Many a time, I come across people who complain that they do not have a balanced life. While chatting with a friend, he lamented, “I am not able to find equanimity in life, for I can not strike work-life balance.” I probed, “Will you have equanimity if you are able to do a balancing act between work and life?” He answered, “I am not sure.” A woman once told she was not able to find a balance between household chores and her personal life. I asked her whether or not she would a have balanced life if she were able to manage household works and personal life without troubles. Her answer was the same as that of my friend. Both answers reflect one thing that when you say that you want a balanced life, you do not actually know what are the elements that need to be balanced in order to have a balanced life. It is like you are unable to identify Gandhi ji from a picture of him because you never saw him alive or in a picture — no algorithm can help you in this process. To have a balanced life, we need to KNOW the elements that form the DNA of a balanced-life, then, algorithmise it to make it a default setting.
Behavioral scientists say that human nature exists in four forms: physical (body) mental (mind), emotional (heart) and spiritual (soul). All these four natures have two dimensions each: Taking care of IT and Using IT. Furthermore, they are all interconnected. Somewhere I read something about our body that went like this: “Our body is a temple where divinity resides, so keep it clean.” A healthy physical being is the cumulative effect of taking care of one’s own body through right food habits, an exercise regime and non-exposure to harmful habits. Discretion in using our physical strength is utmost importance, otherwise, we might end up with nothing left. The life of Mike Tyson, multiple-time world heavy weight boxing champion, is an example on how one can end up as a pauper and lose all but nothing in life from uncontrolled use of physical force.
Being sensitive to human suffering is a virtue that flows out form your heart — emotional nature. Imagine that someone comes and tells that s/he has not had food for the last two days. Your immediate reaction will be to give him/her money to buy food because your response came from your heart. At the same time, it is important how you manage this emotional outpouring in order to avoid being exploited by vested interests. But our heart can not do this because we are wired to respond emotionally than mentally to human sufferings. Then, how do we right-track our emotional being? Yes, we need the help of mind for that.
Look again at that example of the person who came with the story of starving for two days. Before giving her/him money, do have a look at the person again to see whether s/he is telling truth or not. Do an evaluation — a process involving your mind — by a quick observation. Suppose you see a packet of cigarette in his shirt’s pocket or that she is well attired and ornamented, etc., and these are the signs to come to the conclusion that the person is lying that s/he did not have money to buy food. But if you find truth in her/his words, let your emotional nature persists and do help that person. Take the help of mind to take care of your heart from exploitation.
Mind is a bundle of thoughts that originate from brain. Latest medical research shows that cerebral cortex is actually where the mind is located. Our brain has two parts: left-brain and right-brain where the former handles logical thinking, number crunching while the latter is the seat of creativity. It is very important that we strike a balance between these two parts so that we will not be logically biased against creativity or creatively biased against logic — this is notwithstanding the fact that the world is highly left-brain dominated. A balanced use of our both brains will enable and empower us to see issues and problems holistically, so utilize the treasures housed at both sides of your brain. Coming to the question: how do we take care of our mind? Our mind can think on its own — example of helping the heart — and can also be consciously stimulated to think. “This consciously-stimulated-to-thinking” is one way of taking care of mind. And the way for that? Tens of thousands of wise souls had walked the earth before us and had shared their wisdom — an output of intelligent thinking — through their writings. Catch hold of those books, read and go deep into those wise men’s thoughts, and you will harvest plenty of seeds from those books, which will consciously get sown in the fertile depth of your mind, forming the stimulative impetus for new ideas to sprout and develop into a canopy of wisdom branching out from you.
Steve Jobs used both parts of his brain to develop iPhones, iPads and similar products. Mark Zuckerbeg also used both parts of his brain to come up with facebook. Still, both these great people had not had a balanced life at some point of their lives, and that made them to travel all the way from the U.S.A. to India to seek advice of spiritual gurus. This proves that using mind alone can not give you a balanced life. And the way forward? Our soul will come to the help of our mind!
It is very characteristic for spiritual gurus to discourse that spirituality — do not confuse spirituality with religion as they are two different things — is the panacea for a contented life. I have one question to those gurus: If all people follow this only cure called spirituality for a contented life, who will work at agricultural farms, paddy fields and factories to generate food to feed the mankind, including you? And, ultimately, spirituality can not light up a bulb, we need science for that.
Go out for a phiysival exercise to enrich your body(physical) and develop a disciplined exercise regime for you. A study by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or M.I.T., showed that an exercise regime of 452 minutes in a week was the saturation point beyond which there would not be any incremental benefits. Read self-help books and (auto)biographies of great souls to stimulate your mind. Do charity like visiting hospitals to see terminally ill people and help them in whatever the way possible; help someone who needs money to buy medicines; visit elderly homes and help the inmates to carry out their daily life, etc. Such actions will give you a lot of happy feelings — emotional — to you. Once in a while go to a quiet place that is away from maddening crowds, sit alone, pray — talk to yourself — and meditate — talk to the divinity, the supreme power who resides within you.
In order to have a balanced life, we need to give room to all these four natures in our life. These four are born to be interconnected; hence, let it be so without blocking their inter-linked wiring. In other words, they need to be synergised to create a seamless-being — balanced life — in you
Have a balanced life 🙂