Day 98: Spring Equinox, Balancing Thinking

Now that we’ve completed the egg ceremony, Roderick turns to the idea of balance.  As an equinox, Ostara is a balancing point, and as part of spring and new growth, it is also a point where we can try to clear out our imbalances and start afresh.

It’s not as simple as curbing ‘wrong’ behaviors and fostering ‘right’ ones.  Roderick notes that “our important task at the equinox is to erase the polar concepts that we continually balance in our lives such as ‘right,’ ‘wrong, [etc. …] These are only mental abstractions, props that we use to support and define our realities. […] When we penetrate the shell of our conceptualizations about life, we always arrive at understanding that concepts have nothing to do with actual authentic living.”  So the challenge of Ostara, then is to re-evaluate how we’ve slipped into polarity, to be conscious of the ways in which we are polar, and then to bring ourselves to unification.

We first turn to the element of air and try to balance our thinking:

Exercise:

Thinking is necessary, but when we rely on it for every aspect of our lives, we have fallen out of balance.  Is it possible to think your way through a relationship?  Is it required for eating, sleeping, loving, experiencing?  No.  Life is multifaceted, nonlinear, and simultaneous.  Overanalysis is the imbalance caused by reliance on the critical faculties.

Another way that we might slip from balance is when we become spacy, unfocused, and unable to maintain attention to the people and tasks of our lives.  This is imbalance in the direction of pure experiencing, or non thinking.

  • In reviewing your thoughts, do you find that you are out of balance in your thinking?
  • In which direction do you tip the scales?  In overanalysis or in non-thinking?

If you find that you have an overly active critical mind, take time today to practice experiencing.  For example, while eating, focus on emptying your mind.  Simply maintain awareness of the sensations in your mouth.  Try this with your other senses.  Quiet the critical mind and focus on what it is you see, hear, smell, or touch.

If you find that you have difficulty in focusing, take out a candle, light it, and focus your attention on the flame.  Do not allow your cognitive processes to interfere with your concentration on the light of the flame.  Also, whenever someone speaks to you, make direct eye contact and do not allow the wandering mind to drift away from the speaker.

I think I’m out of balance in both directions!  I do think my way through relationships and other experiences.  I have a big problem just sort of letting go and not worrying about a thousand reasons for why I should or should not be doing something.  But I’m also spacy.  I don’t focus nearly as well as I should when I’m in a discussion, and staying on task in projects that take more than a few minutes is becoming increasingly difficult.  So I’m going to attempt both exercises.

At breakfast today, I made it a point to make something special:  roesti with sautéed onions and scrambled eggs.  Instead of grabbing a section of the New York Times to look at while I ate, I paid attention to each bite of food, noticing the different textures and tastes.  Wouldn’t you know it, my breakfast tasted better and was more filling?  I similarly focused on the cool water of my shower (it’s getting pretty warm in Eugene now, so I take my cold where I can find it), the sights and smells of cleaning the bathroom (the smells mostly coming from the cleaning products!) and the cool morning breeze filling my room, the traffic sounds, the sounds of neighbors (particularly Hacking Cough Man).  It was a very pleasant morning, and I actually felt grounded after paying attention to my experiences.

I think I had a little more trouble concentrating on the flame.  I set a timer for fifteen minutes, then settled down to watch the candle.  Alas, my mind did wander to tangents.  I’m making a note to practice this exercise for five minutes a day, at least for awhile.  Let’s see if I can’t improve a little.

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