Why Balance is Such a Buzzword - It Doesn’t Come Naturally in the West
It’s no secret that we live in a culture obsessed with black and white, yes or no. So many people feel uncomfortable in between; events, outfits or interactions are either good or bad. It’s hard for us to find solace in the void, the unknown. Hence why we are a culture obsessed with finding comfort in balance.
In Eastern culture and languages, polarity comes as second nature. It’s embedded in their languages and everyday vernacular. The yin and yang, masculine and feminine, doing and being can all exist at the same time. Instead of doing one then the other, creating a false sense of balance, both ends of the spectrum can coincide peacefully. Not only can this marriage be smooth, but it can also create the duality that we are meant to live as humans.
We live in a masculine dominated society. Not in terms of gender, but in terms of energy. The masculine is characterized as rigid, structured, externally-driven and, when unbalanced, ego-centric. Feminine energy which is receptive, fluid and nurturing, has only recently begun its revival. With this rebirth, the idea of balance has seeped its way into the collective conscious, helping people understand that constantly pushing and striving isn’t the way they are meant to live.
The term “balance” has seeped into nearly every aspect of modern life. Fitness programs, self-care, work-life balance, you name it — there’s likely a program or movement dedicated to helping you maintain equilibrium. Many fear the pendulum effect. One wrong choice could send you spiraling back to the other side from which you came. In order to avoid disaster, you cling to the external idea of balance.
The truth of the matter is that nothing will ever be black and white. We can only achieve balance if we experience both poles simultaneously. For a culture that so vehemently clings to one side, this is really uncomfortable. Instead of seeing someone you disagree with as simply that, we are often compelled to label them as bad, stupid or misguided. In reality, they might not be any of those things. When these schisms happen, our ego goes into hyperdrive to protect itself by flinging labels out left and right to create a false sense of security.
If this energy was truly balanced, the feminine, or the yin, would take it from here. With an integrated, healthy feminine energy, you can easily step back and release attachment to the ego and its bruises. This energy allows you to send compassion and understanding, then let go. The marriage of both the masculine and the feminine, at the same time, creates the harmony we so desperately seek.
Even with a spiritual practice, we have to be careful not to overdo either masculine or feminine practices. For instance, kundalini is a masculine practice because it has a set sequence that you follow to raise your vibration. It’s hard, you have to push and you’ll definitely feel uncomfortable breaking old energetic ties by force. Yoga Nidra, on the other hand, is the feminine counterpart to meditation practice that involves laying down and listening. In this position, you receive energy, allowing it in and opening the door to healing. When I do too much of one of these, I start to crave a change of energetic pace.
Balance is tough. Especially in today’s world where most people are constantly trying to find their place between doing and being. In trying to undo the programming we have downloaded throughout our lives, it can create pretty intense discomfort. By the time you’re 25, your neuropathways have fully entrenched themselves in your brain. It takes a lot of energy, time and dedication to forge a new thinking pattern.
For a culture so firmly attached to the masculine, we have begun trying to artificially insert balance into the way we live. We are witnessing the beginning of a change within the human race with the rise of feminine energy. Less power-hungry, more focused on attracting and allowing, the feminine’s reintroduction is causing some discomfort in our masculine-dominated culture. People have seen the struggle to fully embrace both sides of the spectrum and introduced programs to balance this and balance that.
Instead of constantly swinging from one side to another, can we freely flow with what feels best by tuning into what our soul knows to be true? Can we find comfort in the in-between? Can we see the value in both the light and the dark? Can we settle into the void we have been taught to avoid at all costs?
It takes time, but it’s entirely possible to move gracefully in the gray area. I understand the discomfort, the old programming and limiting beliefs. By taking time to slow down, reconnect with my fluid, flowing energy, it’s brought up a lot of thinking patterns I have no interest in continuing to use. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s better than ignoring what my soul has been telling me for years. I can reside in the void and, someday, I will find comfort within the unknown.