The Art Of Balance

David Cole, our Community's Facebook Guide for Explorers, and author of 'The Mystic Path of Meditation: Beginning a Christ-centered Journey' stayed with me. Next day we drove to Holy Island and met those booked in to the retreat he is leading on Mindfulness. Before that we drove to Dunbar to meet a fascinating group of spiritual searchers in the home of Mary and Jamie McNeil. David told them how he had been a teenage anti-church rebel who got into drugs, sex and witches, but these were symptoms of a passionate spiritual search. He visited Lindisfarne and read a book about Exploring Celtic Spirituality. This changed his life.

I am preparing to lead a summer seminar in Denmark on the theme The Art of Balance, so I asked David if he had any insights. To sustain balance, he said, we need to be content and confident in our true selves, and become free of denial and over-drive. This point is expressed by the apostle Paul: 'I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I notice that the organs of my body and mind follow another law which is at war with the law of God in my inmost self'. Paraphrase of Romans 7:22, 23.

The Chinese speak of yin and yang. These are two forces within a person which seem opposite, but if we increase our awareness, we realise they relate to each other in a rhythm, and that they give rise to each other as they relate. In Taoism these are two halves that make a complete whole, but they only make a complete whole if we do not super-impose things or erect barriers between them. To me, this insight links with the vow of Obedience in our way of life. We need to obey the God-given energy rhythms within us.

These are lovely ideals, but we have drives of power, passion and security which destroy the balance. To sustain balance we need to be content and confident in our true selves, and become free of denial and over-drive. We can also practice the art of balance in little things every day. When I walk or climb I put the weight on my right foot first, and then on my left foot. This creates a balanced, rhythmic way of walking or climbing or carrying baggage. Jesus said to his friends ‘Come away with me’. Whenever we become aware that we have lost our balance we can put one foot into a ‘come away with Jesus’ space and the other foot into a ‘this is the right thing to do’ space.

Talking about the art of balance, it was a delight to Skype with Australian friends for an hour's conversation followed by 20 minutes praying the quarterly liturgy with Os people in vows. It was evening there, but 8.0 am in UK, and it was the Equinox, when the hours of light and dark are in balance. I turned skype off and drove to a little country church to lead the 11.0 am service. Was this overdrive? No, on this occasion, at least, it was a most beautiful balance.

Posted at 01:45am on 21st March 2017
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