By April Martucci, July, 2010
Balance: in harmony or proportion. This is the Goal. It has been said in many scriptures that the goal of yoga is to reach Enlightenment. A person who is ‘enlightened’ is a being who is at One with all other beings, and is ALWAYS present. We work towards this, but we know and discover over and over how challenging this is, especially in today’s world where we are ‘plugged in’—often to a fault. Although the way of the world and business now, the act of plugging in—be it to the tube, the computer, blackberry, cell phone, gossip magazines, twitter, facebook—takes us further and further from the Truth. They are distractions; the one thing the Enlightened being is not is distracted. We ‘fall off the wagon’, lose our focus, and get sidetracked off the path from time to time.
Technology is a great tool as we all know for increasing sales in our business’, promoting ourselves, and for research among many things, but we must be careful that it doesn’t act as a time-wasting tool. Luckily, we can catch ourselves when we are out of balance in this regard; we have the strength in ourselves to get back up when we fall off the wagon, wipe ourselves off and plug away—on the path, the journey. The goal is to reach for balance, rather than trying to hold it, freeze it and make everything flawless and just right. Instead we flow in and out of what life gives us and try our best to maintain an equanimity of mind in the midst of the chaos and limitless distractions. There are many ways to express this balance—Yin & Yang, Ha (sun) Tha (moon), or Sun & Moon, Shiva & Shakti, or just simply Masculine & Feminine.
We are trying to reach for this balance on and off the sticky mat. Strong, assertive, and with a healthy ego so that we can achieve our life’s propose, but not aggressive, arrogant or selfish. Soft, feminine, and elegant, without being dull and boring. On the mat, you try to find this strong/soft balance so that your practice has technique and ground, but also has a certain style about it that is full of fluidity and grace. At times (sometimes it feels more often than not), we are out of balance, and all the ‘ducks are not in a row’. The Yogi observes this without judgement and gets right back to work—plugging away—reaching for the balance, the harmony, and whatever is happening, the inner world works on remaining still, not labeling things as good and bad.
Stillness comes when we have been taking care of our bodies and nurturing our spirits with art, spending time with loved ones, dance, creating, laughter, yoga—and from that stillness comes wisdom. You cannot hear what you need to hear—the Truth—if you are surrounded (inwardly and outwardly) by noise, and distractions. That balance within our own selves—equal parts of masculine and feminine—is what gives us a groundedness that others notice and want to copy. You teach others by your example of making your own balance a priority. When you are out of it, when you fall off the wagon, you cannot be that example so gracefully.
That is another goal of Yoga- to be of service to others. So we keep reaching for this complete feeling, and we embrace it and get better and better at it, but we don’t hold it or suddenly decide ‘I got it’. It is then when we hold too tightly that things change. Be present with whatever is but continuing the reaching while you flow. Know you have all that you already need—it is all inside of you. Once you realize that then you know you are your own best doctor, your own best therapist, your own best friend.