Everybody Loves Jargon

‘Balance’.

Ah. The familiar ring of jargon. You know… vague words associated with a specific topic.

‘Balance’ is one of the ‘personal development’ scene’s juiciest and most misunderstood terms.

It pops up everywhere from snappy philosophical artsy movies to good ‘ol Steve Pavlina to the latest issue of Men’s Health. It’s vague enough to inspire curiosity and has enough of an Eastern connotation to be hip and trendy.

But what the funk does it mean?

Off-Centred Ideas

First thing that comes to mind upon thinking of balance, for me at least, is a tight-rope walker.

…the kind that you get at the circus. An acrobat, who walks across a taunt, tightly stretched rope or wire suspended high above the ground… and in their hands is a long pole that they use to stay balanced, and alive.

Balance.

The confusion comes in because it seems like balance is a state of rest that you get to by carefully balancing the weight on either side or by holding the pole in the right way.

But here’s the problem: balance, in the personal-development sense, isn’t a steady or fixed thing.

People think that they can adjust aspects of their lives until they finally achieve perfect balance, a perfect fixed state of rest, steady and stable and perfect.

Thing is…

Life is way too crazy for that.

As soon as you manage to achieve “balance”, things change, as they tend to do, and allovasudden your balance gets thrown off by the flow of life.

…and if you’re lucky, you just mis-step and regain your footing, the crowd might gasp or maybe they won’t, and you set across to the other end of the tight-rope, as the committed acrobat you are. If you’re unlucky, you fall.

Harmony in Ideas: What is Balance?

Balance isn’t a steady state thing.

It isn’t a fixed thing at all; not a state of rest

Balance in life is a state of flow.

Things are always changing so the pursuit of balance as a fixed state of rest where everything is ‘perfect’ and stable just isn’t possible.

On a small scale, the body follows a circadian rhythm, a daily flow between left and right brain dominance. Ever tried to do something logical and mathematical only to find yourself drawing smiley faces on the page and doodling? Probably because the creative part of your brain was more active at that time of the day.

On a larger scale, well, I’m sure you know all about it. Things are always changing. And the more you try to pursue this illusionary idea of balance as an obtainable fixed state, the more you’ll find yourself frustrated and resisting the flow of life.

‘Harmony’ seems like a better term.

The notion of balance in and of itself – the idea of being in sync with life – is great. That’s the essence of balance in the Buddhist sense of the word. Total acceptance of what is. Yielding to the flow of life. Allowing yourself to flow with the river of life instead of resisting the flow; or the more common alternative, swimming upstream.

Instead of focusing on finding balance, focus on where you’re at right now and be there.

Instead of pursuing a mind-made notion of a state of balance where everything is perfect and you can ignore the changing nature of life, rather become aware of life and change with it, constantly sinking and moving with it, harmonising.

The balancing point is constantly shifting so shift with it, become it.

Continuous Balance and Harmony

Look within and notice where you’re at in all aspects of your life. Feel what you need instead of working on a mental construct of this idea of balance, this steady state of unachievable “perfection”. Listen to the body rather than trying to maintain a textbook diet. Go within and feel what your body needs, what you should be doing rather than trying to follow some vague idea of balance.

And things will change. So you change with them.

The balance you’re looking for is available every moment if you simply look within to where you are at right now… because right now is different to ten minutes from now.

Look within and tap into the harmony of life, yielding and moving with whatever happens, as it happens.

Shifting and regaining balance from moment to moment as life happens and flows.

Balance isn’t a fixed thing, it’s a state of flow.

Either you struggle to stay balanced on the continuously moving tight-rope of life, or you move with the tight-rope, with the flow of life. Yielding and adapting, living from moment to moment, tapping into the flow and harmony of life.

Struggle or harmony.

Endless pursuit or moment-to-moment real-time balance bliss.

You decide.

Unleash Reality
Alex

50 Comments

  1. “Look within and notice where you’re at in all aspects of your life. ”
    Yes, If I am to dig deeper..
    * figure out what really matters to you in life
    * Drop unnecessary activities
    works the best for me.

    “Balance isn’t a fixed thing, it’s a state of flow.” Very true..

    • Hey Shamelle!!

      just be careful not to turn “what really matters to you” into an idea more than a tangible source of action and tangible improvement to your life. easy trap to fall into.

      Good to see you back!

      keep well and in touch
      alex

  2. Jen

    Hey. Great post – yes, the strive for balance, something I’m always working on but as you say Life is crazy and it is about adapting and going with the flow. And finding what your own balance is…it’s different for everyone isn’t it? Thanks Alex!

    • Hey Jen!

