Balance is challenging but essential. This is not just an abstract, new agey concept, but a very practical one. Without balance we topple, or at least we wobble.
From fighters to yogis, we must find our centers. This, for me anyway, is often easier said than done. Work vs. Family; Faith vs. Reason; Conservative vs. Progressive; Love vs. Hate; Left vs. Right; Self vs. Others. From my perspective, each of these equations should be balanced.
“But with some of those one side should win,” you say.
I hear you, so let me clear something up: Balance isn’t necessarily symmetry.
Put several light weights on one side of the scale, and one heavy weight on the other, and it won’t look balanced, but it may still be. Only the one bearing the weight can say when the balance is stricken.
Take the Self v. Others equation. This could mean several different specific things, but in general, the idea that others should always come first seems misleading. Even from an altruistic perspective (which I think is pretty much fictional) a person needs to take time for themselves in order to serve others best. Otherwise they wear themselves out and burn out. So this is an example of the balance not being symmetrical. Different people need different amounts on either side to achieve optimum performance, but too often one criticizes another for looking out of balance by their standard, when they can’t tell the actual weight on each side.
What about Love v. Hate? Love wins, right? But it’s not practical to love everything. Sometimes we have to choose: I don’t think you would look down on me if said I hate child abuse, for example. If you love child abuse, we have a problem. There are some things that people need to admit and agree that we hate. It seems to me that we get so caught up in being positive that we forget to recognize and eliminate the negative, thus allowing it to grow into the positive space.
Even in spiritual matters a balance is healthy. Take a look at the Psalms.
8 There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
nor are there any works like yours.
9 All the nations you have made shall come
and worship before you, O Lord,
and shall glorify your name.
10 For you are great and do wondrous things;
you alone are God.
11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
that I may walk in your truth;
unite my heart to fear your name.
12 I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
and I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your steadfast love toward me;
you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.
God is good, and I am thankful to Him for His blessings, but it’s healthy to admit and express when I am not thankful and don’t even feel His presence:
3 For my soul is full of troubles,
and my life draws near to Sheol.
4 I am counted among those who go down to the pit;
I am a man who has no strength,
5 like one set loose among the dead,
like the slain that lie in the grave,
like those whom you remember no more,
for they are cut off from your hand.
6 You have put me in the depths of the pit,
in the regions dark and deep.
7 Your wrath lies heavy upon me,
and you overwhelm me with all your waves.
From my position, to do otherwise would be dishonest. But again, what looks like balance from a distance may not be at all to the one bearing each weight.
A different form of balance is required in government. If there was only prosecution, and not defense, in a courtroom, the scales of justice would always fall to one side and fail to produce anything even similar to justice. The courtroom works like a clock:
If all the gears moved in the same direction, it would simply jam up and be useless, but because every other gear moves the opposite direction, the machine works. So I reject the idea that one gear is better than the other or that the second is more worthy of my criticism than the first.
I see the legislature likewise. If one party manages to take control of the whole of it, it will neither represent the whole people accurately nor thresh out the best policies, for lack of the threshing process. I believe our government was designed for debate and dissonance to drive us to the best laws, and a party that strives to have total control is either more interested in power than quality, or it fails to understand that population of all seats would just then create factions in the party, driven by the requirement of dissonance to find the best solutions. Or maybe both. That goal is ill-advised, regardless, in my humble opinion.
Balance is difficult but it’s worth practicing. Ever since I broke my right ankle, my physical balance is a little harder to find on that foot, but I’m working on it, and ever since I made some dietary changes and such, my mental balance is easier to find. Some days are easier, and some are practically intolerable.
It helps to step back a bit and see that something bigger than me sees to it that my days are balanced, so however crappy one is, another is likely to come along to shift the weight back. Not necessarily the quantity, but the quality. Not symmetry, Balance.