In Pursuit of Balance

Posted by Santiago Sifre on

Human beings are endowed with the eternal need to somehow achieve balance with everything. Maybe the reason that we have this "needs" is because at the same time we easily tend to fall out of balance. Or perhaps we pursue activities and practices that end up in disharmony, which is the same thing as being out of balance. Nothing can show us a better image of what balance looks like than the Yin-Yang symbol. In fact, this is a model of reality. Its most basic expression is that existence is a continual chaotic system of finding balance; and that is, and has always been, the pursuit of humans since we started walking on this planet. 

Today, we are yet again in one of those situations, fork on the road or intersection where it's clear that so many things are flat out wrong and out of balance in our society and our existence.  And there is no other way:  We either work towards rebalancing or we end in total chaos, possibly extinction. We all know, for example, that the level of inequality that has been rampant has taken us into a situation of major imbalance. So we need to figure out a way to cure this situation, in other words, to rebalance it. Otherwise, just as it's happened before to many societies through millennia, this condition of imbalance will ultimately end up undoing all of the great things we have created.

We all want to be happier, more fulfilled and content. It's in or DNA. In fact, it is our destiny to find meaning and purpose, because this is how we find balance. This is where the circle closes, and that is how, by finding balance we can be happier, more fulfilled and content. But we cannot do this alone, because as Thomas Merton said very well: "No man is an island." This is another condition of our imbalance and other human inequalities. 

The situation that has brought us to this present COVID-19 pandemic is clearly a state of imbalance. That is: the earth has also become out of balance. But the earth doesn't really need humans, humans need the earth. The earth is perfectly endowed with mechanisms, such as pandemics, in order to heal itself; even if it takes the destruction of all we are comfortable with. Discomfort is guaranteed if we are incapabe of working together. We can see it in the other conditions of health, cancers, heart disease... all kinds of degenerative conditions. There is nothing more telling about imbalance than what happens to so many thousands of humans every year. Why? When we come designed with all the DNA instructions necessary to live healthy long lives. Why? Why is this DNA instruction system gone awry for so many? Because of the forces of imbalance that have taken hold of our species. Why? You can also see it in the unnecessary over-consumption of things we don't need as a way to maintain the economy and as a way of falsely giving us a sense of satisfaction that doesn't really exist. Simply put: it is greed. Isn't it something that our whole lives revolve around a piece of paper which we're not taking with us beyond this life; and ultimately, is unable to fulfill our most intricate human emotions: love, friendship and the satisfaction of caring for others? This is what really gives meaning and purpose to life. 

In the end, we have everything we need in order to solve the situation to bring us back to balance personally, in health, in economics, and in our relationships. But we have to really start acting like we are all in this together and that we understand the mess we have gotten ourselves into. 

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