Balance in body, mind and life
Every person is aspiring in life to be happy. Harmonizing the opposing principles is essential for peace and happiness. World happiness is measured based on several economic life factors such as health, education. use of time, psychological well-being, good governance, cultural diversity and resilience, ecological diversity and resilience, community vitality. Most of these factors are external and beyond the control of individual. But Hinduism provides wholesome solutions for individual happiness. The root of individual happiness and well-being lies in “Balance in body, mind and life”. There are several contrary factors which needs to be balanced to get optimum level of happiness.
Balancing of contrary factors:
Intellect, Emotions and spirituality:
As per Samkhya Darshan, one of the six Hindu philosophies, there are internal organs viz. intellect (buddhi, knowledge, analytical power), mind (manas) and ego (ahamkara). Intellect is for knowledge & reasoning; mind is for thoughts & feelings and ego is for self-pride. Vedantic Darshan, another philosophy says internal organs are four mind, intellect, ego & memory store (Chitta). Apart the internal organs, consciousness (Jivtama, spirit, soul) plays very big role in life.
Some people are rational, some are emotional and others are spiritual. Intelligent people are rational, reason based, rule based and logic based. Emotional people identify emotions and feelings of self & others. They have self-awareness, self-control, and the ability to respond appropriately to the emotions of others. So, they have social skills. Spiritual people are with an ability to access higher meanings, values and unconscious aspects of the self. They have an ability to think out of the box, humility, deep intuitive sense and creativity.
Benefit - Balance in intelligence, thoughts, emotions and spirituality is required for well-being and to attain success in work and life.
Extroversion and introversion:
People who are high in extroversion tend to seek out social stimulation and opportunities to engage with others. These individuals are talkative, assertive, full of life, energy, and positivity. On the contrary, introversion is a personality trait characterized by a focus on internal feelings rather than on external sources of stimulation.
In Hinduism, the Pravarti path (extroversion) is defined as the outward path of creation, greater limitation and individuality, together with lowering of consciousness. The Nirvatti path (introversion) is the path back to the source, associated with breaking down of individual barriers, limitations and raising the levels of consciousness.
The Ishavasaya Upanishad emphasizes that one must live in the external as well as internal world. The Upanishad says that one must do both simultaneously. One must be both extroverted and introverted. It states, “Those who follow the path of action alone will surely enter the blinding darkness of ignorance. Furthermore, those who retreat from the world in order to seek knowledge through constant practice of meditative techniques, similarly, remain in the quagmire of ignorance.” One must try to integrate the paths of extroversion and introversion. It applies to Mahatma Gandhi, Swami Vivekananda and so on.
Benefit - Higher states of awareness only occur when there is perfect balance both in the inner and outer worlds. Rejection of the world does not remove the problems; they merely lie dormant in the mind. Failure to clear up the outer conflicts and concerns automatically prevents one gaining the highest benefits from introspection.
Materialism and Spiritualism:
Materialism represents material possessions, physical comfort and external aspects, whereas spirituality represents the divine and internal aspect of human life values like love, empathy, etc. Since human life has two aspects in the form of a physical body and spiritual self, Vivekananda emphasized the synthesis between eastern spiritualism and western materialism as both are incomplete or even ‘dangerous’ in the absence of each other.
As per Hinduism, Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha are the four Purusharthas or purposes of human life. Dharma means righteousness, virtues; Artha, means prosperity, wealth; Kama in its broader sense stands for all sensual pleasures and Moksha means self-realization. The first three needs to be balanced to attain moksha.
Benefit – Balancing of head, heart and hand is must for holistic development.
Left and right nervous system:
The sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems are important for modulating many vital functions, including respiration and cardiac contractility. The Ida and Pingala are the energy channels which connect these two different opposite nervous systems. Ida energy channel emanates from left side of mooladhara chakra and crosses on right side at ajna chakra in brain. It is the negative & cold energy and passes predominantly through left nostril. Pingala energy channel emanates from right side of mooladhara chakra and crosses on left side at ajna chakra in brain. It is the positive & hot energy and passes predominantly through right nostril.
Any imbalance in their flow, if continues over long period of time, then the entire physical and pranic body will become disharmonized. The result will be illness. This is the precise reason of prevalence of diseases such as cancer, cardiac related, depression etc. thus balance between Ida and Pingala is essential.
Benefit - When inner and outer realms are harmonized, it brings peace and bliss.
Left and right sides of brain:
The left side of the brain is responsible for controlling the right side of the body. It also performs tasks that have to do with logic, such as in science and mathematics. On the other hand, the right hemisphere coordinates the left side of the body, and performs tasks that have do with creativity and the arts.
