How to Find Spiritual Harmony: The Tao of Balanced Energy
What is the Tao of Balanced Energy?
Tao is a concept from Chinese philosophy. It means "the way' or “the path.” It can also mean” the doctrine” or “the principle.” Taoism is a spiritual practice which emphasizes balance and living in harmony with all existence.
The Tao of Balanced Energy is the way to an overall healthy lifestyle. The tao (or path) of balanced energy is about keeping your yourself in harmony with the universe. Optimal functioning requires a balance of nutrition, exercise, and spirituality.
I have explained this concept in a series of three essays. The first two essays focused on keeping your body in harmony with proper nutrition and exercise. This essay focuses on spirituality—keeping the psyche in harmony.
What do I mean by spirituality?
Many people think spirituality means religion or God. I’m using the word in a much broader sense to encompass all of your emotional reactions and all of your relationships —the relationships you have with yourself, with others, and with all of existence.
In this essay, I have a few recommendations about how to keep the spiritual aspects of our life in balance by improving our relationships with ourselves (interpersonal relationship), with others (intrapersonal relationships) and with a Higher power “higher power” (suprapersonal relationship). It is important to keep these relationships in balance by giving attention to each and not focusing on one to the detriment of the others.
Love and accept yourself.
You cannot have a good relationship with external entities without first having a good relationship with yourself. You must begin with loving yourself. Like all human beings, you are not perfect. Accept your imperfections and the mistakes you have made.
This does not mean that you should not strive to be a better person. Identify the skills your want to improve, the bad habits you want to stop, and the character flaws you want to work on.
Assess your strengths and weaknesses in all areas of your life. Praise yourself for the things you are doing well. So many people are so focused on their failings that they don’t appreciate all the things about themselves that are good.
Give yourself some “me-time.”
Our lives today are so busy, that we often forget that we need some time to be alone with ourselves. “Me-time” is a time to de-stress.
One way to do this is too take a “mindful” walk. Step away from your work and take a short walk in as pleasant an environment as you can manage. (It is nice if you can go to a park, but if a city street is all that is available, it will do.)
During this walk focus on the moment—this is the mindfulness part. Feel your feet on the ground, feel the sun (or rain, or wind) on your body, smell the air, hear the sounds, see all the objects. Empty your mind of thoughts and worries. On your way back from this walk, let your thoughts wander to whatever topic is on your mind. You may find that this exercise has made your problems feel smaller. You may also start to come up with some solutions to those problems.
If you can’t go for a walk, just get up and stretch for a few moments. Before you resume your work, have a cup of herbal tea and listen to some soothing instrumental music. Close your eyes and be mindful (as described above).
If you have a garden, go work in the garden for 15 minutes. Again, tend to your plants with mindfulness.
Play with your dog. Play with your baby. Be focused 100% on the interaction.
Get away from screens and technology for your me-time—the TV screen, the computer screen, the telephone. You want to totally disconnect and be alone with yourself.
Meditation is a wonderful way to disconnect. It involves sitting quietly and focusing on a manta in order to empty your mind of thoughts. Consider joining a meditation class to learn how to do this.
Banish the Ugly
Get the ugly out of your life.
So much of today’s so-called entertainment is ugly--video games, movies, and TV shows that focus on violence and killing. You may think it is fun and entertaining, but it is influencing your outlook on life in a negative way. Numerous studies have shown how people become more angry and fearful after viewing this kind of entertainment.
Even the nightly news—do you really need to know the details of every murder, rape and robbery that occurs in your town or city? Do you need to know every single detail of every war and terrorist act? Studies have shown that people who watched the footage of the 9-11 attack over and over were more fearful than those who did not. It is important to be well-informed, but I find a newspaper is better for this—I can scan the headline or read the first paragraph. If I decide this is not important for me to know, I stop reading it.
Have good relationships with others.
It is important to have good relationships with friends and family. So spend time with the people in your life. Try this the next time you are having a one on one conversation with someone. Ask them a question and when they answer, really listen to the answer. Then ask a follow-up question to elicit more information. Continue to ask follow-up questions.
Don’t make the other person feel like they are being “drilled” or challenged; the goal is to get them to talk more about that they think or feel. Most of the time, we are so quick to interject our own opinion or feelings that we never get to understand the other person.
Ask open-ended questions without making any assumptions or judgments. For instance ask, “How did you feel about that?” and not “Did you feel angry?”
Treat others with respect and compassion.
No one can feel good about themselves if they are not honest in their relationships. It is disrespectful to lie. Don’t showoff. People will see through you, more than you know. Besides, you want people to like the real you, not the person you are pretending to be.
It is natural to be judgmental. Try to observe yourself being judgmental. When you catch yourself being judgmental, see if you can back away from that and just be more accepting.
Part of this is compassion. Try to see things from the other person’s point of view. Try to understand what is behind the behavior you find objectionable. Why are they acting the way they are acting?
If someone behaves badly towards you, don’t respond in kind. In the Bible, it says, “A soft answer turneth away wrath.(Proverbs 15:1) Be respectful, non-judgmental, and compassionate. You don’t have to tell someone off. It won’t make you feel better; it will make you feel worse.
Is there someone in your life that needs to forgiveness? Forgive that person now. Do it for your own well-being. Holding on to anger and grief is poisonous.
Have a healthy attitude towards sexuality.
Sex is a powerful drive. It brings physical pleasure, but it can bring a lot of emotional pain when it is misused.
Part of accepting yourself is accepting your sexuality. Sexual expression takes many forms and is a very complicated behavior. We must not be judgmental towards ourselves or towards others if we happen to not approve of these forms. Whatever happens between consenting adults is between them.
That being said, sex elicits powerful emotions, and it can be dangerous to your psychic well-being if it is seen as mere “fooling around.” Another common phrase is “hooking-up.” If you are hooking up, remember the point I made above about honesty. Ditto for “cheating.”
Sex becomes spiritual when it is used to express love and to connect to another person on a deep level.
Above I talked about getting the ugly out of your life. Erotica has its place, but too much pornography can warp your view about sex. The focus is on the physical to the detriment of the emotional and spiritual.
Religion and belief in God is one way to experience transcendence which I describe as a feeling of connection to the universe, a feeling that transcends everyday existence.
I experience transcendence when I look up into a night sky filled with stars and contemplate the vastness of the cosmos. I feel transcendence when I experience the beauty of the natural world. I feel transcendence when a young baby grasps my finger with his tiny hand.
Some people experience transcendence when they meditate. I recommend trying meditation.
Transcendence is an important part of being in harmony with the universe. It is my definition of spiritual.
The spiritual teachings of Buddha melded with the psychological insights of the West bringing together the personal, the intrapersonal, and the suprapersonal--the relationship with the self, with others, and with the Higher Power (as you define it).
A Simple Explanation of Meditation for Beginners
Just for fun
How would you rate your spiritual balance?
Read the other two parts of this series.
© 2015 Catherine Giordano