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July 17, 2018

3/21/2018 4:50:00 PM
Room for a View: Balance
By Charles Wilkinson

In today’s world finding a sense of balance can be a full-time job. Wherever one looks something is off, out of kilter, just not right. Culturally, socially, politically, and religiously, turmoil holds sway and there is no end in sight. On all fronts and at all levels of life, the obscenities of terrorism, of social injustice, political self-interest, sexual misconduct, abuse, bigotry, and racism persist.

No wonder there exists a certain and constant tension that we attempt to tame by finding a sense of balance whenever and wherever we can. But while the world’s imbalances may have us feeling fearful and powerless, as individuals we can and need to pay attention to managing our own upsets and misgivings.

A sense of balance is at the heart of personal serenity. It is the feeling of pieces in place, of well-oiled and smoothly meshed gears and energy enough for effectively taking care of self and one’s values. It is maintaining relative control of one’s life. The feeling of personal balance is like an oasis in an unsettled, horizon-less world.

Establishing and maintaining one’s personal balance demands a delicate discipline. Three essential characteristics  – integrity, clarity and steadiness – make possible the feeling that all’s well, at least, within. Integrity affirms a sense of values to which one consistently adheres. It is neither rigid nor self-satisfied. Clarity ensures the quality of one’s focus, requires an open mind and the acceptance of possibilities. Steadiness, the hallmark of one’s resolve, defines character, inner strength and credibility, earning the respect of others.

Although a sense of personal balance cannot calm the world’s chaos it can become enabling and empower anyone to take care of their part of that world. Common sense and wisdom are corollaries of personal balance.  Like figure skaters and tightrope walkers we humans need to be constantly aware of our own equilibrium. Being off balance puts us at risk, always creating the need to adjust. While such turmoil comes with being human it helps us to appreciate the serenity we find in being in balance.

Finally, balance is a gift we give ourselves. Achieving it requires insight and effort, sensitivity to and acceptance of one’s vulnerability and a belief in the human spirit. Personal balance is an everyday challenge for everyone. But it is a gift that each of us can give to a world so desperately needing it, particularly the integrity, clarity, and steadiness it brings.

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