Benefit – So, scientific methodology and creativity need to be balanced.
Selfishness and Selflessness:
Selfishness is being concerned excessively or exclusively, for oneself or one's own advantage, pleasure, or welfare, regardless of others. On the other hand, selflessness is striving for the well-being of others. As per modern psychology, selfishness becomes a problem when it leads to a lack of consideration, lack of respect and lack of empathy for others. Striving to find balance between what is important to you and others is a healthier. One must develop understanding of both oneself and others and try to follow the rule: “Do to others as you would wish them to do unto you.”
In Hinduism, In the Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, Shree Krishna explained that the essence of karma yoga is selfless action. In the chapter 12, Lord says, detachment, universal love, resignation, self-control, absence of egoism etc. are the common characteristics of perfect person. The Hindu philosophy mentions “Vasudhaiva kutumbakam” which means that the whole world is one single family.
Benefit – Development of self as well as others is important for overall well-being.
Catabolism & Anabolism:
Human being gains energy through breath, food, sleep and bliss. Energy loss is wastefully done by sense organs (such as irrelevant or too much talking, watching negative news or videos, listening undesirable talks or audios) negative habits such as hypocrisy, negative emotions such anger, jealousy, greed, attachment, excessive pride etc. In case of negative balance, we lose precious energy and immunity and invite diseases. On the contrary, energy gaining is enhanced by pranayama, balance diet, adequate & sound sleep and self-confidence & zeal. Moderation in all aspects of life is necessary to balance energy gain and energy loss. One needs to endeavour to balance catabolism and anabolism by balancing energy gain & loss.. Anabolism requires energy to grow and build. Catabolism uses energy to break down. These metabolic processes work together in all living organisms to do things like produce energy and repair cells. In the early years of life, anabolism is greater, so person grow. In middle age, the balance shifts towards catabolism but anabolism continues at lower pace. In case energy intake is more than required, aging starts. In old age, catabolism enhances and anabolism becomes negligible.
Benefit: When Catabolism and anabolism in the body is balanced, the aging process halts. The person remains at the age, when it is balanced.
Speech and Silence:
A fine balance between active communication and discreet silence is essential in both professional and personal lives. There is an old saying, silence speaks volumes. Through silence (maun vrat), one declines reacting to emotional impulses, good or bad, they learn to analyse the origins of them. Understanding one's emotions better and refraining from action or speech under their influence can help many manage their emotions better.
As per Hinduism, Mauna (Silence) refers to peace of mind, inner quietude. The Hindu texts insist upon proper understanding of silence by experiencing it through control of speech and practice. In Katha Upanishad, Yama tells Nachiketa that he who has extracted and tasted the real essence enjoys true happiness in total silence.
Benefit – Proper communication requires both speaking and thinking. Without thinking and analysing, it is not possible to communicate properly.
Balancing of dietary intake including acidic & Alkaline eating:
As per WHO, healthy diet helps to protect against malnutrition in all its forms, as well as noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), including such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer. Proportions of calories, proteins, minerals, vitamins dietary fibre, etc. need to be balanced for health. In addition, proportion of alkaline food and acidic food should also be balanced.
As per Hinduism, the physical body is made up of five elements – earth, water, air, space and fire. These elements manifest into three subtle energies - Vat (space & air), Pitta (fire & water) and kapha (earth & water). Vata–pitta–kapha are present in every cell, tissue, and organ. When in balance, they create Balance of Vat, Pitta and Kapha results in health, while imbalance results in disease. Ayurveda delineates twenty fundamental attributes in our bodies. The body-mind constitution of each one is different based on proportion of the three subtle energies. These combinations create different habits, tendencies and body constitution. One of the requirements in Ayurveda is to take diet as per the constitution to stay healthy.
Benefit – Eating a healthy, balanced diet is an important part of maintaining good health.
Eating and Fasting:
Balance between eating and fasting helps in maintaining good health. Overeating can lead to a host of health problems. Ayurveda sees the basic cause of many diseases as the accumulation of toxic materials. Regular cleansing of toxic material keeps us healthy. Fasting overhauls the respiratory, circulatory, digestive and urinary system. In moderate fasting, the organs of the body are cleansed and renewed.
Benefit – Eating for energy & nutrition and fasting to cleansing, both need to be necessarily balanced.
Physical and mental work:
In modern era, majority of work done by people is mental. Even the entertainment is through electronic gadgets. When ratio of physical and mental work distorts, a large number of diseases crop up. Hence, the balancing of physical and mental work is absolutely necessary for healthy life.
Benefit – it is necessary element for disease free life.