Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Healthy Balance Game

In Hermann Hesse’s "The Glass Bead Game," the young Joseph Knecht asks his mentor, the Music Master, for advice. Knecht is uncertain about which direction to take his career, about how to best respond to the events around him, and about difficulties he sees in official positions.

The Music Master tells him of a time, when he himself was young, that he likewise sought the advice of a respected elder and mentor, a Sanskrit scholar known as “The Yogi.” As the Music Master described his concerns and woes, the Yogi instead asked several questions about his meals, about his bedtimes, about his meditation practice. Instead, the Music Master had let good practice slide in each of these areas, largely because his concerns were so important and pressing.

But the Yogi points out not only the slip, but also that just when we most need to address health concerns (meals, bedtimes, meditation) during periods of stress, we are least inclined to correct our faults and return to normalcy. Ironic to be sure--we ourselves know we are off-balance (hence the stress), but leave behind balancing elements, even ferociously defending the counterproductive choices.

I am guilty as charged of this offense. Overwhelmed as I am, though, with work, home matters, personal challenges, and many, many projects for the future, some of them immediately pressing, I shall strive to remember to seek balance.

As another yogi tells us at the end of the novel, all is maya.

And welcome back to my blog!


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