Especially in our tough times, guest author Rob says, “the secret to a good life is: balance.” This week, Rob offered practical insights into the idea of balance, presenting four principles: quiet moments, branding our whole selves, compassion, and self-love. (Scroll down to read all of his 4 pieces.) His thoughts provoked a variety of responses from OurValues.org readers. Here are some of them, along with a few of my own.
Rob creates quiet moments by developing the regular habit of doing simple things: reading something spiritual, mediating, writing in a journal. Reading this, Deb realized that she already has a meditative space: “I exercise regularly and have the opportunity to meditate with my regular stretching and relaxation moves. What would it take to add a few brief journaling comments?” For Dee and for Kathy Macdonald, the simple act of mindfully walking their dogs provides opportunities for regular quiet moments.
On self-love, Martha Young says that she practices “the tenets of Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D. I look at my expressions of anger as having an underlying need attached to them and perhaps also feelings of sadness. I try to see the beauty of the unmet need, and work to find a way to get the need met without anger. It is a lifetime practice.”
Compassion isn’t taking on another’s suffering, Rob says, based on his years of experience as a clinical psychologist and executive coach. It is conveying to others that we really do understand what they are saying. The capacity for compassion, Rob suggests, can be developed by paying attention, fully and completely, to others. This idea reminds me of what another guest author, Christine Gloss, said on OurValues.org in her series that included the idea of “greeting the greeter.”
Allan Schnaiberg observes that our culture and institutions often discourage the expression of compassion. “True compassion,” says Allan, “seems to exist only in the cracks of our major institutions. I think I am drifting towards a Buddhist philosophy of life — where competition and accumulation of power/income is less the goal, and compassion is more so.”
Is it possible to have too much balance in our lives?
Would it dull the populist rage about our current crises?
“The Balanced Person is seldom where radical change comes from,” says Greg. “The revolutionaries of the world weren’t exactly balanced. As William Greider said on Bill Moyers on March 27th, it may be time to take to the streets with our pitch forks.” (Read Greider’s remarks here.)
As George Bernard Shaw said, “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
Do you we need more balance in our inner lives but more unbalance and unreasonableness in our responses to the crisis in which we live?
Thank you, Rob, for your stimulating contribution this week to our ongoing discussion of values!
Be sure to check out Rob’s web site and his latest book.
And let us know what you think of these ideas about balance – do they work for you? Is it possible to have too much balance?