Balance, right. The thing you have with perfect mindfulness, surely; the magical end result of months of years of hard work, probably; an esoteric truism that exists for no one, it seems like.
Balance has different meanings to different people. Physically, it indicates an aesthetic bliss, a sense of health. Balance is the keyword to our bodies. With even slight imbalance, we can alter our systems irreparably. Our bodies were built to maintain a balance in order to keep us alive from day to day. Our systems have remarkable means of coping with toxins, as well as the influx of energetic stressors we experience on a regular basis.
Emotionally, balance is about both coping and thriving. We have to be able to cope with circumstances that test us, that trigger the imbalances within us. We have to make our way through them, and then engage in the thoughtful process of repair--that is, if we're lucky. Usually, it goes the opposite way: we stuff our traumas, and our bodies bear the brunt of them for what can be years. On the opposite end, we have to make sure, when we're in peak health, that we practice moderation and self-discipline. Once we hit a certain age, we realize that bouncing back is more work than we originally thought.
As Americans, we have the idea that consumption is individualistic and therefore, endless. We do not respect the dictum of manna from heaven. We see this now in the abundant hoarding going on across the country. The individual feels that by taking significantly more than they need, it will insure them against future disaster. Seeing the shelves empty sparks something visceral in us. We do not want to want, not if it could mean wanting forever.
This overarching sense of attachment is what limits us. This American generation--and I specify American, because societies the world over are experiencing death at a much faster rate than us, from many causes we, as a postindustrial nation, no longer have to worry about--has never had to deal with a significant population drop from famine, pandemic or war. A mere hundred years ago, 675,000 people died in the United States from influenza. History moves on quickly from events, moreso if propelled by ignorance.
In order to find balance in our lives during this time, we must offset the fear, anxiety, and greed with service. Only by giving of yourself are you able to open your heart up to what the patterns of energy on this planet are about. The tree, awaiting a harsh winter, does not pull all the water in for itself or refuse to put out apples for fear it will not make it. It blooms and makes fruit year after year. It gives, because that is the natural order of things. It is because humanity is so far removed from this natural spirit of giving that we find ourselves lost. It is because we now look at sharing, compassion, and brotherhood with anxiety that we are unable to find peace in our own hearts. How you treat another person is a representation of how you feel about yourself, inside. If you cannot extend gratitude and brotherhood to your own soul, it is doubtful you will be capable of doing so with others.
The Bhagavad Gita says, "You have a right to perform your prescribed duties, but you are not entitled to the fruits of your actions. Never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, nor be attached to inaction."
This idea is a difficult one to grasp; it talks about service for the sake of service. In this context, it is letting spiritual aspirants know that attachments, expectations, will hinder their growth. Similarly, when performing service, don't do it for the pats on the back you receive, for the pics you can put on Instagram or even for people driving by to clutch their chests and spew accolades to themselves--I'm warning you that it's usually something along the lines of, "Well, good! Someone needed to do it."
This may be the only time in our lives that we get to see the water clean, the air clean. This may be the only time we ever experience loss in a way that moves us correctly. This may be the last we see of some species, some glaciers. This may be the only time we look at our neighbors or estranged relatives or random people on the street as something other than passing faces.
Cherish this moment, for it may never come again.