The Point of Balance

From “Zen Cards” by Daniel Levin:

The center is not always the point of balance. When you find that place where Balance is achieved, peace will result in all situations. There is no conflict, for everything rests without strain.

As I read this, I wonder…..then I pick up an un-sharpened No. 2 pencil. I lay it across one finger at its center point and  it falls off. Of course it does. The eraser end is heavier than the writing end. I move its resting point toward the eraser end. It balances.

So what? Well, balance is essential to our wellbeing. Healthy diet, reasonable amounts of exercise, fresh air, sleep, and the meeting of other physical needs keeps the body in balance. Attention to these things benefits our physical wellbeing. Many of these things are also necessary for mental and emotional balance, and thus, wellbeing. Too much sugar and not enough sleep directly affect how we react/respond to daily life. These two things can throw our mental/ emotional balance off very quickly.

I am thinking and writing about these things because I have been assessing my own habits in light changes in my own life. I want to be stronger, more active, continue to learn, grow, and serve. I am finding what works for me and I am inviting you to sit with these ideas now and then and see if you can discern your own needs in ways that create more balance, energy, happiness, and joy for you.

Blessings of Love and Light💫💖🙏

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Mental Balance

A balanced mind abides in the present moment.

To abide means to remain, continue, stay, dwell, reside.  The mind only knows now, this present moment.  There is no past or future.  Have I presented another paradox?  If the mind knows only the now then what is going on when I spend an entire day dwelling on past mistakes, losses or disappointments?  What is going on when I spend an entire night in fear and anxiety over future possibilities?  I am bringing the past and/or the future into the present moment and my mind will respond accordingly as will my body and my emotions.

When I abide in the past, whether the memories are filled with joy or trauma, my mind interprets it as happening in the present.  And if I abide in the future, whether I look forward with joyful anticipation or anxiety-filled dread, my mind thinks it is happening right now.  Aside from the physical and emotional responses that are triggered, I am totally oblivious to and missing out on the present moment.

Yes, there are times when the future or the past are appropriately part of the present.  When families get together and share laughter and joy while reminiscing, that is their present moment.  When a young family prepares for the birth of a child months ahead of its arrival, that is their present moment.  These experiences come and go and the attention returns to the beauty of the sky, paying bills on time, or preparing a meal that will be shared lovingly with the family.

The key is developing the ability to abide in the moment.  I come back to each person finding what works for them, what keeps them in the here and now.  For me, when I walk, my intention is to see, hear and enjoy my world.  I watch the sky, listen to the birds, say hi to neighbors and pet their dogs. I breathe the air and allow gratitude for my life, even when at present it is filled with challenges.

Years ago, Thich Nhat Hanh, suggested on one of his tapes to walk very slowly to the phone when it rings.  As you walk, ask yourself if you can be fully present with the person calling.  If you cannot stop what you are doing and be only with that person, do not answer the phone.  Call them later.  (Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese monk living in exile.  The primary focus of his loving, compassionate teaching is mindfulness.)

The way to begin is to become aware of your own mental patterns.  It is important to embrace this awareness without judgement.  Awareness allows me to accept what I have been doing to avoid the present moment.  Once I accept that I have created these patterns, I can forgive myself if necessary and begin to create new patterns of mental behavior.

For many people, this process is enhanced through counseling with a professional therapist.  I am in this group.  There have been a number of times in my life when therapy was essential to finding and maintaining a healthy mental state of being.  Others need medication in addition because they live with a chemical imbalance of some type that must be treated in order for them to be able to experience healthy thought patterns.  Remember, the physical directly impacts the mental and vice versa.

May you learn to abide in the moment as you discover the balance of body, mind and emotions that allows you to do so.  Peace, tranquility and contentment will follow and also abide with you.

 

Physical Balance

In my last post I wrote generally about balance of body, mind, and emotions.  This time I want to focus on creating physical balance. In hatha yoga, we begin with the physical body because it is the part of ourselves that we can see, touch, use, feel, experience. Keep in mind that any benefit gained in one are (physical, mental, or emotional) produces greater well-being in all.

Beginning with the physical is wise as well as practical.  Calming the mind or emotions, for example, can be impossible if the body chemistry is out of wack. For example, I was in my late twenties when the medical world came up with the  concept of PMS (premenstrual syndrome).  It was a significant breakthrough for women because with identification comes information on how to create balance within the experience.

I read everything I could get my hands on, which actually wasn’t much.  This was pre-internet so magazine, books, talk shows were the best source for current information.  I began paying attention and realized that excessive caffeine, sugar, salt, and a lack of exercise and rest intensified my mental and emotional ups and downs for a week before menses onset as well as the week during as well. That is half of every month!!  As I learned to limit the intake of these foods while walking more (and eventually joining the new rage of jogging), mood swings lessened significantly. I slept better, thought more clearly and joyfully experienced a lessening of the intensity of cramping and headaches.  Life was oh-so-much better!

This experience opened my mind to the idea of the interaction of body, mind, and emotions.  Over the years I have discovered what best keeps me in balance.  I am now post-menopausal so that is no longer an issue.  Now there are other physical issues, like keeping a healthy blood sugar balance because I have a tendency toward hypoglycemia, monitoring blood pressure, cholesterol levels, etc.

