Balance in life—isn´t this the focus of every magazine article or television commerical that we see these days?
If you put “balanced life“ in Google it shows 110,000,000 results. Would a therapist or a doctor recommend you to lead a balanced life? I would guess so.
Having a balanced life is certainly a healthy way to live—not too much, not too little. A balanced life might allow you to stay in the comfort zone that you have built up around you.
Think of a garden that is clean and beautiful—one that you have invested so much time and effort in, so that nothing can harm it or change it. Everything is under perfect control and in perfect condition. This is certainly a secure place to stay.
The desire to keep this garden in perfect harmony often comes from fear: Fear of the unknown and fear of stepping out of the comfort zone. In seeking comfort we generally find a quiet corner in life where there is minimum resistance and conflict. Once we find this place, we are then afraid to step out of it.
This fear of life, struggle and new experiences kills our own spirit of adventure. Our whole “life” education—the laws, rules and beliefs we follow based on man-made concepts and systems—make us afraid to be different and to step out of the crowd. It puts an end to spontaneity and breeds even more fear.
Here’s the thing: Fear can exist only in relation to something.
To break it down, fear is merely a word, and the word is not the actual fear itself. So, the question is: Do you specifically know what you are afraid of?
Fear is conditioned and always related to time, meaning it is related to past experiences and/or future events, and most of the time it is dependent on external surroundings or superficial relationships. And here lies the key: dependancy. We often depend on something in order to experience happiness.
But searching for happiness that is dependent on external circumstances is a risky game, and one that you will eventually lose. We live our lives in an environment where everything is changing, all the time.
Everything—without exception—is impermanent.
Feelings, thoughts, the physical body, the whole material world. There is no way to depend on something stable in the outside world, since it does not exist. Out of fear we build up concepts and views, and we lie to ourselves that there exists some kind of security. But this security is an illusion.
The only security, the only garden which will ever stay beautiful, is your own essence.
It´s far more important to keep a strong mindset rather than spend more and more time juggling all the different areas of your life, becoming confused, lost, more fearful and more deeply attached to these single parts.
You can´t control your environment completely, but you can be aware of your mindset which influences and creates a big part of it. So, if you spend your whole time protecting your garden from winds and storms, if you build up high fences around it to keep every single gust of wind away, you are wasting your time.
By being aware that these winds are a part of the environment, it is far more important to build up a stable foundation for the garden. Instead of building high fences around it, make your garden stronger from its nature and core. Appreciate the winds, appreciate the storms, the rain and the dry spells.
Yes, I think it is healthy to unbalance your life from time-to-time and not constantly try to keep everything in a safe place. Is it not the case that in these moments especially, you truly feel alive, excited and driven?
And yes, I think it´s positive to go to extremes. Push yourself to your limits in whichever way you can; as these kinds of experiences force you to build an inner strength. These are the times where you move and grow, and moving is a positive thing—moving forces new experiences, self reflection, and releases unknown power and energy.
So, step out your comfort zone every now and then. Shift your limits (which are primarily determined in your mind) and stop escaping from your fears. Only then can you see yourself as you are.
Fear is only constant if you are always running away from it.
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Assistant Ed: Dana Gornall/Ed: Sara Crolick