inner balance, external chaos

The last Chalice Circle (okay, I’ll be honest, it was ten days ago, and I’m only getting around to writing about it) was on the theme of finding balance in your life. I came into the circle with a certain idea of what it means to have balance, and I left with a somewhat different idea – an indication that the circle is working, I think!!

Coming in, my notion of balance was based on having external stability and stillness in my life. I rarely have external stability and stillness – this is not a bad thing. I am a big believer in change and growth and have nightmares of my life becoming boring and safe and complacent. But coming into the circle, I thought that equilibrium in my life is based on what is going on around me. Not entirely false, because I know that when I have a lot of changes in my life (like recently), I tend to get flustered and overwhelmed and need space and time to assimilate.

But, through our discussions, and through the following thought….

Equanimity is spacious stillness of the mind, a radiant calm that allows us to be present fully with all the different changing experiences that constitute our world and our lives. — Sharon Salzburg, Loving Kindness: the Revolutionary Art of Happiness.

I come to realize that having internal balance does not have to depend on having external stability. I can have balance internally and chaos externally.

In a way, this realization allows me to take control over my world. Recently, I’d gotten caught in this mindset that, until my work life and my social life calms down, I’m not going to have any kind of peace. But balance is nothing to do with that. Balance is about the inner world, not about the outer world. Balance is about controlling what occurs within my body and my mind and about being aware of the negative and embracing the positive within me.

What a relief. And here I was thinking that, because my life shows no signs of slowing down, I would not have peace for a long while yet.

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