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A Spiritually Enlightening Online Magazine. May's Theme: "Balance"
Volume 4 Issue 4 ISSN# 1708-3265
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Four-fold Balance
by Toria Betson

I tend to want to spend all my time on spiritual pursuits, but when I've done that, I've found myself out of balance. Other responsibilities would call, my thoughts would begin to obsess on them, and I all-too-soon would begin experiencing stress and guilt.

Spirit, practical concerns, thoughts, emotions, all are interconnected.

For many years I told myself that I would be happy if only I had more time… with my children, in creative pursuits, out in nature… When I did get the time, I would find it was only a temporary fix, and I still didn't feel balanced in the long run.

Instead of trying to balance by 'fixing' two aspects of my life that seem to impact one another, work and spirituality, for example, I've been attempting to balance four. Four makes a more stable foundation than two.

We've received gifts of Four-fold models of the aspects of life from many cultures and spiritual practices. The names attributed to each aspect may differ slightly, but most could be said to represent: the spiritual, the emotional, the physical, and the mental. One cannot be ignored without affecting the others. For example, most now recognize how our emotional health can impact our physical well-being.

The spiritual is where we get our inspiration; it is the birthplace of creativity. Love, nurturing, even intuition, flow from an emotional base. The physical is the world of labour, of harvesting our food and money, of caring for our bodies and the earth. The mental governs our thoughts, and how we communicate.

I visualize the four aspects like a four-seated, cross-shaped seesaw. The spiritual and physical sit opposite each other, and the mental and emotional are opposite in the other direction. When I say 'opposite' I don't mean separate and apart from each other. One does not imply the absence of the other. They are all part of one, and there are degrees in between.

Think of your work and your body as one seat of the seesaw, and your spiritual and creative life as the opposite seat. If you spend all your time and focus 'raising' the physical, the spiritual side will tend to 'lower'. By making time for both, and even better, by making spirituality part of your everyday physical life, the two become balanced. I'm not completely there yet, but I'm learning to bring 'spirit' to those things I once thought of as drudgery, like washing dishes!

On the other two sides we have the emotional opposite the intellectual. Too much mental noise, too much thinking, and we find ourselves lacking in intuition. Too much reliance on intuition without thinking, and we find it difficult to communicate with others.

It's easiest to see the effects the opposite directions have on one another.


Our seesaw has four seats. When our emotional health is out of balance, or we value logic over intuition, the spiritual and physical start to tip as well.

Four sides of the same seesaw, and all are connected.

When I began trying to balance the four aspects, I intentionally tried to make time for all four. Squeezing more hours out of an already busy day proved difficult. Something else had to give; often it was my desperately needed sleep… not so good for the health! What did seem to work was incorporating each aspect into the other.

I found spirituality to be the easiest to incorporate into the other three aspects. Perhaps because, as I see it, spirituality is the realization that we are connected to, and part of, all that is, was, and ever will be.

First, I incorporated the spiritual with the physical. Mindfulness in all things, viewing work as an offering, caring for the body as ritual, practicing yoga and/or tai chi, giving gratitude first thing in the morning and with every meal, spending time in and appreciating the outdoors each day, even if it's just to walk to the mailbox, there are unlimited ways to bring spirit into daily living.

Incorporating the spiritual into the emotional was more difficult, and often painful for me. I'm learning to love and accept my emotions, even those we call negative, like fear and anger. I think it was refusing to love all my emotions which caused the creative blocks I've experienced on and off throughout my adult life. Sometimes going with the flow has meant stopping what I am doing to feel those emotions fully, before letting them go.

…which ties into combining the Spiritual with the mental. I have signs all over my house that say 'Awareness'. My mind can go off in a million directions. The signs are there to remind me to stop and be aware of my thought processes. Meditation is a fantastic way to learn to focus, to control, and to let go of thoughts.

I think we all realize how physical exercise can help our emotional health, and our stress levels.

Yoga combines the physical with the mental and with the spiritual. Mindfulness, during any task, helps train the mind and brings heightened awareness and enjoyment to what we are doing. One of my favorite physical things is eating. I love food! I've been practicing mindful eating, and find not only do I eat less; I have become attracted to healthier foods. Mindful eating is what many of us already do when we are savouring chocolate. It requires us to slow down to see, taste, feel, smell, and completely experience each and every bite. Eating a fresh salad has become just shy of an orgasmic experience for me!

Critical thinking seems to play a huge role in my emotional state. Now when I feel anxious or frustrated, I look for the thought that preceded the feeling. Just the act of recognizing the thought has put my emotions into a new perspective. Focusing on what I am doing, then letting go when I am done, focusing on the process and letting go of the outcome, has left less room for worry, and more room for intuitive thinking.

Over time, all the four aspects have started to blend in my life. I'm finding it harder and harder to differentiate and draw the lines between them. I suspect this is as it should be.

Balance is a life-long pursuit. Don't expect to be able to give attention to all four aspects equally, at all times. Be kind to yourself. I've found it difficult to keep my balance when I'm so rigid that I feel I have to be in control. Life is ever-changing, so balance requires flexibility. Go with the universal flow, bend with the wind, and most of all, enjoy the ride!

Victoria Betson has been a student of 'all things metaphysical' since her childhood, in the 60's. She lives, creates, and gardens, in her home in the woods, with her husband of almost 20 years, and their two children.

Toria began as an artist, tarot reader, and psychic. Through the process of healing her self, and with the help of her spirit guides and the universe, she found her life taking an unexpected path, that of a spiritual "healer". Word of mouth has allowed her to distantly assist others from around the world, through shamanic journeys, energy healings, and tarot readings. http://www.geocities.com/toriastarot/.

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