Think about any situation as having a "financial" cost assigned to it. It doesn't matter if it's food we eat, a relationship we engage in, or an interaction on a global scale. Each thing we do either "withdraws" or "deposits" into our larger bank account. Balance isn't about never cutting down a tree or convincing everyone that they need to become a vegetarian, give up their car, and take up meditation. The concept of balance is one of never being "overdrawn" in a larger sense of our existence.
|"Balance" - photographed October 31, 2007|
Balance isn't about not eating cheesecake; it's about not eating cheesecake at every meal and going for regular walks. It's not about skipping the sale at your favorite department store, but about making sure those purchases are within your budget. Trees can be cut down and forests cleared for other uses; the concept of balance simply reminds us that there's a cost involved and one that we'll need to pay. It's not a threat, but simply a bank account that we benefit from seeing a surplus in instead of driving it into the red.
What's more is that for the concept of balance to work, we have to embrace our individuality. Perhaps playing Xbox for an hour is a way for one person to unwind and it makes a deposit into their personal funds; perhaps another person finds it a waste of time and for them the stress associated with that activity is a withdrawal from their account. When we allow ourselves the freedom to embrace our own individuality, a lot of the criticism and judgment we direct at other people simply falls away. We begin to see the person instead of the event they're engaging in and relate to the human need even when we don't understand its expression. When someone is exploiting a situation for their own gain, that also becomes tremendously clear to us.
When people say, "Oh, you're a shaman," there's a certain "woo-woo" tone to their voice. If I mention, I'm a traditionally trained shaman, they stop and wonder what that distinction infers. Ironically, the vast majority of the path is incredibly practical. After all, in a tribal setting, a shaman was often looked to for guidance and to help navigate families to safety and prosperity. Like much of what we encounter in our life, a shaman's approach to finding the path to follow isn't about divination or relying on mystical techniques, but is found when we slow down, think, and consider the implications of our actions and the cost or benefit those actions will have in the bigger scheme of our world.
I'm participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Sunday is a day off in the challenge. Monday: the letter C.