Monday, October 5, 2009

Balance and Equilibrium in the Ups and Downs of Life

Johnny Depp in movie "Once upon a time in Mexico"

In my experience, life consists of a continuous cycle of ups and downs, the wheel of fortune, the goddess Fortuna herself in the driving seat. As in the saying “what goes up must come down” there always seems to be a neutralizing factor determined to keep things in check and balance.

When life becomes too comfortable and easy, out of nowhere, a bolt out of the blue appears, and we are pulled into the abyss. It comes as a surprise, especially for those who believe they are somehow immune against the pushing and pulling forces of life. Those are the ones that fall the hardest.

From my limited perspective and experience, I do find that everything balances out in the end. It is a consolation for times of need and crisis. And it is a constant reminder, for some even a warning, not to take anything for granted since nobody can hold onto those fleeting moments of success and happiness for a long period of time.

The off-beat Johnny Depp character in Once upon a Time in Mexico illustrates this tendency best as he takes this “balancing act” into his own hands. For example, when he finds a cook that makes too good a “cochinita pibil,” he decides to go into the kitchen and shoot this cook to restore the old food balance and order again.

This idea of harmony is not something that has appeared in modern times. The ancient Greeks believed strongly that nature balanced itself out and that it always sought harmony, whether it was the body, soul or even physical objects. In fact, our bodies follow the same trend, whether it is temperature, weight, there is always an internal harmonizing balance. It is unfortunately us who overlook such truths of yin-and-yang-equilibrium, and we seek the extreme, whether in diet, drink, wealth or pleasure to our own peril and (dis)illusion.

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