TAG | spiritual teacher
Today it seems we are stressed out, overworked, underpaid and sleep deprived. Balance gets thrown under the bus for productivity, efficiency, getting the job done. No wonder you seldom hear people talk about the value of balance in our everyday lives. Who even knows what it is? How does one find it? Or maintain it?
The truth is, all energy seeks to be balanced. It is a natural state of rest and ease. Even the term for the carpentry tool that is used to achieve balance is called a “level.” Could it be that balance in one’s life can produce a level playing field for the mind, body and emotions? The ancient healing sciences from the East, such as Chinese Medicine and Indian and Tibetan Ayurveda, are all big on treating disease and strengthening the human experience by bring the subtle energies that comprise life back into balance.
Relatively few people seem to understand how to create and nurture a balanced existence. But we all have attained the expert level in not being level. So what exactly is balance? It is an action, a state of mind and a perspective. Balance requires a “bigger picture” evaluation of priorities, an honest inner assessment concerning energy expenditure, and a willingness to implement appropriate boundaries.
Balance is really stopping to enjoy the flowers and the view, and not simply rushing by. Balance is arresting the “just one more thing to do” tyranny that keeps us up late at night. Balance is scheduling time for family and friends with the same commitment and single-minded focus you bring to a business meeting.
Oscar Wilde said, “…we know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” It’s a great definition of balance gone awry and a brilliant place to start valuing balance in your life.
Vaishali is the author of Wisdom Rising and You Are What You Love. She is also a national health & wellness speaker, Huffington Post Columnist and radio host of “You Are What You Love” on heard weekly at www.purplev.com Sunday 11-1pm PST in greater LA and Santa Barbara and on Contact Talk Radio Fridays 1pm-2pm PST and Tuesdays 9-10pm PST. Vaishali learned to transform her life from the threat of two terminal disease diagnoses, domestic abuse and financial devastation. Completely recovered, she shares her wisdom @ www.purplev.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org
One morning as I was running along the beach, I saw this semi-homeless man. He had dug a large hole that cut him off at the knees when he stood in it. The locals had assured me that the man was harmless, and there was no need to be afraid of him. I noticed he had a long stick, and he was drawing something in the sand. Curiosity got the best of me. I decided to stop by and see what he was so busy creating. Upon approaching I introduced myself. The man looked up and smiled warmly. He had been absorbed in the task of drawing stick figures with the greatest of concentration. I did not wish to appear rude, so I pointed at one of the stick figures and complimented him on how realistic his drawing looked. The man proudly smiled and informed me this was a portrait of his brother. Then the smile slowly faded and the man shook his head sadly and said, “It’s too bad about my brother.” “What happened to him?” I inquired gently. “He has a house” came the simple answer. “He has a house?” I repeated, not sure I was following the line of tragedy. “Yes,” the man replied thoughtfully. “My brother and I used to do things together and go places. Then he got a house, and now the house needs him to do things. He does not do things with me anymore, because he has to do things for the house, and he cannot go anywhere with me because the house has him.” The man continued to shake his head sadly. “I will not go into houses,” he said with resolve. “Because once you go inside… that’s it… the house has you! It will always need something, and that’s how ‘it’ gets you.”
In elementary school, I wonder how many of us thought; when I grow up I want to be a spiritual teacher, however being a spiritual teacher is like any other calling. All kinds of people with unlikely backgrounds and talents find themselves occupying that role. Two of my favorite spiritual teachers are best known for their day jobs, actually their night jobs, or should I say their nightclub work. Lenny Bruce and Bill Hicks both knew they were serving a greater purpose than merely transforming stand-up comedy into a revolutionary commentary and new way of perceiving reality. They knew they were spiritual teachers, and they were both forthcoming about stating that fact. Lenny and Bill both firmly took their stand among the ranks of those who dared to speak the Truth in the face of popular opinion and in direct opposition to a mob mentality of ignorance.
Like all good Spiritual teachers, Lenny got right up in our faces, forcing us to look at our own self-created bad faith and self-imposed limitations. Eastern Spiritual traditions encourage us to look at the charges that we have created with our own minds, with our own perceptions. Then they urge us to end the bondage that we alone have put into motion. We created the charges; only we can resolve these charges. Lenny is the greatest American Spiritual teacher of this tradition. He exposed the charges that we have projected onto words and then, with humor and wit, implored us to end that tyranny.