How can we balance the material and spiritual aspects of lives?


Heartfulness does not distinguish between the material and spiritual aspects of life. A bird flies with both wings. When both wings are equally outstretched, the bird flies as straight as an arrow. If the bird leans towards one side, it flies in circles. Our life also has two wings. We can call them the material and spiritual wings. If we lean too far in either direction, whether material or spiritual, we become similarly unbalanced and go in circles.

Today’s lifestyle is especially demanding. We have many responsibilities and worries. Our jobs pull us in one direction, our families in another, our dreams pull us one way while our anxieties pull us another. Sometimes, we are simply drawn towards certain activities, places, ideas or people without really understanding why. Is it possible for one planet to orbit so many suns? We have so many centers in our lives, but does that mean we are centered? In fact, the opposite is true.

Trying to satisfy life’s numerous demands, we sometimes go off kilter, becoming emotionally unbalanced and reactive, which in turn causes friction. Then we become worried and stressed. Our stress saps our energy and, sometimes, our health. In such a state, how can we handle the complexity of life? Though we have so many centers, we have not found our true center, the universal center.
Through meditation, we approach and merge into that universal center, which lies within each and every heart, and is the commonality among us all. Then, balance starts to emerge in our lives.

A pearl necklace consists of numerous pearls and a single string. Which has more value—the pearls or the string? While the pearls 43 may be more beautiful and expensive, it is the lowly string that keeps them all together. Without it, they would scatter on the floor and you would have to chase each one of them. When you direct your attention outward, you see only multiplicity and so you divide your life into multiple channels. You have your work life, your home life, your social life, and so many other lives. Uncentered, you chase each one of them, but when your attention is directed inward towards your center you find only unity. Your life becomes holistic, and you can no longer pigeonhole it into various segments. By going within and experiencing your heart, you find that it inspires and guides you to perfectly handle each role that you play in life.

The spiritual and material aspects of life are not separate from one another. They form an integrated whole. No activity is inherently spiritual or inherently materialistic. It is our approach to each activity that makes it spiritual or otherwise. When we are centered within ourselves, our material life gains a spiritual orientation. Then the two wings become balanced and we become integrated. But don’t forget the bird’s tail! It is the rudder that guides its direction. That is the role of the heart.