      Yip. life is crazy. we def play a part in that. crazy creatures us humans :P

      everyone is different. and every moment is different for everyone, from moment to moment. that’s mah point. so rather than trying to achieve a specific kind of balance, adapt to wherever you’re at, and whoever you are at this moment :)

      keep well jen deluxe :)
      alex

  3. I agree with you here, balance is not about staying still and calm and perfect. Like you said, it`s impossible and life`s too crazy for that to happen. Besides, that would be totally boring! I gotta have the ups and downs, the in-betweens, it`s all part of this spicy life. Gotta shake it up! HEY, has it ever happened to you that when you see a super balanced, complicated thing, like human pyramid or a lego castle, you just wanna smash it and make a mess? Well I love doing that :D *evil grin*

    • Haha hey rosa :)

      you’re so adorably honest and real. love it!! :D …like, you’d probably be the best girl to hang out with. super happy and funny :P

      i think it’s people like us that make life so crazy. just maybe :)

      haha that’s so mean. you’re that evil girl that goes around breaking kids’ big balancing constructions and sand castles!?! haha. but yip. def something gratifying about it. why else would we play Jenga or build sand castles?! :)

    • Rosa… you are not allowed to play in my son’s LEGO room. ;)

      • Ohhh why?? I’ll behave, promise :)
        Btw, I was thinking about you while reading this, since you’ve helped ME find some balance in my life.

  4. Great post Alex. I definitely think the moment to moment real bliss is the way to go. It’s easier said than done, but I think that by getting a start at a young age, you’re ahead of the curve.

    • Ahoy Srini surfer badass

      moment to moment real time bliss = best evar

      i’m with you about “easier said than done” but that’s more an excuse than an actuality. you can make it as difficult as you like.

      one of my favourite responses lately is “if you say so…”

      easier said than done? “if you say so” ;)

      keep well bra
      alex

  5. I feel the same way about balance.

    Great Post Alex, as always.

    • Ahoys!!

      glad you agree. means a lot coming from the VTA supreme leader :)

      still waiting for the book btw :D

      thanks for the kind words. as always :P

      keep well bra
      alex

  6. Great topic and so perfect for me today! I was just talking with my therapist about finding a balance in relation to control and I think this post is a great follow-up to my discussion with her. Thanks!

    • Hey Dani!! :)

      So glad it came at the right time. wasn’t planning on writing about this, had something else lined up but just felt like it after a discussion with a great friend of mine over the weekend. maybe decided to write it just for you.

      the cosmos can be comical ;)

      keep well dani dearest
      alex

  7. You know, Alex… I happen to think “balance” is actually the perfect word. If you’ve ever done a yoga class (or tried to walk a tight rope) you know that balance is not a final state, it is a constant work in progress.

    The goal in yoga (or life) is to get to a point where you recognize the moments when you need to make minor adjustments to stay balanced, and then take the appropriate action. Not too much, or too little, and only when completely necessary.

    Finding balance is a perpetual Quest, but according to Aristotle and Buddha, it is when we find that “Golden Mean” or “Middle Way” that we can experience happiness… and continue working on it.

    • Hey Lisis!!

      Know what you mean about yoga / tight rope walking. My mom is a yoga teacher so done my fair share of yoga ;) …i guess it’s just the image that comes to mind for me for balance is a steady thing. the process of getting there can be wobbly but the state of balance is well… balanced and still :P

      just words. not a big deal. balance can def work, i guess it’s just about what you’ve got associated with the words.

      def with you about the golden mean / middle way. that’s what i was getting at more than language semantics :)

      keep well lisis dearest :)
      alex

  8. Nice Alex, I like this one :) Great writing technique at the end there – hypnotic almost.

    Lisis above me makes a good point. Lisis, if you’re reading this, I’d say that I think a better word for the experience you describe is integrity. You can ride on a rollercoast and worry and try to control the ride (which is like trying to balance), or you can sit back and enjoy the flow with integrity and posture (which isn’t an active struggle). See Alex I’ve got your back, haha.
    Another interesting analogy to go with yoga is martial arts. In certain styles of fighting you’re moving forward by using the flow and rhythms of your opponents’ moves, in a passive way, to aid your own stability and offence. It’s very Zen. This post is like the purification of illusion by the clarity of a Zen master.

    Oh and by the way, you said “as you achieve manage to achieve”, lol.

