BALANCED LIFE: –
A balanced and skillful approach to life, taking care to avoid extremes becomes a very important factor in conducting one’s everyday existence. It is important in all aspects of life. For instance, in planting a sapling of a plant or tree, at its very early stage you have to be very skillful and gentle. Too much moisture will destroy it, too much sunlight will destroy it, too little will also destroy it. So what you need is a very balanced environment where the sapling can have a healthy growth. Or for a person’s physical health, too much or too little of any one thing can have destructive effects. For example, too much protein is bad and too little is bad. This gentle and skillful approach, taking care to avoid extremes, applies to healthy mental and emotional growth as well. For instance if we find ourselves becoming arrogant, being puffed up by self importance based on one’s supposed or actual achievements or qualities, then the antidote is to think more about one’s own problems and suffering, contemplating the unsatisfactory aspects of existence. This will assist you in bringing down the level of your heightened state of mind, bringing you more down to earth. And on the contrary if you find that reflecting on the unsatisfactory nature of existence, suffering and pain and so forth, makes you feel like overwhelmed by the whole thing, then again there is a danger of going to the other extreme. In that case you might become totally discouraged, helpless and depressed, thinking that “Oh, I can not do anything, I am worthless etc. So under such circumstances, it is important to be able to uplift your mind by reflecting on your achievements, the progress you have made so far, and your other positive qualities, so that you can uplift your mind and get out of that discouraged or demoralized state of mind. So what is required here is a kind of very balanced and skillful approach.
Materialistic Balance: –
One needs to understand the source or basis of extreme behavior. Consider the pursuit of material goods – shelter, clothing, food etc. On one hand poverty can be seen as sort of extreme and we have every right to strive to overcome this and assure our physical comfort. On the other hand, too much luxury, pursuing excessive wealth is another extreme. Our ultimate aim in seeking more wealth is a sense of satisfaction, of happiness. But the very basis of seeking more is a feeling of not having enough, a feeling of discontentment. That feeling of discontentment, of wanting more and more and more, does not arise from the inherent desirability of the objects we are seeking but rather from our mental state.
Spiritual balance: –
Not only the balanced life approach is helpful for one’s physical and emotional health, but it applies to spiritual growth as well. For spiritual balance there are many different techniques and practices. But it is very important to be very skillful in one’s application of various techniques and not to be too extreme. One needs a balanced and skillful approach here too. It is important to have a coordinated approach, combining studying and learning with the practices of contemplation and meditation. This is important that there will not be any imbalances between academic or intellectual learning and practical implementation.