If there is a secret to life, it is and will forever be, balance.
The universe, overall, seems to be perfectly balanced and will likely forever remain so. I don’t think anything can ever disrupt that overall perfect balance. However, from the perceiver’s perspective, the world is seen to be very out of balance, for perfect equilibrium can never be achieved or experienced from the perceiver’s limited point-of-view. The reason for this is because all perceivers are forced to experience the world in a limited fashion. We are not capable of experiencing or perceiving all aspects of the infinite All, simultaneously. We cannot hear every sound, see every grain of dust, or feel every substance of the universe, all at once. We are forced to witness the dark shadows of night and then the wonderful highlights of day. We must experience the cold of winter, as well as the warmth of summer. If we were somehow able to experience absolute, perfect balance, all would be like a dull, boring, homogenous soup, where nothing interesting ever happens. Therefore, we are forced to experience the All in an endless series of imbalances. When we experience huge offsets in balance, we are swung up and down like a yo-yo from the highs to lows and back again. These imbalances, when pushed to the extreme, will lead to either great moments of pleasure and joy that must eventually be followed by great moments of pain and sorrow, or vise versa. It becomes a tug-of-war situation until better equilibrium is obtained once again. This huge undulation between the extremes can be very disconcerting. Thankfully, life tries to encourage us, through incentives and disincentives, through pain and pleasure, to maintain as much equilibrium as possible.
The universe uses a variety of ways to urge us towards a very balanced path. Though, at times, it does this with amazing cruelty and can be quite unforgiving. Sadly, the universe always punishes us when we try to reach towards the extremes. For instance, if we become too selfish then the universe, by its own laws of nature, responds in a way so as to reverse our greedy behavior like causing us to lose friends who have been taught by the universe to hate selfish behavior. If we are too giving, then again, the universe will respond in such a way that pushes our excessive behavior back into balance, such as allowing others to take advantage of us when we are too generous. This cosmic urge towards balance is the law of the All. It is the primary commandment of the universe. In this way, the universe, as a whole, provides guidance to all living things.
I am not the only one to stumble upon and discover this profoundly important law of balance the universe must abide. Universal truths have a way of cropping up in the minds of philosophers, again and again, throughout history and will continue to do so as long as man continues to seek out truth. After reading up on Buddha, I learned that he too taught about taking the balanced approach, only he called it “the middle way.” One illustration he reportedly gave was the stringing of a musical instrument. He explained that if the strings are strung too loose, then the instrument will not properly play music. If the strings are strung too tight, then again, the instrument will not properly play. The strings must be strung with balanced tension in order to play beautiful music. Psychologists and sociologists have also discovered this universal truth regarding balance. They have often referred to what is known as the “golden mean” or the “Goldilocks zone,” a reference to the children’s story, “The Three Bears,” that repeatedly illustrates this idea of balance. For example, when Goldilocks eats some of baby bear’s porridge, she delightfully discovers to her satisfaction that it is not too hot and not too cold but juuuuust right.
Since all perceiving minds must observe the world in an undulated manner between the extremes, the universe must abide by another very important law of the All and that is the law of compensation. It essentially states that for every loss there is a gain, and for every gain there is a loss. For instance, if a girl’s outer appearance is perceived by most to be ugly, then it will likely cause her to become beautiful on the inside. Less attractive people tend to be less social and, therefore, are usually more introspective. They are also more likely to be the observers than participants. This reality helps to shape their inner good qualities. The more beautiful a girl is on the outside the more ugly she is likely to be on the inside, meaning she is likely to be a shallow person with a huge ego as a result of her outer beauty. This is not a permanent condition. This is nature’s way of compensating and maintaining balance. It’s what provides the fuel for proper change towards equilibrium. The beautiful girl with an ugly inner core will be treated accordingly by many, possibly even by her own friends and family, forcing her to increase the beauty of her heart and pay less attention to her external looks and, thus, become a more well balanced person. Unattractive people as well as attractive people both get balanced out by life sooner or later. The universe will never allow anyone to be one hundred percent perfect.
It always takes a pile of dirt to grow a rose! So everyone will always have their equal share of dirt. Though, some are very good at hiding their dirt. Ideally, we want a little dirt on both the inside as well as the outside to balance out our internal and external beauty or goodness. The majority of one’s dirt may be on the inside or the outside, or it may be evenly distributed, but overall, both dirt and beauty must remain conserved. It’s another inescapable law, much like the scientific law of conservation, which states that the amount of any attribute of an isolated physical system remains conserved. In the world of science, this law is usually expressed in the conservation of energy and mass, in which case the amount of energy or mass in any closed system remains the same.
In essence, what goes around comes around. Everyone takes turns winning and losing. It’s just the way the universe has to work. A burglar who unnecessarily steals from others will often reap immediate rewards but will sooner or later pay for the injustice, either by the law of man or by the law of nature. Those who had something stolen will experience pain from their loss but will sooner or later gain something in return as a result of that experience. It’s a continuous give and take process.
