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Finding balance, on and off the slopes

From the Christian Science Sentinel - May 16, 2011

Originally appeared on spirituality.com


Balance: economies, dancers, and diets all aspire to it. It’s sometimes fleeting (if you’re a novice on a slackline), sometimes almost permanent (if you’re a boulder in Arches National Park), and sometimes a distant memory (if you’re a sarcastic economist or political commentator).

Balance is such a crucial concept, which impacts so many aspects of our experience, that it’s really important to have a clear understanding of it. But balance can often seem hard to attain, and that can lead us to believe that related concepts like equality and health may also be hard to attain and hold on to.

When I’m searching for clarity and confidence, I turn to God. It stands to reason, then, that a conversation with God would be a good first step when seeking a better understanding of the concept of balance. Well, in thinking about this not too long ago, I found out that turning to God wasn’t just the first step…it was the only step!

Right from the get-go, I realized that if I wanted to be truly balanced in my life, I needed to start from the right platform. Dancers know that, to be balanced in any position, you have to have your feet (or hands, or head) positioned securely–like standing on a rock, you might say. You want to know that you are held safely—then, you can move confidently because any movement you make will be supported by your base. The same concept applies spiritually. If I really want to understand my experience better, I need to start from my foundation, God, and not leave that rock of His love.

I had a great opportunity to practice this recently. My wife, my brother, and I were all enjoying an evening snowboarding session. Mt. Bachelor was almost empty, the weather was warm, the snow was soft, and the sunset on the Three Sisters across from us was magnificent. However, almost immediately upon beginning my run, I caught an edge and slammed forward hard onto the snow, knocking the wind out of myself. I got out of the way of the trail and stood on the side. As I was trying to recover my breath, I started seeing stars flashing in my vision. The scene was growing blurry, and I was feeling pretty woozy–very unbalanced.

I was so bummed. My body hurt, but worse, I wondered if I was going to have to miss out on this special evening. I got all geared up to make my way to a bench near the top of the lift, where I could gather my thoughts and begin to pray, when all of a sudden I remembered that balance and health were the effects of my being God’s idea. There was no time or circumstance that could ever change me from being His effect, and completely and only subject to the law of Love. I realized I didn’t have to go through time to recuperate and recover my balance, either. I never left my rock—God’s truth—and I could immediately recognize and live from that secure basis. And the stars, difficulty in breathing, and all the other supposed effects of the fall vanished immediately. With a big grin on my face, I jumped up and sped down the slope.

As I rode, I rejoiced that it wasn’t really my new helmet that kept me safe, and it wasn’t just the chance to ride that made me happy. I was safe and happy because I’d never left my foundation. I enjoyed another two hours of snowboarding, free from any lingering fear or physical challenge. It was a wonderful evening!

In thinking further about this idea of balance, I’m reminded of a witness in a court case. When called to the stand, the witness is not expected to fight the court case and win it. The witness is also not expected to share hearsay, and certainly is not expected to lie or argue for the other side. All the witness is asked to do is to say what she knows, what she saw. To tell the truth, without worrying about what the other side presents.

In the same way, when I’m listening to what God is telling me about my secure foundation, it doesn’t help to be fascinated with the opposite testimony–to come up with reasons for why I’m not secure, balanced, and healthy. Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer and founder of Christian Science, provides this insight about reasoning from a purely spiritual basis: “For right reasoning there should be one fact before the thought, namely, spiritual existence” (Science and Health, p. 492). When I catch myself saying, “Yes, but …” I know I’m not really listening.

In the book of Proverbs in the Bible, we read, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (3:5, 6). I see that as a Biblical foundation for this concept of being a true witness, of sharing only what I know to be true–of acknowledging God. The more I commit to doing this, to seeing and loving the foundation on which I stand, the more I see balance (including equality, equanimity, health, and all those other related concepts) as simply the natural effect of being on that foundation. I learn that I don’t have to make myself be in balance. In fact, starting with God, I discover that there is no other state I can be in.

Knowing that I’m discovering more of the truth of my nature as God’s idea, as His effect (instead of desperately striving to attain something dependent on me) gives such strength. You and I have never left the rock of God’s love–the secure foundation of divine Principle. Everything about us is governed by Love–perpetual balance.

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