Balanced living is all about working to normalize deficiencies and excess into a powerful flow of creativity.
Have you purchased my last book, Half Asleep in the Buddha Hall If not, it would make an amazing Holiday Present!
The Zen of Letting Go
Here we are, at the last of the Chakra articles for this go-round. I’ve been coming at this from a different direction than in the past, and I want to finish off in a similar manner.
The Crown Chakra is the entry point for inspiration, and from a Chinese perspective, for Yang energy.
The title, “That’s how the light gets in,” comes from the chorus of Leonard Cohen song, “Anthem,”
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
The song is really a paean to getting on with it. Of not waiting for the “right time, the perfect time.” The song talks about how we asked for signs, the signs were sent, and still, still… “the dove is never free.”
Rather than this being dispiriting, you hear a declaration of faith: no more will I run with the lawless crowd—I’m going to be heard from.
Thus the line, “Ring the bells that still can ring”
Get on with it. Start where you are. The call is to action, not from a place of “I already know the outcome,” but from a place of action, now, “despite…” And the “despite” is captured by, “Forget your perfect offering.”
There is no perfection, there is no “right time,” there is no permission, there is no anything, but what there is right now.
It is from here that we act.
Inspiration comes, then, not to perfect, enlightened beings, but to all of us, only as we choose to notice. The “light of inspiration” is not a spotlight, but rather a noticing of what filters in through the cracks. “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”
In a sense, then, the balancing of “all of our parts, of all of us,” happens quietly and with elegance, — and often gets to us “through the cracks.” In other words, the things that we declare to be tragedies, or “not fair” are precisely the “cracks,” the opportunities, to do our lives differently.
But first, we have to pay attention, and then decide to act as opposed to just think about acting
We can talk about this from several perspectives, but I want to try it this way. Our job, such as it is, is to keep our lives and our selves in balance. In other words, to root out our tendency to be excessive in one direction and deficient in another, to use acupuncture terminology.
Our tendencies develop over time. We might, for example, always give in to the pressure to conform. Or, conversely, we might have become rebels, and therefore resist anything that looks like what others are doing.
We might have a highly evolved imagination, and find ourselves living in an imaginary world, where everything is “just peachy,” yet have none of the imagined things are happening in the non-imaginary world. Or, we might devote little or no time to imagining, and instead live a fairly dreary, pedestrian life.
Some might blame others for all of their issues, others only blame themselves. And I know a couple of people who think they have their acts totally together, and yet, as one looks, not much is actually working.
And then, there are the “feelers” vs. the “thinkers.”
One of the more interesting uses of thought is to create endless explanations for reality, and yet not applying any of it. It’s like hoarding. Piles and piles of ideas, thoughts, definitions, and examples, stacked one upon the other. The problem? Nothing gets discarded. Everything is kept, “just in case.”
Many feelers presume that just because a sensation arises, it must have meaning. They miss the process: 1) a feeling arises, and 2) a thought occurs (in a very predictable way) to “explain” the feeling. It sounds like this: “Wow, am I sad. Hmm. Sad is not allowed unless there is a really, really good reason, so I’d better come up with a good one. Oh! Maybe I’m sad because people don’t love me. Yes! That must be it!”
Or, you’re just sad right now, and will be something else in a moment, if you let it be.
In terms of our work over the seven Chakra articles, it’s sort of like creating a flow through all of the Chakras. That might be a way of saying that all are in balance, or that all are neither deficient nor excessive.
In Taoist thought, the energy moves in a circle, starting and ending in the lower belly (2nd Chakra.) It moves up the spine, crossing, in turn, the Root, Belly, Solar Plexus, Heart, Throat, 3rd Eye and Crown. Then it “turns and becomes more refined” in the brain, and then moves back down, through the 3rd Eye, and Throat, “becomes more refined” at the Heart, and sinks back past the Solar Plexus, finally settling back down in the Belly.
This would be what a balanced flow of energy looks like.
The grounded power of the self “rises” and becomes engaged in a creative dance as it is refined in the brain (inspiration) and then made practical through the 3rd Eye’s sense of Insight / Outsight. Then, and only then, can the energy of self, informed by inspiration and insight, be expressed (Throat Chakra.) This expression is further refined at the Heart, where what we do becomes how we are (vocation.) This, in turn, nourishes our self-knowing, relationships, and sense of groundedness.
This is balance
From a practical point of view, all of this begins with moving past extremes to a balanced place of being. Nothing becomes emphasized,(excessive,) nothing is ignored (deficient.)
What to do with all of this
Take the time to notice how you live your life.
Are you mostly living in your head, or are you mostly just plodding along, putting in time?
Are there aspects of your felt experience (passion, sexuality, vocationality, feelings, inspiration, etc.) that you reject or resist?
Are you “waiting for the right time” (or for permission) to begin being who you are?
Do you simply feel off balance?
Work at identifying your “strengths and weaknesses” as regards the pattern (and lessons) of the Chakras. Park your strengths on the back burner, on simmer, and turn your attention, kindly, to the deficiencies. Look for the ways and means to tackle the issues you find, not by thinking them through, but by doing things differently.
In other words, find what you need to work on, and then create a way to actually work on them, right now.