Saturday, April 2, 2011

Balancing Act

The other day I watched my almost two-year old son try to balance on the edge of the curb.  He took several steps in a row, slipped off, got back on again, slipped off immediately, and then finally had several yards of successful balancing.  As impressive a toddler feat as this is, what struck me most was his demeanor.

When he lost his balance, he just got back on and started moving forward again.  He did not berate himself for getting out of balance.   With a toddler's blissful absence of  mind-talk --equanimity if you will -- he did not judge himself at all.  Conversely, he instinctively realized he could not make progress unless he regained his balance first.  He experimented a bit by standing taller and shifting his weight around until he regained equilibrium

Equilibrium.  It's such a great word -- it refers not only to the physical act of balancing, but also the mental act, equanimity.  Sure, adult lives are complex.  But the principals of balancing are still simple; in the absence of mind-talk, it's just not that complicated.

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