The famous American poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, was one of the first to discover this very profound law of compensation and how it constantly influences our lives. It is also very similar to the Hindu philosophy of Karma, but it’s full scope reaches well beyond the familiar discussions of how our good and bad deeds correspond to our rewards and punishments. Isaac Newton also discovered at least a fundamental aspect of this law in terms of the physical interactions of the universe and said, “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
We should always try to avoid the extremes. When we push towards an extreme, whether it is trying to acquire too much wealth, too much fame, even too many friends, the universe will push back with the opposite, yet equal force, in order to counter the change and compensate for it. This compensating force towards balance is even reflected in the equations used by Albert Einstein for his Special Theory of Relativity, which theorizes that the faster an object travels, relative to an observer, the more massive it becomes, as measured by that observer, and the harder it becomes for that object to increase its velocity. In other words, the faster something tries to travel, relative to another, the more the universe tries to put a stop to it. The universe simply forces back the extremes.
We life forms are always striving to push back undesirable aspects of life like poverty, war, and ugliness in exchange for wealth, peace, and beauty. Pushing back on the dark side of life, often thought of as the Yin side of the Yin-Yang, comes at a price, and the more it is suppressed the more energy it takes and the bigger the sacrifice. It’s like trying to plug up a large water leak from a giant dam. The closer we come to plugging up the leak, the greater the pressure builds up. The main leak will fracture into many smaller leaks with higher pressure—kind of like how early Americans got rid of one tyrant king only to be replaced by several smaller tyrants on Wall Street who oppress the people. More and more there will be a resistance! Often things can get far worse before they get any better. If one attribute is pushed back to the point of near removal, it will begin to push back with a more violent force, such as when a political party is threatened with extinction. I think of this as the “death throws.” Whenever there is a change in the universe, whether viewed as positive or negative, there will always be resistance in some form.
In many ways the universe’s response to our actions are immediate and instantaneous, but in many other ways its response is delayed and can even be held up for a spell like a giant rubber band or spring which builds up potential energy waiting to be unleashed. Therefore, the universe, from the perceiver’s point-of-view, is, in part, elastic, and, thus, the consequences to our actions are not always seen or felt right away. Though our punishments and our rewards will come sure enough, in due time. This leads to what I call the sling-shot effect, which we must all be mindful of. One well known example of this is when we try to suppress our anger and frustration over a long period of time. The pressure builds up and we become like a ticking time-bomb, ready to explode that anger at any moment. When corrupt governments treat its citizens so badly for so long tension builds and revolutions break out to wash away the corruption. These back and forth movements from one extreme to the opposite express the rhythms of life, the heart beat of the All.
Though the universe does what it does to balance the scales in all areas, that doesn’t mean we ourselves don’t play a role in those adjustments. We are very capable of observing an offset in the world, in others, and in ourselves and can respond to take action. Whether or not it’s the right action, time will tell. Just be careful not to overcompensate, which we life forms tend to do quite often. Don’t go from trusting everyone to trusting no one, or from expressing intense emotions to expressing hardly any emotions. Life, as we experience it, is not so digital (on-off, black-white, all or nothing) but rather somewhere in between. For example, the fear of oppression, which we have historically endured, caused the American Founding Fathers to run desperately headlong towards way too much freedom in many areas for hundreds of years. The negative consequences from that excessive freedom, especially in the market area, are still playing out and are fortunately pushing us back towards a more balanced and civil approach. Whenever something bad happens, whether it’s a terrorist attack, school shooting, stock-market crash, or accidental death, it often leads to the error of overcompensation. It can cause over regulation in areas where it is not truly needed or the great subtraction of regulations in areas where they are needed. It takes a soft touch to make the proper and necessary adjustments, such as during an economic recession brought on by too much economic freedom and too much wasteful spending. Over the course of human history, we have shifted dramatically, back and forth, between the extremes. If you were to examine our history closely, it is like observing a pea tossed into a large bowl that moves up and down from side-to-side, slowly moving towards the center. Thanks to the law of balance and the law of compensation, we too are slowly but surely moving towards the center and finding equilibrium.
The answers to life’s most important questions usually tend to be found within a blurry middle, a delicate balance between the opposing ideas. Some of the most familiar arguments are nature vs nurture, free will vs determinism, creation vs evolution, atheism vs theism, capitalism vs socialism, big government vs small government, pro life vs pro choice, animal diet vs plant diet, raw vs cooked, and so on, just to name a few. It’s important not to get too much sun exposure and not too little either. We have to balance the calcium we put into our bodies with the magnesium, the acids with the bases. Fruits and vegetables are best eaten when perfectly ripened. If they are not quite ripe, then they are too fibrous and/or starchy. If they are too ripe, then they are too sugary. Not getting enough sleep is bad for our health and getting too much sleep is not good either. Studies have shown we shouldn’t even exercise too much or it could lead to cancer. The key is balance. The day we finally balance all the most relevant extremes is the day we will have real prosperity, peace, and freedom. That is when the true “Golden Age” will begin. So we must all strive to follow a balanced path as much as possible.
The universe, as far as I can tell, has a good track record of rewarding those who follow a balanced path. It’s important to note that the universe does deal in probabilities, from our point-of-view, so even a person who lives a balanced life can have his house torn down by a tornado, for instance. But if one does follow a balanced path, it increases the odds that life or nature or the universe will respond in a kinder, more balanced way. Those who are out of balance tend to get knocked around by the universe to and fro until he or she becomes balanced. In this way, the overall universe tries to protect and guide us. If there was ever a secret to life, it is the everlasting idea of balance. It is at the very core of all my philosophy. I believe it is at the heart of the universe, the Almighty, the Supreme Being. So try to live in moderation. Try to live a balanced life. Be balanced.