Do I have a formula to offer you?  Nope.

I do have a few suggestions.

Pay attention to:  your physical energy levels with relationship to different types of food,  how you digest different foods.  For example, I noticed in my late thirties that raw onions were no longer something I could digest well.  If you aren’t sure how to evaluate your diet for your age, general condition, etc. perhaps your doctor can refer you to a reliable nutritionist.  It helped me immensely.

Ask yourself simple questions and look at the answers honestly and without judgement:  Do I eat regularly throughout the day so that my energy stays steady?  Am I willing to let go of things that undermine balance and health – like an overabundance of sodas or sweets?  Do I eat more fresh foods that processed foods?  Have I learned to read labels?  Do I get enough rest or am I regularly running myself into the ground?  Have I found a form of exercise that suits my lifestyle and current physical condition?  Do I make time for that a sufficient number of times each week?  Am I willing to try something that is out of my comfort zone, like yoga, meditation, or tai chi?

Talk to people who stay fit, laugh a lot and enjoy their lives.  Never hesitate to ask for guidance or help with creating a balanced, healthy life.

Keep on keepin’ on until new behaviors become part of your normal routine.  You deserve to feel good and enjoy life.

Try stuff.  If something isn’t a fit for you, try something else.  There is no one way that works for everyone.  You get to choose but choose you must.

Above all, find what works for you.

7 Days, 7 Cosmic Laws, 7 Mantras

The following list is directly taken from a handout I received last Fall when I attended Seduction of Spirit at The Chopra Center in Carlsbad, California. All of this is explored in more detail in Deepak Chopra’s book titled The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, published in 1994. It speaks to success in every area of life. Note: “cosmic law” refers to the universe operating in alignment with the Divine purposes in creation.

Sunday: Law of Pure Potentiality.    Mantra: Om Bhavam Namah (I am absolute existence.)

Monday: Law of Giving and Receiving.    Mantra: Om Vardhanam Namah (I am the nourisher of the universe and the universe nourishes me.

Tuesday: Law of Karma or Cause and Effect.    Mantra: Om Kriyam Namah (My actions are aligned with cosmic law.)

Wednesday: Law of Least Effort.     Mantra: Om Daksham Namah (My actions achieve maximum benefit with minimal effort.)

Thursday: Law of Intention and Desire.    Mantra: Om Ritam Namah (My intentions and desires are supported by cosmic law.)

Friday: Law of Detachment.    Mantra: Om Anandham Namah (My actions are blissfully free from attachment to outcome.

Saturday: Law of Dharma or Purpose in Life.    Mantra: Om Varunam Namah (My life is in harmony with cosmic law.)

Train Rather Than Control

Gautama the Buddha, in the opening of his work titled The Dhammapada, states

Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think.

In this work, the Buddha sets forth a path to joy in simple, succinct verses. So many of our challenges in this human experience stem from how we think about experiences and people. The conditioned mind can make it difficult to discern and embrace the Truth of Who We Are.

In the section of The Dhammapada titled “Thought,” the Buddha says

Hard it is to train the mind, which goes where it wants and does what it wants. But a trained mind brings health and happiness. The wise can direct their thoughts, subtle and elusive, wherever they choose: a trained mind brings health and happiness. (Translated by Eknath Easwaran)

As you probably know, trying to control the mind, the thoughts is fruitless. What works is learning to train the mind to dwell on those things that lift the heart…in the present moment. Everything before now is gone, the past is a memory. Everything to come is unknown. This moment is known. Please seek your well-being moment by moment, breath by breath, thought by thought.

The most powerful tool for training the mind into the moment, and eventually into thought-less moments, is meditation. Simple, clear, gentle times of meditation that lead you into the stillness within where your Soul awaits your awareness.

Blessings dear hearts. AUM SHANTI

 

Affirmation For Healing

This affirmation came to my mind and heart during a time when I was just beginning to grasp the depth of communion or oneness that the Divine brings to my Soul. I often repeat it silently as I fall asleep or when taking a walk. May it be a blessing for you as well. (Because “God” is indefinable, “All That Is” is one of the ways Native American names for God is translated.)

 

In the Oneness of All That Is

I Am Whole

In the Wholeness of All That Is

I Am One

 

You are Love and Light in form. May you be blessed and a blessing as this day unfolds.

72 Years

I was born into this body 72 years ago today…and so today I begin my 73rd year of this lifetime. It has been quite the ride so far and I am grateful to still be here. I am blessed to live in a peaceful, sweet home of my choosing. This is no small thing for one raised in a military family; one who went on to raise her own children in a military family. Choosing where I live is a joy! I am blessed to have loving children and grandchildren. I am blessed.

And I am still growing up! Really? Yep. I thought I would be floating through life now. Silly human thinking. The difference is not a life always simple and easy. The difference is I know stuff now! I know what I create when I leave the moment or believe all of my thoughts are real and truthful. I know Who I Am and the Truth of my Soul. I know how to turn from old thoughts into the Truth of the moment. I know Peace, Love, Contentment when I do.

Blessings of Love and Light today, dear hearts. You bless me every time you read an entry and relate from your heart and soul. 💫💖