Balancing the Equation

Have you ever noticed what happens when the electricity goes out? You enter a room and flick a switch, expecting the lights to come on. Again and again and again you forget the electricity is out. Out of habit you flick the switch because you want light. You don’t berate yourself or say, “I’m doing something wrong!! Why won’t the lights come on? I’m no good at this. Too many people are using electricity and there is not enough for me.” You are clear that until electricity is restored, those lights aren’t cooperating with your wishes.

You can convert to solar power or wind power. You can light candles or live in the dark. But beating your head against the wall or burying your head into the sand repeating the mantra “I need the lights, I need the lights, I need the lights” won’t get you light.

It’s the same with your mind/body business. If the basic financial equation does not compute (you’re losing money every month) or if the energy expended does not match the desired life-balance (wishing you could spend time doing something else), then something’s gotta be re-worked. The equation needs to be balanced.

You can add more to the equation—more money, effort, time, expertise, or ideas—to make it balance.

You can take away from the equation—drop a class, close a studio, lay-off teachers—to make it balance.

I’ve noticed it’s usually much more comfortable to add rather than subtract, as if the act of taking away constitutes a failure.

I can feel it in my body when I am unwilling to balance that equation. I become anxious, cranky and not much fun to be around. My mind will keep going through the same story again and again, as if by hitting replay a different outcome will become clear. It’s like the movie Ground Hog Day. Or flicking the switch when the electricity is out.

The balanced equation has an end-goal: happiness. That’s what the Dali Lama says we are all after.

How is happiness achieved?

We try to balance the equation of life so it equals happiness, yet there’s always a “but”.

My corporate job pays well with great benefits BUT I hate it.
My yoga studio gives me spiritual fulfillment BUT I’m poor.
My first priority is my family BUT I never have enough time for them.
I had great life-balance BUT then my father became critically ill.

That “but” can be a thorn in our side because we buy into the fairy tale that if reality were THIS way instead of THAT way, we would have peace. That’s baloney.

Trying to find stability and happiness in a moving target is crazy. And because it’s inherently contradictory, looking for happiness in conditions creates conflict. Krishnamurti said, “Conflict will always exist as long as the idea is more important than the fact.”

Because of overhead costs, studio owners often hold the idea that work is defined by four walls. This idea can make the four walls more like a prison than a liberation of creative energy. With or without four walls, your work lives.

Are those four walls creating you or are you creating your work?

What if the purpose of this reality is simply for us to understand mind?

Mind may say “I like this over that” or “I want this over that” or “That would make me happy” or “That would make me sad.” We may even believe that story even though time and time again that “but” arises to burst our bubble. That “but” holds the key to how the mind is posing the problem.

Really, does it matter if a studio stays open or closes? Does it matter what you do for work? Does it matter if you have one person in your class or 100? I love what Byron Katie says about circumstances. She says you’re self-realized when the car breaks down and you’re ecstatic. That’s it.

What matters is the ability to play with mind within given circumstance. That’s where power and freedom reside.

Once we see that the purpose of reality is NOT to give us happiness, we can begin to give up the fairy tale. We can stop and shift our attention to the real matter at hand. What is mind? And from that perspective, does happiness arise?

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