"All things change always, in all ways, nothing remains the same."
Our understanding of Balance in the west is quite static. We are taught that if a person balances on a beam and doesn't fall off, that they are in balance, or that if they walk a tightrope and they don't slip that they have achieved balance, or when our psyche's balance on the head of a pin so long as they do not totter we have achieved equilibrium.
This idea of Balance often presupposes solid ground, or a solid stationary element within the equation, upon which one can measure ones success. But this understanding of balance is often ill conceived. The first reality we can bring to bare in this question of balance is that 'all things are in constant motion' , and that motion is 'relative' to all other things. So although it is true, that when attempting to balance on a beam that rests upon the earth, the illusion of a stationary object is created, namely the illusion of a static beam. In fact, the beam, along with the person who is attempting to balance upon it, is actually travelling at the same speed as the earth is rotating, and circumventing the sun....it simply appears that there is a static element to this connection because of the relative velocities of the elements within the equation. If for instance the beam, the person and the planet were suddenly to start travelling at different speeds, the probability of a balanced proposition would be somewhat extended...or for instance an extraneous element was suddenly thrown into the equation so as to change the relative motions of each of the elements...say an earthquake. So Relative motion is a key element in any understanding of the concept of Balance.
This Notion of relative motion in a universe that is in constant flux, is not so new in the west, being an accepted norm in the physical sciences now for almost 100 years, but in the East of course it is ancient, and entire philosophies were constructed upon this dynamic understanding. Not just as a reality outside the observer, but also as an inner reality in the subjectivity of consciousness. There was no differentiation between the two, as dynamic equilibrium was thought to be a founding principle upon which the entire physical universe, and we, as elements within it, functioned. Taoism, Ayurveda Yoga, Confucianism, Neo-Taoism, Neo-Confucianism, Buddhism...all understood this dynamism, and the illusions created by perspectives in relativity. Tai Chi and Wu Shu are premised upon this DYNAMIC balance, where all things are in a state of disequilibrium and are only understood to be in any form of balance when the idea of motion is brought to bare, and motion that is relative to the perceiver.
Systemic flux and flow, is an important element in our own feelings of maintaining a balanced system. In the Natural Biological Sciences this would be understood as the concept of Homoeostases, whereby the body, functioning as a cohesive bio-energetic energy system, seeks to maintain core operational equilibrium in order to function in a maximally efficient manner with the minimum of energetic effort.
It is now fully understood however, that this Equilibrium is a platonic ideal that never actually exists in the real world, because in the real world the body functions within a greater system than itself, and these external influences constantly impinge upon the state of equilibrium the internal system attempts to maintain. Even in an alpha state of pure meditative bliss, the body is constantly at work maintaining this potential equilibrium from within. Nothing exists in isolation, all parts of the system are beholden upon all other parts of the system and the wider systemic whole. Potassium and Sodium balances; Axonal and Dendritic conductive balance of neurotransmitter re-uptake and dispersion; Metabolic gas exchange; to name but a few of these extra systemic balancing acts that are maintained while the consciousness slips into its stillness, decentralizes, shedding itself of its egoistic prison, and re-emerges into Nirvanic bliss; even the sino-auricular node that is so important to deep meditative techniques owes no small part to constant redress of dynamic balance in the brain and along the Vagus nerve. So that what appears as total stillness and calm to the mind, owes no small part to a constant and dynamic sub-systemic redress of equilibrium on behalf of various elements of the system entire.
The illusion of the illusion is itself illusory.
We know that all things vibrate, in physics this is called Brownian motion, where bye every atom is constantly in a dance, and shakes rattles and rolls with its neighbours dependent upon the wider environmental conditions. from the great to the small, this is a truth. The only thing that seems to remain static, is nothingness itself, and as we are mostly made up of this nothingness, we can assume that there is at least a little stillness available to us :)....BUT, like it or not, in existing in the world of things, as we do as human beings; be we illusory soul stuff, dream waifs of Gods thoughts, or manifested energetic beings constructed from simple base molecules that form a blueprint to encode our biochemical parameters....(perhaps all three); We are thrust into a state of disequilibrium, with only the notion of balance to maintain us. We never actually maintain this balance purely and simply because time, space, and all things do not actually stop....they move in perpetuity. The trick if you are trying to live a life in balance, is to recognize this truth and GO WITH THE FLOW!...now i know this sentiment is often thought of as wishy washy, but in truth it is what every system in our body does naturally, it does what every system in nature does naturally, and it is this truth that Eastern sages recognized many thousands of years before Western Scientists dreamt up the hypotheses to account for the natural world. An Ancient knowledge held in trust by eastern sages for a while, during the dark ages of Western thought.
