On Restoring Global Balance Given Comfortable Shoes and The Limitations of Common Language.

What Is A Balanced Life?

Just for fun, let’s take a holographic rather than a holistic view of what people might be searching for when they talk about finding balance in their life. In doing so, let's see if we can discover what "restoring global balance" might require, and what on earth it has to do with shoes.

We speak of having a balanced diet, balancing our check book, or balancing our schedule. We speak of balancing work and play, balancing time with friends and family, having balanced relationships. We seek to hold in balance any number of things that we feel are unbalanced, misaligned, unreconciled, unhealthy, or simply not working in our lives.

Underneath it all, how do we attempt to hold these things in place? With words. We use words to form our understanding and give ourselves certainty about our world. In this sense, our words literally create our world.

Look Closer.

Though we often say "our" world or even "the" world, those terms can be misleading. The lawyer in New York not only lives in a different world than the moo ping vendor in Bangkok, she lives in a different world than the musician standing beside her in the elevator. Everyone's world is different. Everyone has their own filters, interpretations, and experiences of what is in their world.

This prompts the question: How can we ever have universal consensus on the definition of global balance? The answer is we can't. Ever. Never, ever, ever. How can 8 billion people (and counting) possibly agree on anything? No way, José. It ain't ever gonna happen.

Which means if you or I want global balance, all we can do is act locally. I don't mean geographically. I mean within our own, limited sphere of influence. But that is where the action is. That is where we matter most and can truly make a difference. Within the limited parameters of our own existence, each of us has unlimited thoughts and feelings, and (fasten your seat belt) infinite power of choice—not choice about what happens, choice about the meaning we give to what happens.

What Isn't Working For You?

As we look at whatever isn't working in our world, whatever is unfortunate, unfulfilling, unnecessary...unbalanced, we see many things that we do not want. And as we look to avoid what we do not want, lo! we find more of what we do not want. Why? Because in life we don't get what we deserve. We get what we focus on.

Whenever we think or feel something is out of whack in life, we give it our attention. We do what we can to identify and solve the problem. If it is important enough to us, in order to help us find our way, we commonly turn to someone outside ourselves to shed some light on the challenges we are coming up against. To get ourselves straightened out, we might consider consulting a holy person, or a holy book, or at least somebody who knows a whole lot more about it than ourselves.

Or failing that, we seek somebody who is at least in a better position to do something about it. Like someone with more education. Or more experience. Or more money. Or more connections. Or a doctor. A lawyer. A politician. Or a family member. A friend. A neighbour. Or basically anyone other than ourselves.

Without disregarding the value of other people's perspectives, it's worth considering that when it comes to restoring personal balance, any external viewpoint, including this one, remains inherently superficial. In other words, underneath the surface, nobody knows what in the world is really going on for you but you.

What Does It Mean To You?

Because nobody really knows you but you, you are the only one who can ever find your way. The challenge is, until you alone decide what restoring balance in your life actually means or looks like to you, then it will never happen. This implies that without developing your own fundamental principles of balance, maintaining it will remain elusive. Why? Because the sole path to discovering your equilibrium, serenity, prosperity, authenticity, affection, potential, or whatever else you aspire to achieve or experience, will invariably be constrained by your vocabulary.

After all, how can you find your own individual way, if you are always limited to using the words, tools or experiences of the common man? And what happens when we want to reconcile things for which there really are no words. Can peace, love, happiness, suffering…anything really that has anything to do with what is truly most essential, can any of that be weighed or measured on any kind of scale?

No. Words by definition are individual units of language. Even strung together to infinity, they cannot describe everything in existence. However, even if we can't see the global in the local, we can see the local in the global. And from there, dig ourselves out of our self-imposed limitations to imagine something greater.

A Holographic Approach.

So how do we find our balance all across the board, when half the board is stretching out into infinity, and the other half is burying itself in quicksand? Here is where a holographic view will help. To take a holographic approach towards finding or restoring balance in our lives, we must first define the word holographic. According to vocabulary.com anything holographic refers in some way to a hologram, which is a three-dimensional image of something or someone. What’s cool about a hologram, is like metaphorical DNA, we can see or derive the whole big picture from any single part.

