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Day 141: Seeking Balance

“Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.” -Carl Gustav Jung

Today positivity means balance. The Buddhist teachings on equanimity are the texts I study, and today I realize that I need to double my efforts. The height of equanimity is not distance from worldly events as some people misinterpret. It is the ability to stand strong in the midst of the winds and storms of all that happens to and around us in the world. Riding the roller coaster of success has already shown me glimpses of the “eight worldly winds”: praise and blame, success and failure, pleasure and pain, fame and disrepute. I need to find a strong middle in myself, so that I can watch with patience and be able to accept the wins and losses as they will come.

The Buddhist teachings point to seven qualities of mind and heart, which anchor you to balance and pave the way for equanimity. The first is living with integrity, which allows you to be in the world blamelessly. The second is developing your relationship to faith, which is mindful. Trusting your own relationship to your spiritual practice gives you ground to believe in what you cannot see and confidence that you can access your connection, even in the most difficult times.

The third quality of mindfulness that are cultivated through deliberate practices, which engender calm and focused thinking. The gift of being able to choose our thoughts is a game changer in difficult times. The practice of equanimity is based in training in wellbeing. Applying thoughtful choices to what you consume, how you rest and exercise the body are foundations that make balance possible. Equally important is the will to cultivate wisdom, which allows you to separate people’s actions from who they are. This allows us to nurture our relationships to others as well as ourselves. This form of balance is the foundation of learning to love.

The sixth quality of creating balance is appreciating and learning to accept the impermanence of life. Just as we learn to accept our relationships with the positive and negative aspects they carry side by side, we can accept the letting go that is the heart of life. The more gracefully we learn to let go, the less we struggle to find balance. It is the work of a lifetime. Today it is the only work that makes sense.