The existence of 2 opposites is essential in all areas of life, for example night and day, hot and cold, inbreath and outbreath; it goes without saying that the one would not exist without the other. For example, we would not label ourselves as feeling ‘hot’ if there were no such feeling as ‘cold’ to compare this to. Daytime would not exist if we did not have nightfall to point out when the ‘day’ ended. The opposites are what balance each other out and allow the world to run in harmony. Our lives should be looked at in this way- we need to experience opposites to exist in harmony and just enjoy life!
If you work hard for 12 hours a day, and take no rests, you will burn out. It is vital to have the balance of rest and enjoyment to ensure that you can continue to be productive at work. If you spend your whole life working and have no social life, yes you may be successful, but would the lack of human interaction and relationships really be worth it? On the opposite end of the spectrum, you might spend a lot of time socialising at the expense of your career or business. For most people, this is probably glaringly obvious in theory, but the actual knowledge and appreciation of the importance of balance is what I believe is essential. Understanding the importance means that we spend less time beating ourselves up for chilling out on the sofa watching TV instead of spending all day working, or taking some time off exercise to pig out and drink beer with our friends. At the end of the day, if you don’t have these breaks to rest from a life ‘on the go’, you’re ultimately going to burn out. It is sometimes hard in today’s society, where we’re made to believe that business is the answer to success, to allow yourself to take time off to rest and recuperate; but believe me- it is necessary. Taking time to rest and reflect, through meditation or other reflective exercises is just as, if not more important to a successful life than rushing around to get everything done. We certainly need the two to work in harmony to be successful and also enjoy life.
But balance should not just be considered important in our daily routine, it is something we should strive to develop intrinsically inside of ourselves. One of the most important lessons I have learned from practicing meditation is that we should accept our own internal opposites and in doing so help ourselves to create our own inner balance. What I mean by ‘internal opposites’ is our ability to feel angry, sad, upset, anxious or stressed and other negative emotions and by the same token, know that we also have the ability to feel huge joy, happiness, calmness, motivation and other positive emotions. Our emotional set point can be looked at like a pendulum, external factors will almost always cause our emotions to swing from side to side, positive to negative and back again, but if we didn’t have the negative side to counter-act the positive, we would not ultimately reach the point of equilibrium in the middle. And the equilibrium in the middle is that of calmness, peace and happiness in ourselves. Practicing meditation each day, and simply sitting with yourself to ‘just be’ helps you to settle yourself at this equilibrium point, all the while knowing that as you go about your daily life, you will experience the extreme highs and the extreme lows, but this set point of calmness and peace in the middle can always be found inside of yourself.
So for the next few days, consider finding your equilibrium, the place where you feel balanced and at ease. Once you’re aware of this point and you know how easily reachable it is (through meditation), the easier it is to overcome those negative emotions, and avoid beating yourself up when they do arrive…