    • Ahoy Gray B you gent you!!

      integrity, balance, harmony. all just words. stupid semantics :)

      but lisis def makes a good point :D

      so do you. integrity is staying centred methinks. also a great word.

      i like rhythm too.

      just words. ideas behind ‘em are more important.

      thanks for the typo spottage. again. just words ;)

      keep well bra
      alex

      p.s. pythoughts.com for life :) hustle the shoutouts yo :P

  9. Hey, Gray!

    I like where you’re going with the integrity thing, but I’m gonna stand my ground and stick with Balance. I don’t know if it’s yogi or daoist or slightly biplar tendencies in me… but my personal happiness is entirely dependent on being able to manage complete opposites, like the things I want to do vs. the things I have to do (or have to deal with).

    Plus, I’m a Libra Ox… and that means I’m stubborn, so I ain’t budging! ;)

  10. Oh, dear, dear, wise Alex. (But, you spell ‘Center” wrong. Oh, yeah. You’re not American.)

    Love the message… I went to listen to one of the guys in ‘The Secret” speak live last year… and he said this very thing. Balance is still… and that’s impossible to achieve. Harmony is where it’s at.

    I just finished listening to an audio series by Dr. Wayne Dyer on balance… not sure of the name of it, but I’ll send you a copy if you want. It was AMAZING… it’s a 6 cd series, recorded from a live speaking engagement he did. It’s amazing… I listened to it two times back to back.

    Thanks for the good stuff. Keep it coming.

    • Hey Karen Dearest :)

      i speak english. you know… real english. it’s clever :D oh no, you don’t speak english :P

      secret speech sounds really cool. one of my favourite people evar is “Hale Dwoskin” of the Sedona Method. He’s featured in the secret. youtube him just to hear him laugh, let along the indescribable value of the content :)

      never got into wayne dyer. friend of mine has a wayne dyer shrine with incense and photos and candles and things – really into him but seems a lil self-helpy to me. will check it out based on your recommendation.

      drop me an email about swopping some goodies: alex@unleashreality.com :D

      keep well karen dearest
      alex

  11. Great article Alex, I think of balance as the way to achieving mind like water. As you and other said, balance is dinamyc and can’t easily be planned.

    • Ahoy Oscar!

      haha mind like water.

      yezzir.

      balance is def dynamic. def can’t be planned. as soon as you try to plan it, things change and your plan is broken :)

      keep well bra… and thanks for the interview.
      alex

  12. :)
    Great post man!

    Life is about balance, too much of anything is not a good thing.

    Achieving that balance and maintaining it is the hardest part, actually it’s not possible to maintain a constant balance.

    Just like when you throw an object in the air, it is either moving up or coming back down to earth, but for that one split second moment in time, where gravity’s pull and the force of your throw balance each other out, the object is perfectly balanced in mid-air. After that, things change again.

    See ya thursday! :)

    • DIGGY you legend!!

      haha. well. too much of most things is bad. aghem chevelle glory aghem :P

      yip. impossible to maintain a constant balance. that’s my point. it’s impossible because things are always changing.

      harmony and flow is possible though. that’s true balance.

      really like the throw in the air analogy. haha. wasn’t expecting it. really prohetic and deep. would def use it if i wrote the post again :) lol. was expecting usual comment randomness.

      awwwsome surprise. thanks bra :)

      thurs gonna be crazy ownage. again. :D

  13. I liked the way you said it “balance in life is a state of flow”. People usually think it to be a state of stability in the sense that it is passive, that it never moves at all. Balance is indeed a part of life, and life is never passive. It is continuously moving and leaned towards growth. Whenever “imbalance” happens, growth is stalled. When there is balance, life abounds perfectly :-)

    • Glad it resonated :)

      yip. that’s what i was trying to get at. you put it really well – i tend to overcomplicate things like that :P

      balance in life is never passive. well put. passive works really well to describe the lack of stability :D

      thank you for your comment. really added to the convo and made me smile. which is awwwsome :)

      keep well and in touch!
      alex

  14. Balance and harmony go hand in hand for me. I can’t be out of balance and find harmony at the same time. If I don’t bring then into now and now into tomorrow I’m both balanced and in harmony. Great post.

    • Hey Tess!!

      Yeah. I think balance and harmony are the same thing to me; i just have certain connotations of ‘balance’ being a fixed thing wheras harmony is a flow of ease and constant shifting balance isntead of a steady state of rest.

      again, they’re just words :) mean different things to different people…

      but def agree that can’t find balance and harmony at the same time :)

      thanks for your comment tess, cool to see you ’round these parts :)

      keep well and in touch
      alex

  15. Alex,

    It seems like I get on my balance soapbox a couple of times a month. This is a great post that I’m going to refer to again and again.

    Also, I love your site design – one of the most unique set ups I’ve seen.

    This is me subscribing so I don’t miss a thing!

