On Balance

From the beginning we are taught to keep our balance. A baby’s first step is based on maintaining balance.

Balance is a necessary component of everything we do — from our mundane activities to high-performance sports, from bicycling to climbing Mt. Everest — it all comes down to maintaining our balance.

We take special trainings; Qigong, Tai Chi, and the martial arts in general teaches us to become more balanced. Yoga teaches us to keep centered and maintain our balance. Ballet, skateboarding, it doesn’t matter what you do, you need to keep physically balanced.

But what about keeping mentally balanced? Emotionally balanced?

Just as a baby is taught physical balance with their first step, children are taught not to throw tantrums, not to overreact to the actions playmates, not to behave without thinking.

We learn to balance our lives, to balance our work with play, careers with family. We learn to balance our check books, to balance our diets, to balance time with our children.

And that’s where meditation and Zen training comes in. While the benefits are multitudinous, the practice of Zen meditation (or any meditation) is simple. Everything comes from the mind, and learning to keep a quiet mind, a mind at peace, a mind in balance, is the root of good health. It is the root of healthy relationships. It is the root of our well-being.

Just as a downhill racer is doomed if he or she loses their balance, a life out of balance is a disaster. And the faster you’re going, the bigger the disaster. For the racer it is defeat. It may also result in broken bones, a concussion, or worse. For the emotionally unbalanced, it leads to anger, unwise decisions, unhealthy habits, or worse.