So what happens to a person who say, seeks to live a life in balance, but encounters a situation whereby that balance, or dynamic equilibrium is so knocked off kilter that they are thrust into the uncomfortable regions of personal or psychological disequilibrium. Lets say, falling in Love, since it is one of my personal favourite topics. :)...Let us first recall that Balance is a spiralling dynamic construct, that is never actually achieved and is always relative in motion to the elements within the system. This new dynamism, that is created by the often wildly fluctuating imbalance of a romantic love relationship can be an extremely uncomfortable feeling for control freak, and Taoist sage alike! What is important to recall however is that by entering into a new systemic system, that every relationship forms, this state of wild disequilibrium is actually an extremely natural occurrence, and is mirrored in all new systems, and all parts of those systems. It occurs so that a new harmonically consistent dynamic balance can be constructed by all the elements of this new system. There is nothing peculiar about it, it is formatively natural. Discomfort comes, often from the inability to let go of the old harmonic balance, in favour of the new one. As humans, when we enter into romantic relations with a new partner, we find the courage to let go of our old selves in the hope of finding that new harmonic balance, through trust. Trust in the other person, that they, who are also in a state of disequilibrium, will join with us in nurturing this new systemic balance, and finding its potential harmonic structure and center. This of course is done by way of communication; physical, emotional, psychological, sexual, and spiritual to name some of the area's where in this instance, namely the Love relationship, couples, need to communicate in order to find that harmonic re-balance. At which point the system, and the elements within it, namely the lovers in this instance, begin to settle down into a hopefully blissful new dynamism.
If however the communication breaks down for whatever reason, say, anxieties, fears, distrust, or one or the other elements of the relationship has reservations, or cannot let go of the old balance, then trust dissipates and the new harmonic is never achieved. Every relationship, or systemic reconfiguration is susceptible to a host of dangers in early infancy, and all elements or partners, or lovers need to fully enjoin in order to make that new harmonic a workable reality. Communication is then paramount in the success of that new harmony, because without it, the system simply disintegrates into its isomorphic elements and fails to cohere. It does this because Balance, or at least the concept of balance is so intrinsically a part of the universal, or creative order of things that the elements in that new relationship simply spiral down to the next lowest order of cohesive equilibrium. In this case single people. Yet as is true of sub atomic particles, particles, elements, chemicals, and all bio-energetic structures, the greater the complexity the greater the dynamism and potential within the new cohesive structure to achieve greater things. Maybe that is why married couples who have happily found a dynamic balance that allows each of the partners personal freedom but also creates the possibility for greater freedom and exploration and embellishment within the relational balance, seem to out score almost all single people on happiness criteria, and live healthier and happier lives, more fulfilled and with greater capacity for personal and interpersonal development.
That is not to say that individuals, cannot achieve a measure of happiness, for they most certainly can, and of course frequently do, and that happiness can fulfil and enrich a life as fully as it knows and understands itself to be, it can reach the potential personal and systemic limits of happiness and growth available to the individual person. They are however unlikely to achieve the same potentials available to the greater system or available to a couple, simply because they exist within a less complex system. This is scant concern for many however, as those who live in this isolated state, are blissfully unaware of the potentials available in a greater systemic whole, or deeply loving relationship. (the same here could be said of those unable to join a greater collective psychological concert...but that's another story, for another time! ;)...) However,as human beings we are biologically constructed to commune with one another and form close bonds of love and other relationships, some of these bonds of love are romantically connective. Indeed it is these romantic embellishments that can enrich our lives and help us to achieve qualities and new harmonies that alone we would never be able to countenance. Whether we can find the courage, and ability to communicate what is personally important to us in the construction of that new harmonic balance, and then mutually nurture it, in trust, with our new partners, will always remain the keynote in the harmony or disharmony of that new relationship, or system.
No young couple, or human being, or indeed any system can maintain the wilds of 'Romantic Love', or the disequilibrium of new constructive harmonics for long, and survive. Almost all relationships will settle into a new harmonic order sooner or later, it is the nature of nature that this occurs, but how one approaches the formative construction of that new dynamic equilibrium will often dictate as to whether the relationship as a whole, no matter who or what it is between, survives, or how much mutual bliss it affords. Taking care in those formative moments can, as it does with our young, ensure that happy, blissful, mutually beneficial, and loving bonds, are created that stand the test of time. Conversely, careless deconstructive actions and behaviour, can bias any new Dynamic system to disharmony and failure. Thankfully as human beings we have free will, and we can choose how we wish to care for that formative relationship.
So in closing let us just say, take care of your balances, go with the flow, know where that flow is, and if your not sure where the flow is, then maybe through trust and honest mutual communication, that flow can be discovered for the mutual benefit of all. Aim to stay in Balance, but remember that balance is illusory and dynamic, relative, and in a constant state of motion. Finding the harmonic center of that balance is never achievable alone, but only in concert with all other elements in that system, and if that is a loving system, then that means mutual communication, through mutual trust, to find a mutual harmony. Not a self-constructed harmony. Which, hopefully, both whole individuals have achieved already. So that as two whole and complete individuals, or parts of a new system, they can come together to create a brand new, Dynamic, whole, and complete harmonic Balance.
© Richard Michael Parker 2009