    Cheers

    George

    • Hey Tumblemoooose :P

      ah. the trusty soapbox :)

      glad you enjoyed it and will use it in the future.

      glad you like the design too :) made it to learn how to make it – to learn css and html – and i wanted something fresh… so glad it has that impression!

      you’ll enjoy what’s coming next. stay subscribed ;)

      keep well man
      alex

  16. Alex, I totally agree with your point. I think some of the commentators here are getting caught up in words. Who cares about the words one uses, the point is well taken.

    Having said that I love your way with words, except when you comment on your friends’ articles because I don’t understand what the hell you are talking about. That’s when you must switch to the under 25 language. My daughter is 24, I guess I can get her to translate. :-)

    “Either you struggle to stay balanced on the continuously moving tight-rope of life, or you move with the tight-rope, with the flow of life. Yielding and adapting, living from moment to moment, tapping into the flow and harmony of life.”

    If I knew the right lingo I would use it. But since I don’t I’ll go with something simple. Amen! :-)

    • Hey Stephen!!

      glad the point resonated and managed to hop over everyone’s language hangups (mine included :P )

      it’s inside lingo :) kinda like gang-slang is used to stop the cops from picking up on what’s going on… haha, well, okay. nothing that james bond. we just have our own language because it makes us excited. it makes me excited about life. it makes everything cooler :)

      it’s not under 25 language, it’s cool language :P

      you don’t have to use big words just because you’re old(er) :D people think that the older they get, the more rigid and pompous they must be. load of sheyeeet.

      no such thing as the ‘right lingo’. it’s right if you like it. if it makes you feel good. sure, understandable helps but duddn’t have to be :)

      keep well stephen. and in touch.
      alex

      thanks for the tweet btw. caught on like hot new trend. 8 RTs!! :)

  17. As usual, Alex, I love your writing. Who else throws juiciest and misunderstood in the same sentence about something other than a celebrity AND in such a way that my interest is peaked to keep reading? :-)

    This is a great post to remind us that balance is better used as a verb and not a noun. As Lisis put it so well, “…recognize the moments when you need to make minor adjustments…and then take the appropriate action. Not too much, or too little, and only when completely necessary.”

    I know a true definition of balance is the moment when all is working together and nothing is moving. However, I think of balance as the small adjustments I make to keep the scales from leaning too far. In fact, I like the small seesaw motion I feel as I am balancing the opposites and much prefer that to a fear of moving anyway whatsoever, as it will upset that perfect balance.

    And, even though I stress moving forward at TCOYou.com, I do understand the importance of looking back and appreciating our past now & again. We can’t change the past and we don’t have control over the future, so, doing so keeps the scale more evenly balanced and we can appreciate the moment for the present that it is.

    • Hey Suzanne!!

      always love reading your comments. so deep and honest and… uncensored :) always make me smile a big crazy person type smile.

      really like the way you put it. verb instead of a noun. such a great way of putting it.

      lisis is the bowss. and yeah, really liked the way she put it too :)

      def think it’s about seesaw motion. another nice way of putting it :D i like the seesaw motion too.

      thanks for stopping by. check back soon :)
      keep well suzanne
      alex

  18. Interesting, Alex… I interpret your article as about being in harmony or congruent with self. To me, balance is related to how I see things.

    For example, in blogging, on one extreme is the view that you need to very interesting and run the risk of forgetting to care about your readers, and on the other extreme is the view that you need to be interested and forgot to blog about yourself.

    Balance is avoiding both extremes and staying in the middle path.

    But I really like how you put this article together. Harmony with self, as I would put it, is something that I try to achieve.

    Thanks for the article!

    • Hey Charles!!

      self-congruence is def a part of it. thanks for pointing it out and reminding me that such terms exist (used to use words like ‘congruent’ all the time :P )

      Really like the way you put that. that balance is related to how you see things. such a great way of thinking about it. kind of like a see-saw (inspired by suzanne’s comment above :D ) where you’re constantly running backwards and forwards but where the balance is determined by the direction of gravity. if that makes any sense at all :P

      glad you enjoyed!!

      keep well and thanks for stopping by Charles!!
      alex

  19. I re-read this after I asked you what it meant.So upon reading it I had a better understanding.

    I really like this post. I like the idea of flowing through life NOW instead of wanting perfection later.Everything is always changing but right now is always the same and constant. If you can tap into the NOW I think good things will come naturally. I think real balance comes down to integrity and following your passions or what excites you. Because you naturally are in alignment with your core beingingness. Check this video out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OB-NLlwzfOM , may shed some light on that last idea I mentioned. And I think it def pertains to balance in one way or another..

    c u soon bro,

    super amped for the posters, btw, I absolutely feel we can improve lives ;)

    much love

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