In other words, by looking holographically at what is working and not working within any small or precise area of our own internal world, we can also see, extrapolate or divine what else is going on internally, and – here is where it gets wild – externally. Meaning in our whole entire world.

Poets hear it...

William Blake:

To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an hour.

The word holograph derives from the Greek words holos, meaning whole, and graphos, meaning written. In a true hologram, one can see everything that is written, from every possible view or angle. Including views previously unimagined.

The Waterboys:

I pictured a rainbow

You held it in your hands

I had flashes

But you saw the plan

I wandered out in the world for years

While you just stayed in your room

I saw the crescent

You saw the whole of the moon

It is not just “think globally, act locally”. (Though that’s a solid place to start.) What we’re talking about here goes far beyond thoughts, feelings, actions…even beyond words. What we are talking about is Awareness. Your awareness. Of everything. Including everything there is no way to explain.

Naming Isn't Knowing.

While naming It will not reveal It, together we can practice listening beyond our words. Looking within ourselves to see the macrocosm in the microcosm. That means perceiving the thoughts, feelings, actions and behaviour of others, within our own thoughts, feelings, actions and behaviour. And if you can dig it, listening in the never-lost ever-present language of what Paulo Coelho called The Soul of The World. Knowing beyond words. Knowing there is no self. Knowing their is no other. Knowing there is only now, here, being the miracle in the world that you have been longing for.

World Party:

If you want a revolution Baby,

there is nothing like your own.

New Age Nonsense.

Now in the valiant-though-ultimately-still-limiting New Age vernacular, often when people think of balance, they think of aligning body, mind and spirit. Some even profess to have The Way. There is a highly technical term for this kind of thinking. It's called bullshitting yourself. This is just your same old monkey mind making shit up to make you feel like you are doing something useful.

Why? So it can subversively keep you suffering. How? By constantly running around having to be, do or have something more, bigger, better, other, faster, slower, longer, harder, softer than whatever it is you have currently got going on.

The good news is, even your mind’s most monstrous meandering has nothing to do with malice. Thinking is simply something a mind does. Just as feeling is something a body does.

Your Mind Is Not Looking To Fuck You Up.

Part of your mind's job is to keep on offering you conflicting points of view. Thoughts to avoid pain. Thoughts to get pleasure. Part of your job is to figure what to do with those conflicting thoughts. Which by the way, lead to conflicting feelings, actions, results and experiences. So you had better learn how to put a leash on them.

If you really want some balance, learn to reconcile what is going on internally with whatever you perceive is going on externally. Practice being steady, patient, resilient, humble, grounded, or whatever else you must in order to stay true and centred in the midst of everything you experience.

Robert Frost:

We dance round in a ring and suppose,

but the Secret sits in the middle and knows.

Yet even while wondering where the hell to look for truth inside themselves, many keep on looking for truth outside themselves. And yes, be it internal or external, hell is certainly a good place to look. But it's not a good place to dwell!


Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful,

we must carry it with us or we find it not.


Whatever you’ve got going on right now is perfect. Perfect for keeping you in balance. Now let’s zoom in so I can show you why. Once you know your why, it makes discovering your how a whole lot easier. Let’s go back to our holographic view of balancing. See if we can align with this wonderfully idealistic Mind Body Spirit thang. Sounds really good in theory, and we certainly have a lot of misguided goof balls competing to sell their brand of it, so how come we still ain’t got no balance?

First of all, it simply isn’t true that our whole entire world, or even our own personal lives, are not currently in balance. Just like believing anything, believing things are out of a balance, even things like rape, murder, pollution, economies, governments on a large scale, or even your personal check book on a smaller scale... it always depends on whatever you are weighing, balancing or reconciling your personal beliefs or views against.

Now to ensure any of this high falutin’ talk actually lands with any value for you, in other words, to give these lofty words any real weight, at some point we’re gonna have to make them practical. So let’s see what is really practical when we pick apart the pieces.

Mind. Body. Spirit.

