The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Monday, February 13, 2006

The Magic of Balance

Those who have been reading my words for a while will realize that everything I say is merely the repetition of a single core idea,  addressed from multiple directions: Balance.  Whether body, mind, and spirit, or the Chakras, it is all the same.

Even the Hero’s Journey seems to me to be merely the path that we walk evolving from one level of balanc e to another: satisfy the lower nees and we automatically rise to the next level of concerns.

I evolved the  Lifewriting system to address balance after a lifetime of observing intelligent, educated, good-hearted people simply flailing about, unable to create the lives they desired, eventually consumed with despair and anger.  And the answer seemed simple (although not easy).  They had theoretical models for the way the world worked, but failed to understand that EVERYONE deletes information from their conscious input.  It is simply impossible to take in all the data that exists.  So the danger is that they delete everything that confuses their model of the world.  We must all have a cosmology—a world view. But we must also have an epistemology—an understanding of the way we gather information, and a way to determine if our methods of gathering or correlation or extrapolation are accurate.  Since experimentation with the outside world is often beyond us, the only laboratory we have to test our ideas is our own lives: our bodies, our careers, our relationships.  To be certain, some aspects of these are beyond us as well, but we have infinitely greater control here than we have of events in the outside world, or events on the level of international politics.


Body.  Our bodies are created by our daily behaviors.  They obey the laws of physics: the balance between calories in and calories out must be maintained.  Yes, some people have slower metabolisms than others.  Perfectly true. Life isn’t fair.  Get over it.  The smarter you are, the easier it is.  It is possible to get all the exercise you need to be basically healthy in less than two hours a week.  Diet is a nightmare of conflicting opinions. Again, if you haven’t been able to navigate this maze, notice that there are a few constants, and stick to those: large percentages of fresh fruits and vegetables, few processed foods, only eat carbohydrates to replace the fuel burned during the day.  Calories  must be below the amount burned  to lose weight.  Forget the fancy stuff.
Career.  We have to balance income with expenditure.  It is possible to be happy (or content, or at peace) in any life situation.  If you are miserable at work, then it is your responsibility to either make change, or to change your own attitude.  I’ve known people who waste their entire lives blaming their jobs, when it is their own lack of courage and emotional/creative flexibility that keeps them there.
Relationships.  In relationships, you can have anything you can afford.  The coin is passion, health, intelligence, self-respect, confidence.  Men and women get into terrible trouble because they are attracted to people more attractive than themselves, and can’t be honest about it.  Women complain that men want beauty, while men complain that women want power.  Get over it.  We’re wired up that way.  The sooner you stop complaining, the faster you’ll be able to make decisions about the level of beauty or power you are willing to manifest in your own life to get what you want.

In each of these three arenas, there are painful truths we must face: we are lazy, we are dishonest, we are confused, we childishly wish the world to recognize our genius and follow our advice.  If you can’t master these three arenas, don’t think you can save the world.  I know many, many people who are balanced in these three areas.  Few of them are geniuses.  But they are honest, hard-working, loving people.  And they have a certain deep wisdom about life that is acquired by actual contact with the realities of their existence.  And they are happy, in ways that those who have mastered only one of the three arenas rarely are.

The more blocked or imbalanced you are, the more unfair the above will seem.  And yes, there are those relative few who don’t want financial security, fitness, and an intimate relationship.  But then, they will NEVER complain about not having those things.  These things are attainable by about 95% of those in our culture through discipline and self-awareness.  Some are born to poverty, or bad metabolisms, or horrific family situations…and will have to work harder than others.  But it can still be done.

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