The Holy Grail historically has been the cup that ‘is said to have been used by Jesus’ to give eternal life. Many groups and individuals have sought after this coveted cup for centuries. After all, eternal life would solve many of the challenges that we face as mortal human beings, and to think of the power that this cup would bring! Wars would be rampant as those who drank of the cup would be immortal – no harm could come to them! World dominance would be the quest… not sure about you, but world dominance is not my gig at all! There is however a different Holy Grail, one that truly affects all of us here and now in the 21st Century.
The vast majority of us are not out to rule the world. We are simply doing our best to get by day-to-day and make the most of the life that we are living. We have jobs, a home, possibly a partner, children, a pet and even some friends. We possibly take some time each month to visit with family and share in our successful management of our lives. At some point though I became disillusioned with where I was in life. I became restless and thoughts that there must be more to life and living invaded my mind. Things seem out of kilter, sometimes even sideways. There is an alternative and very relevant definition of the term Holy Grail:
“Holy Grail: something that you want very much but that is very hard to get or achieve” Merriam/Webster 2016.
This is where I would like to propose that there is a Holy Grail that is much more significant to most of us than the possibility of eternal life, one that applies more measurably to the masses in the 21st century. It is called Balance!
Balance: “a state in which different things occur in equal or proper amounts or have an equal or proper amount of importance” Merriam/Webster 2016
Lets examine the concept of balance from a broad based perspective, right down to the micro scale of human existence. I found that balance is indeed very necessary for a happy, healthy, prosperous human existence. There were many aspects of my own life that were incredibly out of balance.
On a grand scale, over the past 50 some-odd years I have been to both very distant ends of the spectrum of living. I have been wealthy to the point of not needing at all, and have also been destitute and homeless without a penny. I must honestly admit that throughout that spectrum I was always quite distant from what one would describe as happy, healthy or prosperous. I was indeed very far removed from what one may call balanced. It had nothing to do with the amount of wealth I had or did not have.
Why balance? Realistically, our entire existence relies on this one factor. Belief lies in the experience. The simplest form of balance for us to witness is physical. Stand on one foot. If you are balanced you remain standing. One reflex that leads to an imbalanced state and you tip over. Physical balance can also be less visible when it is inside the human body. Here our entire physical well-being depends on a state of balance: proper nutrients, the right amount of water, the correct amount of red and white blood cells… the list is extensive. When one or a combination of these elements is out of balance, we experience that scenario as being sick. It is not until a state of balance or equilibrium has been reached once again that we indeed feel well. Often we hear or read media bulletins on varying effects of certain foods or drinks on our bodies. “A glass of red wine a day is healthy”. What if I misinterpret this and understand, ‘drinking red wine is good for me’! Now I go ahead and drink a bottle of red wine or more a day… I have exceeded balance and the effect may indeed be not so positive.
There is also spiritual balance in our lives. Simplistically, too far to the light side or the dark side and we encounter serious spiritual challenges and repercussions.
“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light but by making the darkness conscious” Carl Jung
If we deny our dark side and focus only on the light, we become imbalanced as a soul. We all have some aspect of darkness in our lives. I denied mine for years and did my best to forget, disown, bury and annihilate it. I was imbalanced and could not be the person I truly am without accepting all of that person first! Conversely, if we focus only on our dark side we become just as imbalanced in the opposite way. Meditation encourages us to focus on a balanced state in our minds. Yoga encourages us to focus on a balanced state in our bodies. Our belief model, if we choose to have one, encourages us to create this spiritual balance in our minds.
Relationships also rely on the elusive concept of balance. Try and have a fantastic relationship by focusing only on sex. The sex may be awesome for a while, but with only that aspect receiving focus the actual relationship won’t last. Another vital aspect of a balanced relationship is good communication. Great communication itself entails a balance of listening and speaking or expressing ones self. This applies to personal and interpersonal relationships equally. Whether you communicate verbally, by touch, in writing or through social media there must be a balance of expression and true listening for it to be sustainable. Essentially, there must be equilibrium in give and take.
Pulling this all together now is the challenge. It’s an enormous task to focus on becoming balanced in all aspects of our lives. An old saying revolves around the hypothetical question, “how does one eat an elephant?”… the answer, “one bite at a time”. If we attempt to focus on all aspects of balance in our lives at one time we will essentially freak out and crash. I have managed to get two or three aspects of my life in balance but then have had setbacks where I am desperately hanging on to one balanced part of my life with all I’ve got! I don’t have a clear answer. This is why I believe that true, all-encompassing life balance is the new Holy Grail. It is the greatest challenge that we each, individually, face. Here’s to continuing to work on Balance!
Peter Lerch, Writer/Photographer