Wacky, wokey, drive-thru Mclightenment not withstanding, let’s start with yoga. For mind, body, spirit, here we have an ancient and proven path for people to end suffering, by focusing the mind and moving the body to achieve a state of…for now I’m gonna call it grace. If you prefer, you can call it a state of peace, or freedom, or a happy, healthy, holy spirit or simply insert whatever reason you believe people practice yoga. Either way, for a holographic look at restoring global balance, yoga is a great example because at least 42 gazillion people have been practicing it for 42 gazillion years. Why? Because it works.

The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit word jugit, and/or the biblical term yoke. In either case, it means union. A yogi is someone who has united their own individual unit consciousness with Universal Consciousness. Meaning they have transcended duality. For them there is no more separation. They are one with God. Or their own Highest Power. Or Nature. Or whatever you want to call it.

Why Do People Practice Yoga?

At the root, it is always one of two primary mental impulses that brings people to the mat. Either the need to avoid pain, or the desire to gain pleasure. Of course, true yogis, as well as many highly trained Buddhists, also know there is a third position. The Master State that always remains suspended above and between those two opposing forces.

What all great Masters Of The Universe have in common is a neutral point of view that constantly intervenes. The Neutral Mind transcends any mental conflict between polar opposite points of view, therefore reducing the amount of internal suffering. All great Masters know this because it’s on the test before they let you graduate.

I’m teasing you, of course. You have already got that neutral point of view, as well. You probably just haven’t had a lot of practice or instruction using it. Probably because you have forgotten that once upon a time you were also a certified Master of The Universe.

Don’t worry about it though. I can easily show you to remember if you really want me to. I’m just not gonna do it now.

Right now, whatever your own reasons are, we’re just looking to help you find some balance. Like, maybe you practice yoga because you have endured a lifetime of pain and suffering and it helps you cope. Or maybe it’s just because today somebody was annoying you and the yoga instructor is really cute.

Either way, just like your boss, your husband, your wife, your next door neighbour, or your next door neighbour's dog can sometimes be annoying to you, your mind can also become an annoyance to your body. Pay attention now. Lots about to happen here but it will increase your magic powers…

Intuition Over Feelings And Intellect.

If the mind sometimes irritates the body, and if, as widely accepted, both the physical and spiritual body values intuition over intellect, then to restore balance and align mind, body, and spirit, we must recognize that what we call feelings are merely interpretations of experience.

While acknowledging that words themselves are also limited interpretations - more mental constructs to help guide us towards our own personal and experiential sense of balance or awareness, what happens when, instead of relying solely on our thoughts or feelings, we also tap our intuition?

Our intuition is what some might call the god, goddess or guru within. In a very real and practical sense, when tapping into our own Highest Power, we are using our intuition to call upon a constant source of something within ourselves that is far more powerful, true and reliable than any fleeting thought or feeling.

What I’m saying here (granted rather grandiosely), is that whenever we want to be, do, have or get something, somewhere or someone, instead of totally disregarding whatever our body is expressing, and before our mind ever even gets a chance to misinterpret our body’s message, what happens when we truly start aligning with our own Highest Power? What happens when you are aligned with your own Highest Power?

Or to be even more precise, what happens when your ultimate source of understanding requires trusting your intuition. Your knowing beyond naming. Your knowing beyond words.

But What About My Shoes?

Yeah. Now let's talk about your shoes. Are they comfortable? Yes? No? So so? Either way, besides your typical feelings about your shoes, you also have some thoughts about your shoes. Or at least you do now, now that we are talking about your shoes. Which ones do you like the most? Which ones do you wear the most? Which ones have you had the longest? Which ones are the newest? Which ones are falling apart? Which ones did you lose?

The point is, besides having thoughts about things, people also have feelings about things. And with so many different thoughts and feelings constantly swirling all around, of course people can get dizzy and once again lose their balance. Clear? So far so good? Ok let’s continue…

Just as I’ve suggested you start listening to your body’s intuition rather than your body’s feelings, now I want you considering the flip side when we are talking about the mind. Why? Because in order to balance one, you must focus on the other. When your mind is out o’ whack you must focus on the body. When your body is out o’ whack you must focus on the mind. This can get a little tricky, considering you must also use your mind to focus your mind. And the thing is, your mind always know precisely what you are up to! Also, remember that part of your mind's job description is to oppose everything you are up to.

