By Suma Varughese
To attain balance in body, mind and spirit, is no small matter. It calls us to free ourselves of the pull and push of craving and aversion, and of the emotional and psychological needs that keep us in thrall, says Suma Varughese
A friend of mine still has not forgiven her father for an incident that happened many years ago. She was a college kid then, and while driving the family car, she had an accident that all but wrecked it. Thoroughly shaken, she came home to a ballistic father whose rage could not be appeased. She is angry with him not because he bawled her out, but because he did not even notice that the car may have been totalled but she, his daughter, had had a miraculous escape.
On the other hand, a Facebook story shares that when parents call their children on their mobiles, and do not get a response, 99 per cent immediately jump to the conclusion that their child is either dead or dying. Only one per cent entertains the sane thought that perhaps they did not hear the phone, or were not near the phone!
Balance. How hard it is to achieve. And yet, how necessary. To respond appropriately to any person or situation. To be always correct in all things. To subscribe to the Buddha’s ideal of the Middle Way. As Eliza Doolittle would croon, “Wouldn’t it be loverrrly?!’’
Is such an ideal achievable? Like all absolute ideals, it too has its basis in the spiritual journey and it will be realized in its full perfection when we reach the end of that journey – when the ego has dissolved and the individual entity has merged with the larger consciousness.
But even if we never get there, the balance journey is a crucial one for any level of happiness, health, peace and success.
Towards mega balance
While the quest for balance has always been critical for human happiness, history offers vivid proof that most of us have failed to get there. The bloody and brutal battles and wars, the sheer scale of inhumanity of man against man testify how much we have been in the grip of our lesser desires such as the lust for power, possession and conquest, and negative emotions such as anger, resistance and reaction.
Even when it comes to individuals, I am going out on a limb out here and asserting that the public space has not been too privy to examples of perfect balance. Even geniuses, it was popularly considered, were flawed in one way or the other, as if to make up for their considerable gifts. It was pretty much a given that they would be, at best, eccentric, or at worst, alcoholics, sexually promiscuous, or mentally unstable. We only have to look at the evidence furnished by writers and artists like Doestoevsky, Piccasso, Van Gogh, Sylvia Plath, and others
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