly only adds to the negativity that is causing our anger. So even just from this one example we can see that emotion in and of itself is not the root of imbalance but at best just a variable to be aware of and become the master of. As a matter of fact when starting my Wrestling With Virtue gymnasium I traveled to the Holy Mountain to study a list of virtues that I had found originated there from St Peter the Athonite. This list contains 208 virtues and 292 vices that can result from the imbalance and misuse of the aforementioned virtues.
Staying with the train of thought that the proper use of virtues is a part of our solution to finding balance I will focus on two: Honesty and Humility. A big part of honestly as pertains to maintaining balance starts with being honest with ourselves. Especially in the sense of knowing what we both can and cannot control and or do within our current circumstance. I add this last caveat of current circumstance because I believe that through hard work one may improve their ability and therefore expand their own limits. However, when one observes their self outside of their capabilities it may be time to step back and reevaluate the true situation which is where humility comes into play. For when we cannot humble ourselves and acknowledge where our own improvement can be made then we truly limit not only our ability to help ourselves but our contribution to society at large also becomes greatly diminished. I want to be careful when I mention the action of reevaluating ourselves it is very important to not let this become judgement which will in turn prevent or hamper our forward motion. I would urge all of us to turn away from the trend in society to being judgmental to not only ourselves but to others as well. I know the difference between judgement and observation/evaluation may seem slight but judgment suggest a finality while the latter leaves the door open for continued improvement. An example could be to reframe our thoughts from " I am a failure" to "what can I do to improve" or "those people are such idiots" to "what can I do to help others". I might add here that the very last statement can only ever be truly accomplished through kindness and with love.
To wrap this current blog up, I will conclude by saying I think we can all agree that our society seems to be losing its balance in the midst of so many extreme media reports that only get multiplied within a culture that is addicted to social media. I think it is time we all took a step back and disconnect the media and negative social media outlets. Let go of these distractions from our true selves, take the new found time away from all of this and observe who we are and where we are going. Furthermore, use our time to exercise our spiritual being by praying and participating in a life that reflects our thankfulness for our very existence and the opportunities it affords. Then, exercise our mental being by reading scripture, truly listening to our inner self and re-centering our focus to a love of God and humanity which is disposed towards great deeds. Finally, in order to be capable to execute these great deeds successfully, we must exercise our physical being by being industrious through appropriate pains and eliminating vain and useless occupations. When we are able to accomplish this then we will become perfectly formed, strong and beneficial and able to fulfill our grand purpose in life. That of peace and salvation, peace within and without and salvation from all that hinders this!
"You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked"