We spend a lifetime trying to shape the outcomes of our life, only to discover that the most important things in life are often beyond our control.
When things go well we are happy and when things go badly we are sad, which explains why we spend so much time trying to control outcomes. The basic assumption at play here is that happiness is a function of circumstance. The sooner one learns that this is not true, the better. This is not to say that one shouldn’t have goals and work hard to achieve them, that clearly makes a difference. Nevertheless, the really big things like one’s health and the health of loved ones are often uncontrollable.
We are fortunate to have a cabin on a lake in NW Wisconsin. After purchasing it, we were thrilled to see a red fox visiting our yard. After a few years, the fox disappeared. We have a hosta garden at the lake and while the fox was around, it never looked better. However, once the fox was gone, we started seeing large cotton tail rabbits. The rabbits thought the hosta garden was their salad bar. Before long, their numbers grew and our hasta garden suffered. A few more years passed and we started seeing the fox again. Nature you see has a way of keeping things in balance. Too many rabbits, here comes the fox. The fox returns, and there go the rabbits. We have experienced the full cycle several times.
We would be wise to note natures example of the importance of maintaining balance when it comes to our own well-being. Basically, we have three modes of existence, mind, body and spirit. Well-being ensues when all three modes are in balance. When not, we experience dis-ease. Often this is first noticed in our emotional state, but if balance isn’t restored, our physical health declines as well. In short, dis-ease becomes disease!
Modern living is filled with stress. Few people are able to balance mind-body-spirit (MBS) without regular effort. When I was younger I loved to run. After a stressful day at work I would run 4-5 miles and afterwards feel great. Before long I realized that to stay healthy it was important for me to balance the mental stress of a desk job with physical exercise. Every once in a while, when I was really busy, I let my physical exercise slip…and always paid a price.
This was my first glimpse of the importance of balance. Reducing mental strain with physical exercise is something you no doubt are familiar with, but the whole question of balance goes a lot deeper than that. For instance, where does spirit fit in? What if you aren’t religious? As I searched for answers, I found that there was a lot more to achieving balance in life than going for a run. I’ll be writing more about that in future posts.