Saturday, December 6, 2008

Regaining Balance

Regaining Balance

Once upon a time, there was a person who sensed that his life was out of balance. He needed something, but couldn’t get to it. And he thought that if his worldly circumstances could be ordered in a good way, then balance and stability would surely come.

So he married, had children, developed a strong professional career, and became wholeheartedly active in his chosen religion. He was respected, and for a long time he thought, “I’ve made it.”

But his inner life was still disordered, an unconscious realm of unresolved energies. Usually he was able to ignore these, but sometimes they pushed up into his everyday life in disruptive ways. Gradually the discontinuity grew stronger between the outer representation of who he was and the inner reality.

Finally very difficult things began to happen. After years of apparent success in the world, he was laid off from his job. He discovered he did not believe as before concerning God and the universe. His relationships with people – including marital ones – stressed and began to change.

Concepts about how life “ought to be” were not enough anymore. He could no longer pretend that things were OK as they had been. Not only that, the immensity of his outward confusion and discord was beyond his ability to think through and mentally figure out.

He at last discovered that the only relief came through accepting without resistance his experience of pain. And with that surrender came the first dawning awareness of . . . inner balance.

This tale is surely generic. Many could relate to it without changing the details much. If it has a "moral" perhaps that could be stated as:

Inner discord that isn’t faced eventually manifests as outer discord that cannot be ignored.


Attempting to relieve pain by manipulating outer circumstances is an unconsciousness behavior that permits inner imbalance to remain unhealed.

There is some risk in extrapolating from microcosm to macrocosm, but let us consider this from a global perspective. The latest news is that more jobs were lost in November than in the past 34 years, bringing this year’s total job loss to 1.9 million. That is a lot of people out of work, with more to come.

Also, unemployment is driving the foreclosure crisis to record levels – presently at 1.35 million. One in ten borrowers in America are either delinquent or in foreclosure.

The government is striving mightily to figure out what to do about this unprecedented crisis. It is struggling with how to stop the acute pain that no one wants to feel, how to restore stability and complacency. Will this effort succeed? Perhaps not in the way that is expected.

It could be the message of these times is that regaining true balance comes from engaging the inner person, whether that be an individual or a nation.

The pain is there for a reason – to make the discontinuities inescapably evident, beyond ignoring. Accepting this is difficult, but perhaps it can lead to actual transformation, both individually and collectively.


  1. I continue to be amazed at the variety of voices in your writing.


    This one is epecially delicious.

  2. Wish you'd turn around.

  3. Yup, your voice moves & lifts us Nesia!