Balance or Harmony?
I have heard others say and I have said “I would like balance in my life.”
Is this what I am really looking for?
Balance has a connotation of two or more sides (pieces) in a condition.
Definition of balance
1 a : physical equilibrium
b : the ability to retain one’s balance
2 a : stability produced by even distribution of weight on each side of the vertical axis
b : equipoise between contrasting, opposing, or interacting elements
c : accounting : equality between the totals of the two sides of an account
3 a : an aesthetically pleasing integration of elements
b : grammar : the juxtaposition in writing of syntactically parallel constructions containing similar or contrasting ideas (such as “to err is human; to forgive, divine”)
4 a : accounting : an amount in excess especially on the credit side of an account
b : weight or force of one side in excess of another
c : something left over : remainder
5 : mental and emotional steadiness
6 : an instrument for weighing: such as
a : a beam that is supported freely in the center and has two pans of equal weight suspended from its ends
b : a device that uses the elasticity of a spiral spring for measuring weight or force
7 : a means of judging or deciding the balance of a free election
8 : a counterbalancing weight, force, or influence
9 : an oscillating wheel operating with a hairspring to regulate the movement of a timepiece a watch’s balance
In tightrope walking balance is achieved by position of the arms or a pole held by the arms.
In science balance has to do with equalizing opposing forces.
In Buddhism they talk about mental and emotional steadiness which is the result of a negative state of mind counterbalanced with its antidote.
In my own life I have thought of balance in terms of how many things can I manage to do while still staying healthy; mentally and physically. There is a dividing of my attention that I have run across with balancing multiple things at the same time that concerns me.
In a previous blog post I have written about the maximum amount of items we can store in our conscious mind, in what’s called our working memory, and a new study puts the limit at three or four.
Flow: No Emotion; Total Absorption
According to positive psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, there is a state known as Flow, a state of complete immersion in an activity.
He describes the mental state of flow as “being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.”
Concentrate your attention on only one thing in your working memory; get fully absorbed in that one thing outside of yourself and larger than yourself.
Instead of trying to balance several things at one time; I take the things I really want to do one-at-a-time. I cannot enter the state of flow while trying to multi-task.
So I have decided in my life to try to harmonize with the things I really want to do one-at-a-time.
Harmony has a connotation of unity.
Definition of harmony
- agreement; accord; harmonious relations.
- a consistent, orderly, or pleasing arrangement of parts; congruity.
- any simultaneous combination of tones.
- the simultaneous combination of tones, especially when blended into chords pleasing to the ear; chordal structure, as distinguished from melody and rhythm.
- the science of the structure, relations, and practical combination of chords.
- an arrangement of the contents of the Gospels, either of all four or of the first three, designed to show their parallelism, mutual relations, and differences.
Harmony is performing my part in a musical arrangement of parts and feeling at one with the arrangement.
Harmony is going for a walk with the intention of becoming one with the harmonious relations of all life and being drawn into a drama of life and death in the forest.
Usually we think of harmony in terms of pleasant activities; but it can also occur in unpleasant activities.
When my parents passed away within 18 days of each other I was called upon to enter the harmony of life and death in their funeral. I was the Master of Ceremonies at their joint Memorial Service, I gave the Eulogy for my father, and I sang the gospel song “Until Then” acapella at the end of the service to help send their spirits on to their next plane of existence.
Since then I have discovered that harmony has many useful purposes for helping heal negativity in my life. When I have a storm of negative emotions flood through my body I try to observe what is going on inside of me and observe the storm passing. Then at a later time I revisit the storm of negative emotions this time trying to harmonize; to be at one with the storm. I have found that every storm has an “Eye” at its center; a place of calm where I can find the causes and come to a settlement with it. A caution to all reading; this is not easy and it doesn’t get resolved in just one visit. The larger the storm the more visits are needed to reach a settlement with it.
My advice is to prioritize the activities of your life, pick the really important activities, and do them one-at-a-time; getting fully absorbed in that one activity only. Save the less important activities for multi-tasking.