Buddha taught that life led in moderation, called the Middle Way, was a life of balance. Most Native American tribes, and the Kaballists teach that beauty and balance are the way to live. They are the same teaching, from different perspectives. Our little Kung Fu master demonstrates the beautiful sense of balance gained from working with Tai Chi, a form of martial art developed for meditation and control rather than combat.
Part of the deeper beauty of all of these paths is that they do not teach a static balance, as though one were standing in one spot, never to move again, but a dynamic balance that prepares one for the changes and jostling that are a part of everyday life. I love the path of mysticism, though could never truly enjoy life on a mountain top, living as a recluse. I like people, flawed, imperfect, warts and all, I love to be in the midst of things. I do not have to be the center of attention, in fact prefer to be a bit on the side, but I definitely like to be part of an interactive show.
I think the reason I was drawn to mystic spirituality was that there was always room for me to be an individual. I am just as flawed as anyone else, maybe even a bit more. I am not going to achieve perfection in this lifetime. But, though it has been a bit of a bumpy ride, I’ve had a lot of fun!
One of the most important tools in learning to walk that balanced path is the sense of humor, and here I am not talking of laughing at others, but learning to laugh at ourselves and our foolishness. Besides, if I hadn’t been kicked out of the Lutheran church for thinking in circles, life would have been incredibly boring! Garrison Keillor says Lut’rans can’t have any fun! I love the Prairie Home Companion, with Mr. Keillor’s dry wit and sense of the ridiculous. His entire discourse is a sort of gentle, laugh at oneself, lesson in living. One of my favorite characters of his was Guy Noir. Or was that Guy Noarr?
I was listening to the “tube”, (don’t often watch, but sometimes you see some worthwhile stuff on there,) and Professor Randy Pausch was mentioned. His sense of balance in the act of living and dying was probably as profound as any I have ever seen in action. Having every reason to be angry with G-d, having a young family and a wife with whom he shared a loving relationship, he died with grace and humor, leaving a wonderful legacy for his children.
Among the things most memorable was a comment of his that “Right up there next to being responsible and doing the right thing . . . . .this close,” and he held the thumb and forefinger apart for us to see, perhaps an eigth of an inch “Is having fun.” It would certainly be no shame to have seen this man angry and in tears, as the pain of parting from such a full life would be immense.
That statement is as close as one can come to expressing the concept of walking in beauty and balance. May he be blessed on his journey.