Several years ago, I began to religiously practice yoga, or at least, a semblance thereof! Don't get me wrong, I don't mean to pat myself on the back here, although I have semi-jokingly told a number of people that 'I don't get mad anymore; I do yoga'. While it is of great, even utmost importance to 'know thyself', of no less import is why we are here & now. One cannot, however, truly have one without the other. If we don't love, or know ourselves, is it even possible to truly know, or love others? Even further; when we truly know ourselves, ARE there really any 'others'?! Many there are, no doubt, who would aver that, 'yes, if we truly know ourselves, we must view the 'world' as 'others' ( at least, until 'they' come around to our way of thinking ). Personally speaking, there are many differences that make us unique, as human beings. However, being More than human, we know that our differences need not separate us, as in 'us & them' ( even 'us VS them' ), but in fact bring us together, for each one of us, individually speaking, has a part to play in this grand production we call 'Life'!
Again, 'Life is all about Balance'! Biologically, whether we're observing plants, animals or human beings, to say nothing of the most basic ( ? ) minerals, without the correct mixture, or balance of necessary constituents such as air, water & other, more solid nutrients, Life could not exist, as we personally know it! However, as Life, like us, is More than this biology, It, as we, still exists; it is simply ( ? ) manifested through this biology. Spiritually speaking & this is where yoga & meditation come into play, truly knowing ourselves ( not simply believing what we're told ) enables us to find the necessary balance between what is 'heavenly' & what is 'earthy'. 'As above, so below'; as we are, so we manifest in this biology! If we believe we are, at heart, as the so-called 'Good Book' says, 'deceitful above all [ things ], and desperately wicked', then we will manifest those desires. If however, we are able to truly, through whatever means, know ourselves for what we truly are, rather than who we have been taught, then we cannot help but manifest the desires of our heart, our innermost Being!
Balancing who we are & who the 'world' needs us to be might seem, at first glance, one of those things that's 'easier said than done'. It's really quite simple, actually! Fortunately for us, one must not even attain this delicate balance, as so many 'self-help gurus' seem to tell us. If only we buy their book ( only $29.95, but if you act now........................ ) and/or attend their seminar, we too may learn how to do it, to master ourSelf. The thing is, rather than attaining it, rather than even 'becoming' it ( whatever 'it' is' ), we must simply be. Just as our biological bodies are made to heal themselves, so our spiritual 'bodies' will balance themselves out, if only we will let them BE!
Just 'let it be'?! Speaking of things 'easier said than done'! Because we live in such an Ego-driven society, most if not all people will find it very difficult, if not impossible to just 'let it be'! But 'let it be' we must, if we are ever to find true happiness. 'Bringing balance to the Force', so to speak, is not an easy proposition, not because it is 'un-natural' but simply because we have been so conditioned to believe, either that it is not 'natural' or that the 'natural' is itself evil!
So, how DOES one go about 'bringing balance to the Force'/ Well, first of all, don't 'force' it! 'As above, so below'; it comes naturally. In fact, if you DO 'force' it, then's when it becomes difficult, even impossible for some people. Second, when we begin at the beginning, so to speak, with the 'heart' of the issue, 'for out of it [ spring ] the issues of life' ( Proverbs 4:23b ), then what is right & good will naturally flow through our biology. This does not guarantee, unfortunately, that just because we do 'the right thing', that everyone will follow suit, but, 'hey', 'I can dream, can't I?!' But seriously, even if NO ONE else does what is right, at least we'll rest assured that WE did! On the other hand, 'what is 'right'? Who's to say that ours is 'right' & theirs is 'wrong'?? But, that's another Story.........................
'Yoga' is Sanskrit for 'union'. Reading the Wikipedia article referenced, as well as others, will reveal a much deeper history & etymology, but put simply, the practice aids in bringing together our two natures, joining 'Heaven' & 'Earth', in a manner of speaking. One might even note, as has been noted previously by several authors, that this is really what the Hebrew & Greek Scriptures are all about! Again though, it should be noted, for clarification, that it is not actually a 'joining' or 'bringing together'; rather, it is a realization of what already is. 'It is what It is'!
Wrapping it up then, one must find that delicate balance ( for It IS there ) between realizing who we are & why we're here! As Spirit-beings living in a material world, especially among those who seem to be satisfied with just being human, it IS difficult sometimes, humanly speaking, to act as we know we are. Making the right choices, according to the Spirit Within can become more of a struggle the harder we strive to undercut our Ego. ( Strange; I thought the Ego liked being on top?! ) Seriously; I've found this to be true in my own experience. The more we try to manifest from our Inmost Being, rather than letting our Ego rule the day, the more the Ego tries to remain 'King of the Hill', at the top of the totem pole, so to speak. This is not to say the Ego is, in & of itself bad, or evil'; again, 'it is what it is', a necessary part of our humanity, though it does have a tendency to rule over ourselves or others.
Life is a balancing act, in so many ways! On the physical plane, one must juggle so many things, that we must find humor in the Mundane in order to keep our sanity. ( Either that, or enjoy the insanity ) Speaking of the Mundane, one must also maintain a balance between the Divine & the Mundane! It could truly be said, though, that, 'We do not find Balance; Balance finds us'! In this Life, especially in this Day & Age, we often find ourselves becoming so hectic, 'living in the fast lane', that it seems almost impossible that Balance could ever find us, but if we can just slow ourselves down, It will sooner or later catch up to us. The key is finding that slower pace, before Life 'catches up to us'!
Charles Haddon Shank