On Balance and Extremes: Embracing Life

“Between the banks of pleasure and pain flows the river of life.  If you spend too much time on either bank you will miss out on life.”
~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

We’re all familiar with the swinging pendulum of life, especially in our busy world. There are good times and bad times. Winter and summer.  Sadness and happiness. Seasons of great joy, seasons of painful loss. 

Life moves constantly between these pendulum swings. A twentieth-century Indian teacher says that to learn to move between the ups and downs of life is to learn balance. To learn balance takes practice. It takes reflection. And that takes time.

It is in quiet moments that we make space to sit still and listen to ourselves. What does it mean for us to embrace both the highs and lows of life? How do we find an inner balance when the outer world swings first one way and then the other?  

The key, I believe, to creating balance is to create downtime, time just for yourself. Making—and protecting—quality time with yourself is a powerful tool for honoring the extremes of life and for finding balance in the midst of those extremes. 

The more stress we experience, the more we need our downtime. And, while the extremes of the pendulum will always come and go, we don’t have to live in them permanently.

Regardless of where you are on that swinging pendulum at this moment, remember the larger truth:  you are the river of life. Focus on where you are right now, take time to be still, discover what you most desire—and let the rest flow.