Your Negative Mind, the part of your mind always looking to avoid pain, is always gonna do it's very best to protect you. How? By sub-consciously counter-offering you a "no" every time you consciously think a "yes".

The Essential Conflict.

The essential conflict is that at the root of all your thinking (which leads to all your feelings and behaviour), you really have only two primary mental impulses. Let's call it your Positive and Negative mind, each wanting to have it's way with you. Your Positive Mind always has you wanting pleasure. Your Negative Mind, meanwhile, always has you needing to avoid pain. Therein lies the problem. When you only have two options, it's not really a choice. It's a dilemma.

Neutral Ground.

Just as two warring parties can agree to meet on neutral ground to see if they can work things out, so you have a neutral place within yourself to work out your own internal conflict. You don't just have one mind. You have three minds.

Positive Mind - Seeks pleasure.

Says: Yes, ok, c'mon, let's go, you can, it's good, mmm that chocolate cake is gonna taste so yummy, DO IT!

Negative Mind - Avoids pain.

Says: No, not ok, stop, halt, you can't, it's bad, eww that chocolate cake is gonna make you fat, DON'T DO IT!

Neutral Mind - Determines what is best.

Says: Hmm, now that we have heard both sides, here is what we'll do...

Now Here’s The Rub-a-Dub-Dub… 😉

Just as the mind can be annoying to the body and soul, so the body and soul can be annoying to the mind. Just ask anyone with a pebble in their shoe! (We’ll come back to your shoes in a moment). For now let’s just flip-flop the whole thing upside down to see what we can see.

If, for the sole purpose of restoring our own balance, we remember that our thoughts are merely mental constructs… And while remembering that we are typically using words (again, more mental constructs and yada, yada, yada), what happens when, instead of just relying on our thoughts, we also call upon our Intellect?

Yes. As with Intuition (even when capitalized and italicized for full effect), Intellect is, after all, just another word. But notice here the power in your vocabulary. Notice what happens just by shifting from "thought" to "intellect." Instead of constantly being stressed by all your constantly conflicting thoughts, putting all those conflicting thoughts into a magic and mythical box called your Intellect can help put everything in perspective.

Now, instead of always being subject to the constantly raging battle between pain and pleasure, whenever your thoughts run wild, you can simply reign them in. At any given moment, you can simply harness and command all the power of your Intellect. How? By trusting your Intuition!

Bring It On Home.

Rather than always getting stuck between your own opposing points of view, the next time your body starts flipping out with all kinds of uncontrollable feelings, what might happen when you consciously relax your body?

In those frantic moments when you feel out of balance, totally wobbling our weirded out even while standing in your own most comfy shoes, what might happen when you intentionally slow your body down, by slowing your breathing down?

Try it and you will see. Your mind follows your breath. Slow your breathing down and your thoughts and feelings are sure to follow. Making them easier to assess. Immediately putting you in a more neutral state of mind and body. When your mind and body are clear, your spirit is strong and free.

Start Here.

Sit straight.

Spine erect.

Shoulders back.

Now practice.




Diaphragmatic breathing.

Repeat. And repeat.

You're Not Alone.

Here is what I predict:

Practicing breathing in the vibrant, cellular ecstasy of your own awareness, knowing yourself to be the master of your intellect, guided by your intuition, fully present in your body, and therefore both perfectly and locally aligned with your own, astonishing global view, in time you will feel so pure and balanced that nothing can disturb you.

I can assure you feeling that way is possible. Even if only for a moment. Sustaining that power, freedom, balance, that is something else. That requires having people at your side. Supporting you.

Ben E. King:

When the night has come

And the land is dark

And the moon is the only light we'll see

No, I won't be afraid

Oh, I won't be afraid

Just as long as you stand

Stand by me

The Pretenders:

Oh, why you look so sad?

Tears are in your eyes

Come on and come to me now

Don't be ashamed to cry

Let me see you through

I'll stand by you

Hey. Ho. Let's Go.

I dunno. Perhaps maintaining perfect balance is only an ideal. Something that can't be done. I recommend reaching for it anyway. The alternative is to let your unbridled thoughts and feelings keep on knocking you off your feet. Or choosing shoes for you that simply do not fit.

Michael Highstead

Nusa Ceningan, Indonesia


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