What does that mean? The average life consists of many different aspects. Work, play, family, friends, uptime and downtime. Some of these are nuanced, some are in-your-face. Life tends to go by quickly, and you can become easily overwhelmed, in especial if you are working on being more mindful.
Mindfulness can be both liberating and entrapping. This is because, while becoming more aware of what you are thinking, and what and how you are feeling, opens you more to the present; it also puts you in your own head. For a lot of people, that’s distressing. Now you can’t avoid what is going on in there.
Because of the stigma often attached to mental illness, and because our society is full of distractions, being aware of ourselves can feel pretty traumatic. This is because if you become aware of yourself, you may believe that you now have to be accountable for yourself.
The thing is, while the idea of accountability may be scary, the truth of it is actually quite a positive force. How? Because now you position yourself to change it.
My own experience has caused me to believe that part of why people get so distraught over this is imbalance. We live in a society of extremes, and teetering to one or the other takes you out of balance. This can be pretty distressing, in especial when you are presented with numerous either/or scenarios.
So in order to cope and generally understand, you look for balance.
In order to find balance, there are a couple key factors to take into consideration.
Seeking balance from without tips the scales more
In a high-consumerism society, where things can be done nearly instantly, it is tempting to believe that the answers lie with other sources.
To be certain, there are any number of resources that can help in finding balance. They can provide ideas, guidance, and even testimonials for how to achieve balance.
However, they cannot provide balance for you. It has to come from within.
All of your perceived imbalance is an internal affair. It is your mindset, your headspace where imbalance originates, and amplifies. Yet this is not something most people would care to believe.
It is super-easy to point fingers to causes of imbalance. My job exhausts me or those politicians are screwing me, you, and everyone else over or I haven’t enough time or I can’t see how may get blamed on external forces — but they are all internal. How can you tell? Use of me and I in each. It is not the thing you are pointing out that is throwing you off-balance, it is your perception that does so.
As such, the more you look to outside resources for solutions, the more you tend to throw yourself even more off-balance. This is largely due to losing touch with yourself.
This is why mindfulness is so important. When you are more aware of your own mindset, you become more capable of regaining or creating balance.
Seeking balance from within can be complex
There are a number of people I know who will be quick to tell me that the last thing they want to do is get inside their own heads. Meditation and opening themselves to mindfulness is fraught with discontent, and fears of finding more problems than solutions.
The thing is, in my own experience, this has proven to be less true. More often than not the fear over what you will find inside your head is far worse than what you will find. This tends to be born of false beliefs that you are unworthy and undeserving.
The bars for worth and success in our society tend to be completely ludicrous. They are either too high, too specific, or exclusionary. Just to add some insult to injury, we also see a lot of conflicting moralities being espoused. Lots of amoral people protesting matters on moral grounds can make anyone feel pretty crazy.
The truth is that you are worthy and deserving of balance. You don’t have to be particularly skilled or special, you are worthy. The notion that you should stay out of your own head because what is there may be terrifying is incorrect. Mindfulness will balance you.
That’s not to say that you may have to face some demons, and become accountable for things you prefer not to. That can be pretty distressing. The fear of what you will find inside your head is almost certainly far worse than what is there. The end result is balance, AND knowledge and awareness of yourself that can improve things down the line on many levels.
There is, however, an important caveat to place here. While you can find and create balance, it will almost certainly be temporary. Why? Because we live in a world in a constant state of change.
Balance is impermanent
Balance today will be imbalance tomorrow. This is because life is always shifting and changing. Yoda said it best:
“Always in motion is the future.”
This is actually also true of the present. Certainly there are moments of calm, and stillness, but they are only in the present. This is because everything is in a state of change. Energy is in a constant state of movement, and since everything is energy at its core, EVERYTHING is ever-moving.
This is why Buddhism teaches about the impermanence of life. It is a learned behavior of becoming a more sedentary society to become attached to things. We experience things that seem to always be present and unchanging in some manner or other, and attach to them. Change, as such, becomes a scary notion.
Deserts were once seas. Mountains rise and fall. Clouds form and change shape or evaporate. Nothing is permanent, even the planet we call home.
Accepting this is hard. Finding your personal center, or balance, is impermanent. This is because it will change, shift, move, and otherwise be altered.
This, however, is not a bad thing. Why? Because it means if you are dissatisfied with something, you have the power to change it.
Becoming mindful opens you up to being more capable of impacting change. This is because the only things we truly can influence or exert any real control over in our lives is our thoughts, feelings, and actions.
When you become less attached to what balance means, you gain the ability to make change happen, rather than be a puppet of it. You can use mindfulness to be more aware, and take actions that will help balance you.
Mindfulness creates and/or finds balance
This takes practice, and may take time, but it is worth it. When you are more mindful and aware of yourself, particularly your thoughts and feelings, you can better find and create balance. This is not a one-time act, so getting into practice can be extremely meaningful.
You are worthy and deserving of this. Don’t be afraid of what you may encounter, because the good it can bring you outweighs the bad of what you fear you may find.
Mindfulness can change you, and when you change for the better you become capable of changing the world for the better. Don’t let fear and uncertainty discourage and imbalance you. Take a deep breath, and go for it.