Have We Lost it Completely?
We often hear the expression ‘The world has gone out of balance’. What does this exactly mean and have we really lost our balance completely?
The expression is true in many ways and everyone of us can perceive it by just looking at what is happening around us, both in the immediate social groups and societies and of course at the world at large. There is no need for deep philosophical contemplation to reach such a conclusion. Yet to answer the second question immediately – I don’t think we have completely gone out of balance. Having said this, the questions merits a closer look and a deeper understanding if we are to find out what we can do about it and how.
First of all, personally for me with my background in Systems Thinking, the idea that the world is going out of balance (as against has completely gone out of balance) means most of all that the systems that make up the world – whether social, ecological, political, and so on – are not in harmony within themselves or between each other anymore. This is as simple as it can get. Loss of balance is lack of harmony and one causes the other in a kind of chicken and egg scenario.
So now the question becomes why are these systems in disharmony between themselves? I believe that if you want an answer to a question regarding a society, a nation or the whole world, first ask it to yourself because you are part of that collective and you are a good representation of it. More central to my belief, is that what goes on in the outside is a reflection of what goes on the inside. The individual and the collective should never be seen or analysed apart from each other.
We Did Start the Fire
The question then can be sharpened further to “why do we experience disharmony and lack of balance in our lives?”
First and foremost I think we experience the greatest disharmony because we create a lot of conflict within ourselves. We literally go at war with ourselves sometimes. It’s like there are two or more sides to what makes up our whole being that want to go in different directions and end up arguing and fighting off each other, draining so much essential vital power from the whole. This is the real cause of disharmony which in turn creates lack of coherence and efficiency. In short, it makes life harder than it should.
This inner conflict is manifested in the outer world in many different ways. To start with, this inner battle that depletes a lot of our energies also sabotages our inner confidence and trust in ourselves. When the whole is fragmented into warring parts, we feel misplaced within ourselves and this misplacement is therefore felt and lived outside of ourselves as well. This sense of misplacement and distrust is projected into distrust for others around us – whatever shape and form that takes (there is always a culprit). This continues to reinforce our sense of separation from one another together with our common-sense view of the world (the model of reality created through our limited 5 senses) and heavy social programming.
The Three Whys of All World Problems
So the first answer to why we experience disharmony and go out of balance is separation and fragmentation of the Self continually reinforced as we interact with a social world we constantly feel misplaced in. For me and many others this is plain evident when you see warring nations, social unrest, ecocide, fundamentalism, and international conflicts of all sorts on a global scale. What is it if not a reflection of inner conflict played out on a larger collective stage?
The second reason is false identification with something or someone. We all create identities or personas – some being temporal while others sticking around for a lifetime. We somehow find it easier to go through life using certain self-identifications that shelter us from fundamentally one thing – our true Self with its brilliant magnificence, light and shadow. We assume identities unconsciously not knowing what energies we are trading off in the process. It could be anything that creates a fixed and limited concept of who we are – a role, an attribute, a personality or a relationship. It doesn’t really matter.
The real problem with identities is that they mirror a distorted image of who you are. Distortion means also misalignment and in turn misalignment creates disharmony that operates at some unconscious level. So to put it in other words, inauthenticity makes us deviate from our centre of balance because it is a form of mismatch, misalignment and disharmony.
Living out personas or identities, especially if you are deeply attached to them, takes a lot of energy to maintain because they are not authentic or aligned with your essence and true nature. As I already mentioned, this creates turbulence and lack of harmony within ourselves. I am not blaming anyone or anything in particular. Social conditioning, peers, families, context and life circumstances have a lot to do with us creating false identities unconsciously.
What I am saying though, is that this seemingly innocent thing on a very personal level is creating disharmony and loss of balance on a global scale whether this seems far fetched to you or not.
The third thing is the imbalance between heart and mind which is yet another form of misalignment, possibly the biggest one in terms of effect. We live in a world wherein the mind reigns supreme to such an extent that the heart is cast aside and has little to no say in the affairs of Man. We are very cerebral, over-value rationality (or a guise of it), and live most of our life inside our heads.
Through this over-dominance of mind, the balance between mind and heart has been disturbed and hence we lost the harmonious communication between the two. This ends in the classical battle between mind and heart which is the main cause for inner conflict outlined in the first reason above. But since mind-heart coherence is so important for balance, I have singled it out here.
When our thoughts and actions are not heart-centred, it creates imbalance and disharmony. It’s like a distorted wave pattern that ripples out effecting everything around us and eventually reflecting back on us in a feedback loop. This is why we might see things as not working out or feeling as if they are ‘working against us’ and life feeling like a struggle in general. It’s because without the heart into the equation we are running things very inefficiently and with lots of interference.
The opposite is naturally true. Heart-brain coherence creates signals with little interference patterns and which are very efficient and harmonious. In turn things seems to turn out right with least effort and no resistance almost in a miraculous way.
The Sum of All Fears…and Shadows
So effectively lack of harmony and loss of balance in us as individuals can be written down as arising from three overlapping aspects of being human. Reducing this to a one liner – it is being in conflict with ourselves as we operate unconsciously from an inauthentic identity, and frequently leaving our heart out of the equation. This pretty sums up most, if not all, of our problems in one short line. All of the loss of balance we have been witnessing in the outside world throughout history, is symptomatic of these inner causes of disharmony we find inside of us.
Now you might say, I’m sure there is a taller list than that. What about greed, lust for power, violence, corruption, arrogance, ignorance, and so on? Yes of course these are all shadow aspects of us humans that have given their share in creating the chaos we see around us but these shadows emerge and appear out of the depths of our psyche mainly because one or all of the three aspects mentioned throughout this article. If you had a very authentic self-image and identity, had most of your energies aligned in the same direction, and your mind and heart were in sync most of the time, then any shadow aspect that you hold has no other choice but to emerge and be healed rather than getting repressed back into the shadow world of the collective unconscious. Not to mention you would be healthy as a fish and always buzzing with positive energy.
Keeping the Balance: The Real Activist Movement
So once again, we see a world that is going out of balance – ecological degradation, mass migration, wars, genocides, a failed economic system that exploits the masses to serve the few, a disconnected political class, and an alienated world population – is only but a reflection of our inner lack of balance. There couldn’t possible be outer imbalance when most of the world population is living in balance. This is also true because the individual and collective are mutually affecting each other all the time. One cannot be unequal to the other.
In other words, to heal the planet or to save the world, we do not need to look outside of us and try to beat the system, bring down a government or even worse wait for someone or something else to save us. Saving the planet starts from home…closer to home actually. It starts with you, me and all of us taking responsibility and seeing, learning and understanding that we are off balance and that we can get that balance back should we choose to see it, accept it and do something about it.
It just struck me writing this article that there is possibly a new way of seeing activism, not to downplay the important role activism plays at large but I do believe that trying to keep ourselves in balance and encouraging and inspiring others to do the same is possibly a more powerful and transformative tool than rallying and protesting with the intention of changing an outside situation that is merely a mirror of what is happening inside.
This has been the most recent theme for me and I am going to be doing more inner work focused on committing myself to be, live and help others be in balance. I would love to read any of your views, comments and personal experiences to share in the comments below or you can send me a direct message on Soul Hiker Facebook Page