“All action begins in rest… this is the ultimate truth.” ~ Lao Tzu
The external world of people, relating, and doing, can be beautifully rewarding. But afterward, you may need to return to the inner calm and quiet to balance life. We naturally need both, the external connection as well as the internal connection.
We may love solitude. And we may love connection. But sometimes we make the mistake of taking too much of one, and not the other. But at times like this, we should remind ourselves of the beauty of balancing both the inner world and the outer. They are integrated, interdependent, and part of the same one life. If we look around, we will find endless displays of this balance in life. We see that we wake, and then we sleep and rise again. We see that we work, and then we rest and work again. We see that we speak, and then we listen. To live a balanced life, we must enjoy both the sunlight of our days full of people and the moonlight of our nights with ourselves. To live a balanced life, we must engage fully in the outside world by being with the people we love and the strangers we meet, and we must withdraw again and be quiet inside.
Something mystical happens between the two, the inner and outer. It is like the two are lovers that want to keep meeting. The silence wants to hear the sound at its edge, and the colors want to see the pure white light. Yet they also seem to want to be who they are, and not get lost in the other. We need to honor both these in us and to respond to the natural call of each side.
It is wisdom to know ourselves. To know ourselves we need to listen to the language of energy. Self-doubt may be seen as a bad thing, but that’s only because we label it as bad. It serves a purpose and can tell us when we need to rebalance. But we still don’t listen, do we? Sometimes others will give us a clue that we are not quite ourselves — their comments are harder to ignore. We may take feedback from others as criticism, but that’s only because we label it as bad. We can instead welcome it as a gift of awareness telling us to rebalance ourselves.
Instead of fighting the signs, we can hear them. If we are imbalanced from not enough of the inner or outer then we may feel restless, and unable to maintain flow. Fighting this imbalance is futile, and we need to rather rebalance through acceptance.
If you see life as a constant struggle of achievement or failure then you can keep striving against nature. If we ignore balance, it can be difficult to re-adjust. After too much time spent inward, it is not easy to go out into the world. Likewise, if you are too busy with crowds or external doing, it can be difficult to ease into the inner world. If you find yourself at one of these extremes, go easy on yourself and try small steps. If you’ve been isolating yourself try going for a walk, or sitting at a coffee shop alone but in the crowd. If you’ve been with too many people too long try just going for a short walk alone, or having your coffee alone on the balcony. The little things can help you ease back to the missing half of life when you get stuck on one side.
If we understand that life needs balance to flow, then we will understand the power of not doing in order to get inspired and to flow into doing again. Action and non-action are not enemies, but part of the same process. We cannot do without non-action. And we cannot rest without doing. We need one to move us into the other. Welcome balance into your life, and understand that rest can move you towards your achievements too.