Is Finding Balance the Ultimate Answer to Everything?

Finding Balance

“The middle path is the way to wisdom.” ~ Mevlana Rumi

Yesterday I watched Eckhart Tolle visiting Google Headquarters. He talked with Google’s Bradley Horowitz about the balance of “knowledge” and “wisdom” (a.k.a. spirituality, although the Google VP of Product Management didn’t mention that word) in front of Google staff. And although Tolle started out with praising Google’s working conditions and the way they create space for people, one could say that there aren’t much more different ways of looking at the meaning of wisdom: While Google has certainly many highly intelligent people with brilliant and high-performing minds employed, Tolle says the secret lies in turning the mind off and in not looking for an identity in it.

Are people really interested in digging to the deeper meaning, the real truth of things? Or is this maybe to difficult, maybe even futile to follow?

Maybe you are asking now “Myrko, where are you going with this?”
Or maybe I have even lost you already.

My Personal Experience

I also got the feedback to be more personal in my blog posts recently, so I’m going to use some more personal information and experiences along with my posts. In many discussions and also in my own reflections, the deeper I dig the more it gets obvious that balance in life is at the core of what is the right way to go.

In the discussion of “mind vs. spirit” balance simply means that I don’t take an either-or standpoint here. This may turn off some of you who are heavily on either one of the two sides. Most like to have a clear answer, a standpoint in favor of one opinion and in opposition to another. But the reality is, that it’s never black and white. It’s not about making a decision here, it’s more about finding the way that works best most of the time and doesn’t create conflicts on the inside or on the outside.

Embrace Your Spirit!

My personal experience is that in the moment I realized the power of now, a whole new world opened up effortlessly. It centered me in a way that nothing else mind-created could do and it gave me an ultimate foundation for my being and my life.

For me it didn’t work long-term to focus only on what my intelligent mind, my thoughts and emotions, my desires and wants suggest. Something meaningful is missing. As long as you are on the “search”, you may not realize it yet. But when you nearing your destinations that you thought are your ultimate you, you may feel content and satisfied, but I bet there is also a new question arising… something along the lines “Is this all there is?” or maybe “What is the next level?”

Embrace Your Mind!

But… on the other hand, I would never ever dismiss the power of the mind. The mind is incredible and is your number one tool in the world. Everything about setting goals, making plans, being productive, improving focus etc. still aplies.

Having a sharp mind is extremely valuable and helps you to function in this world, do what you do successfully, which means nothing else as creating value for others.

I point that out because I struggled with this myself, when I somehow got the feeling that mind-activity contradicts being present. In a way it does indeed, because you only have a certain amount of attention and when you put it to a task or to any kind of object, it gets attached there and is not free in this moment. But attention being free is necessary to become present.

Balance, the Final Answer!?

The final answer for me is to find balance between intense mind activity and simply presence. Still of course, even with intense mind activity I feel that there is some kind of conscious presence in the background. And I think this is the reason why I don’t loose myself in the mind anymore, which simply means making an identity out of what the mind creates.

Balance does also seem to be the ultimate solution when you look at the different parts of your life. In an article on work-life balance Jerry Colonna says that the concept of work-life balance is bullshit: “First, it presumes that work is in opposition to life… Second, the concept sets us up for terrible guilt.” But in the end he concludes that you still need to divide up your time to balance your most important life-areas (work,body,family).

It never really works for long if you favor just one single area, for instance spending almost all time at your work and much less on your body or your family. This almost always fires back. You can have areas of expertise, but you can’t afford to have areas out of balance.

About the author Myrko Thum

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10 Comments

  • Zack

    November 17, 2012

    Myrko-

    You’ve chosen a tough profession. I install ceramic tile for my bread. It is very logical. If a tile is low, I build it up, if a grout joint is offset, I straighten it. This seems to be the way the western mind works best. Problem, action, solution. Straight linear approach. I have found though that with personal development a circular thought pattern works best. I discovered circular logic first in quantum physics, then in Taoism and lastly in Buddhism. All of these logical approaches include the intent of the individuals mind as part of the “problem” to be addressed. I call it circular because any “change” made is not left behind in the dust of the past but rather is a change that will effect the future. It is easy to witness. If one is to get angry with a sibling, then the next time one sees that sibling the effect of that action will be present. There will animosity or coolness between you. If an apology is made, then this action will have new effect in the future. Etc.

    for me personal development is my ability for my intellect to set a positive intent in all circumstances and then to cool it so that my spirit can witness what those effects are. Because of the circular effect, anything that I do that is positive; excersice, meditate, laugh, read, listen, clear my desk of junk, pay my bills on time, be attentive, be affectionate, dishes, walk the dog, be responsible to my friends family and co-workers really anything and everything, especially if I do it not mindlessly, but rather with the intent that it is better to do than not do, then I give my spirit a much grander show to witness. That spiritual connection with life is the real sweetness of living. And it seems though to start with intent.

    Or maybe it is the spiritual connection that drives the intent. Dang circles. :)

    That is why I think you have a tough job.

