In another lifetime I think I would have been a hermit living in some obscure woods in Central Europe, writing, reading and dancing my way through life, in touch with my spirituality, breathing in the world in all its glory. You can probably tell I’m listening to Raveena (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPhn8DvR1lc) as I’m writing this post, but imaginary invocations aside I would like to share some of my reflections on balance.
Everything in this world from the macrophysical to the metaphysical seems to work on a sort of scale. Examples for the former can be found in the turn of the seasons, the female menstrual cycle and the composition of the Milky Way. We can find evidence in the latter group through introspection regarding life’s ebbs and waves of emotion; it seems to me that an individual can’t have it all, struggle must assail us all in some form. Crucially pain and pleasure exist in a kind of individualized balance- where according to Islamic tradition a soul is not given a weight more than what it can bear. Such examples delineate an intrinsic level of balance in the workings of the universe, an idea which underlies theist beliefs.
In my experience (which I grant is limited), personal balance is often sidelined. I could insert a rant on how the system of capitalist control is eroding our essential humanity resulting in a global spiritual deficient and how we should all seek out new systems ( societal and personal) to exist in which are built for our needs as human beings, but I won’t because I am a mature young woman who knows when she is screaming into the void. Instead I’ll ruminate on the average day to day of a working class person where an individual becomes swamped in work. Balance goes out the window, negative emotions and illnesses are framed as liabilities to ‘productivity’. In reality when we feel under the weather in either sense of the phrase, it is our body telling us through physiological function that we need to chill out. We need to listen but the world so often drowns us out. Now we are left with time to listen it scares us because we’ve spent so long shutting ourselves out. Our ability to articulate and understand emotion has diminished and we are flailing in ‘a void of emptiness’.
I think social media serves to amplify this drowning out of self hood. We use it as an escape to live through the screen another existence removed from our own current one. It is a form of escapism, as you could probably posit is any form of media. I don’t have a good relationship with people who dictate how one must live ( especially if they are not people of knowledge), however I think it is important to expose ourselves to perspectives of truth and intentionally analyse our individual relationship with things ( and people) we bring into our lives. There’s the good old friend minimalism speaking again- read my post on that for more 🙂
Perhaps staying with oneself for too long is not for everyone, someone will probably point out to me that we are at our essence social creatures at some point. However as we study the balance of the universe in traditional academic styles, reflection on internal balance perhaps should be approached with equal vigor. We all hold universes inside us which if consciously plumbed motivated by self love can produce individualized meaning. With this ‘enlightenment’, we are armed with tools to enhance our interactions with other people, nature and I guess the world generally.