Sunday, December 26, 2010

In search of balance

Today, in  After the Ecstasy, the Laundry, I'm reading about the inevitability of feelings and emotions, and the importance of acknowledging them.  It seems like pretty obvious stuff on one level, but at another deeper level it really resonates for me this morning.

So I decided to just sit a bit and think about what I'm feeling, what I want, what calls to me.  I didn't come up with anything revelational or earthshaking, but I have to say it was very refreshing to just pay attention to me, to listen to me... no decisions required, just a willingness to be present to myself, open to possibilities.

After that I came to my computer to see what might be wanting to be posted today, and this was the image that sang to me.  I suspect it has to do with all the dark, and the red and green that are so prevalent during this season; something in me is hungering for a different color scheme, and for light.

Isn't that interesting, to think that if we listen to our bodies, they might be always seeking balance?  It makes me think of an article my husband sent me yesterday, about patients who were knowingly given placebos and told about the placebo effect.  "People in the placebo arm of the trial got better—clinically, measurably, significantly better—on standard scales of symptom severity and overall quality of life. In fact, the volunteers in the placebo group experienced improvement comparable to patients taking the actual drug... Scientists believe the remarkable findings are the result of the body's "powerful self-healing network," which can be activated by "nothing more or less than a belief that one is receiving effective treatment."

To me, the odd curiosity that after weeks of exposure to red and green my body hungers for blue and yellow is another sign of that "powerful self-healing network," one of the many gifts we encounter if we take the time to pay attention.   I suppose that means that at some level I am equating healing with balance... but still, might that not mean that, whatever is troubling you, belief -- that it will pass, that it will heal, that you are being loved and cared for -- could bring you a long way toward healing?  And that part of belief is a willingness to listen to what your body wants and needs? What a wonderful testament to faith -- and doesn't that mean that it doesn't really matter if there is or is not a God; what matters is whether or not you believe?

Hmm.  I think there's a lot of juice in this; lots of places we could take this.  But at the very least, it's certainly something to ponder...

PS: After I wrote this post, I sat down for coffee and opened John Welwood's Toward a Psychology of Awakening (given to me yesterday as a Christmas present by a dear friend) and the very first page of the introduction says, "Spiritual practice, when cut off from the rich feeling-textures of personal life, can become dry and remote, just as personal life becomes narrow and confining when cut off from the fresh breezes of spiritual realization...we need to find new ways of integrating spiritual wisdom into our personal lives if we are to meet the great challenges we face heading into the new millennium."

So there you go: pay attention to feelings!  Balance personal life and spiritual life!  Oh, boy -- so much work to be explored!

1 comment:

Patricia Ryan Madson said...

Once again your message strikes a happy cord. I have also been noticing how my body/mind seeks opposites. Funny how contrary the mind can be. Whatever IS seems to always stand in contrast to what is not. I think the Buddhist understand this.