If you search for balance in your web browser and click on images you’ll see how this shows up. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with this way of viewing things, these linear representations are limiting. The world we live in is so deeply rooted in binaries that seeking balance has become about attaining an end goal rather than the path of discovery and learning.
The limitation that binaries create doesn’t leave us much room to explore various paths and practices as we seek balance within. Access to balance will look different every day simply because we require different practices to support us as we evolve and change.
What if balance meant more than creating equals of two opposing factors? What if we were to reframe the seeking of balance to seek harmony instead? What new image or feeling comes to mind with that shift in language?
Reimagining Binary Thinking
Much of our world today, in Western society, has deep roots in binary thought. We understand through creating opposition because we’re taught to from the moment we’re born. Things tend to be easier to absorb when we use opposing forces because there is less room for variables. Humans like the idea of control and the illusion that we have all the answers.
So if we know what cold is we can say that hot is its opposing force and we understand both a little bit more. If we know what it feels like to be happy we might say that on the opposite end is sadness and because we’ve known happiness, we also know sadness. But what about all of the stuff in between, around, and outside of happy and sad, hot and cold?
This binary way of understanding isn’t necessarily bad except when we refuse to see outside of it and deny the possibility that anything else can exist. That frame of mind is where the barriers and limitations come from that don’t allow us to experience whole understanding.
In seeking balance along our healing journeys, what we are really after is a sense of harmony, equanimity, or serenity. We can’t possibly find that in binary thinking because no two of us will ever require the same formula to access our individual harmony. If there are 7 billion people in the world, there are 7 billion ways to find a sense of equanimity. It’s not a matter of one or the other, rather finding a blend of multiple factors that works for you, knowing that it is always evolving.
What if you let go of every binary ideology you have been taught?
Balance is an exploration, a discovery, a constant creation. The possibilities would be endless and the possibilities are endless.
Dissolving Binaries to Access Harmony
There are so many facets of our existence, to minimize our experiences down to two opposing variables is to deny the multitude of who we are. When we shift from linear balance to expansive harmony we create room for a myriad of things, experiences, or moments in time that all find ease together.
To move away from this either/or thinking and see your world from a different vantage point, try to practice present awareness.
Become aware of your thoughts.
Each moment is an opportunity to notice your thoughts. Notice the quality of each thought. Notice the pace of your thoughts, are they moving quickly? Jumping from one topic to the next? Are they slower? Maybe focused and attuned, moving with intention? Simply notice, without the need to form a judgement or change anything.
Reflect on the way the thoughts are present in your mind. By practicing awareness of your thoughts you regain connection and can guide your thoughts with more intention.
Ask yourself “What other possibilities exist beyond this thought?”
When we’re stuck on autopilot our thoughts are running the show. The thoughts will take us on the journey they see fit and we are along for the ride. In this practice, tune into each thought, hold one or two in particular for a moment. Be with these thoughts and notice them. Again, aware of the quality of each thought.
Ask yourself “What other possibilities exist beyond this one thought?” See what kind of expansion will fill your space. We do not have to be stuck in this either/or mindset, we have the power to reframe the way our thoughts are shaped. It is a practice and a commitment to accessing your own sweet, divine balance.
Show up with curiosity in every moment.
Each time you step into the seat of awareness, try to arrive with curiosity. Let go of expectations and what “should be.” The space of compassionate curiosity is the fertile ground for all possibilities to expand from. Either/or shifts to both/and. As you arrive with the intention to inquire and to understand more and more possibilities become available. This curiosity is where we get unstuck and can redefine balance to look more like harmony.
In moving beyond binary (either/or) thinking we can start to understand how to hold many truths in existence at once. We are no longer at the mercy of our thoughts on auto-pilot or the constructed ideas of binaries that we are raised with.
As we hold space for these vast experiences there is much more spaciousness for us to learn, to understand, and to explore what balance can look like in our lives.
Connect with rhythms of nature and explore new routines in Dinacharya for the Doshas, a four-part series with Dr. Sheila Patel, available now in the Chopra App.