    Thanks for the good work

    ReplyReply
  • Myrko

    November 17, 2012

    Zack, giving spirit a grander show to witness is nicely put, like allowing your spirit to surface and flower.

    Regarding circular logic, is this what you refer to, or can you give me some other sources about that concept?

    This “job” is challenging, but it’s not tough since I really enjoy it. I’m thankful I can do what I love to do. Maybe others wouldn’t love it, of course ;-)

    Thanks for another thoughtful comment!

    ReplyReply
  • Zack

    November 17, 2012

    Myrko, I am sorry but I am a bit of a free-wheeler. I coined that definition to meet my needs. There was a great book written by an, I believe, American woman in the late eighties that put forth an analysis of the problems with linear thought, and I know that I draw heavily from her, but I was living a thousand miles from home when I read her and lost that library during the exodus. I feel I know her name, but I cannot recall.

    There are a few other well developed ideas out there that I am generally familiar with. In Buddhism there is the Cycle of Samsara, and in Taoism there is the Tao of Change. I feel that it is safe to say that in both of these modes of thought what “is” should not be accepted as a permanent reality, rather as a state where the seeds of the future reside. And those futures will always bring you back to the “is” of the now. Of course the scenery may change but in essence all has returned.

    Another concept that I have found useful is the energized state of the electron. The electron rotates around nucleus of the atom in a stable orbit. As energy is added to the atom the energy should translate into a gradually widening orbit for the electron. This should be how the added energy is dispensed with. But what happens instead is that the electron holds its orbit until a critical point is reached where it “jumps” to a wider orbit, never existing in the possible orbits between. This is more or less how I view my personal development. I keep circling the same problematic situation, viewing it, encountering it, learning it, until I’ve learned to store enough energy and a quantum jump occurs. (the Buddhist concept of non-attachment has saved my rear here, sometimes you feel like it is gone, the jump, but really it seems to have either become a new normal or more commonly you have to do it repeatedly to make it a new normal and that knowledge can make you feel mighty depressed)

    This combined with the two concepts from the east are how I have come, generally, to view existence itself. Every arrival is a return, and the only difference is the level of energy we carry with us.

    I learned from a Yaqui Indian, related by Carlos Castaneda, that the storage of energy is the task. This is where I feel that your teachings excel. My bet is that he would read your posts and nod in agreement and joy, possibly adding that that is not how he would of put it.

    Thanks again for the good work and enjoy the challenge,

    Zack

    P.S. I am sure that you are familiar with all of this. It is fun for me to get it out, I hope you don’t mind.

    ReplyReply
  • Marco Bettoni

    November 19, 2012

    @Myrko: When I read what Zack wrote about his term circular thought pattern “… I call it circular because any “change” made is not left behind in the dust of the past but rather is a change that will effect the future.” I associated it with the cybernetic way of thinking. Have a look at the website of the American Society for Cybernetics (http://www.asc-cybernetics.org/). I am familiar with the work of some of the “notable cyberneticians” mentioned there on the page http://www.asc-cybernetics.org/foundations/cyberneticians.htm, and in relation to “cyrcular thought pattern” I suggest especially Bateson, Foerster, Glasersfeld and (last but not least) Maturana. My own definition of cybernetics is on my blog, postet 11.12.2011 (http://marco-bettoni.blogspot.ch/search/label/Cybernetics). Best wishes! Marco

    ReplyReply
  • Myrko

    November 19, 2012

    @Marco Bettoni, thanks for the additions! I take a look at those now.

    ReplyReply
  • Zack

    November 19, 2012

    “Cybernetics treats not things but ways of behaving. It does not ask “what is this thing?” but “what does it do?” and “what can it do?””

    I think this is exactly what I meant. When the individual, and therefore its self identified preconceptions, are taken out of the equation and everything is thought of as a flow of action, including the individuals preconceptions, a much more circular form of reinforcement emerges.

    Is this fair Marco?

    I’ll have to read up there too.

    ReplyReply
  • Zack

    November 19, 2012

    Wow, I clicked on that second link just before I was getting up to take a shower. Thanks Marco for
    credit for the inspiration, although now I feel a little sheepish being sure that I did not coin that, but borrowed, heavily.

    I’ll have to reread that. Obviously it is dense. Isn’t it amazing that the language being used in so many different disciplines; quantum, psychology, cybernetics, some spiritual disciplines, among others that I am not aware of, has begun to sound very much the same.

    Thanks for the serendipity Marco. I look forward to fishing through your blog as well

    Zack

    ReplyReply
  • Marco Bettoni

    November 19, 2012

    @Zack: I like it, Zack, especially your conclusion: “a much more circular form of reinforcement” :-)

    ReplyReply
  • Marco Bettoni

    November 19, 2012

    @Zack: You’r welcome, Zack! I agree with your remark about the convergence of the “language being used in so many different disciplines”: it’s really amazing and, I hope, useful for promoting understanding and cooperation. Good luck!

    ReplyReply
  • Zack

    November 22, 2012

    I just wanted to thank you both. It is nice to revisit things you thought you knew. Sometimes, as I have this time, you can realize that you have lost your real focus.

    Thanks to you both.

    Zack

    ReplyReply

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