A children’s playground is often a great classroom. One of it’s deeper lessons is the seesaw. The seesaw is a simple device; the fulcrum is in the center, flanked on either side by a plank which is the same length and weight on each side. It is in balance. The children who are sitting on the plank ends are, for optimal function, also of approximately equal weights (even though it may take two smaller children to balance a larger one). When one child gives a little push with his feet, he rises in the air. This is followed by a balance as the opposite child gives a little push with her feet, and takes her turn aloft. The process continues until both children tire of the game. Neither child judges either the time aloft or the earthbound time as “good or better” or as “bad or worse”. There is balance. Things work. However, if one child, usually a heavier one, decides to anchor his or her end of the seesaw to the ground, the balance is disturbed and the game no longer functions.
Similarly, life is a kind of seesaw. In our individual lives, there are days when we are up, and days when we feel down. They alternate, one following the other. Change happens, life flows. The trick is to be like the children, not judging as good or bad either end of our seesaws. That judging acts like the spoilsport on the playground, anchoring in place the time that we feel down. Resisting the down times, believing that they will always continue without change, wondering what one may have done to deserve them – these are all forms of judging. They prolong the time down. They stop the game of seesaw.
What, then, of the person stuck on the “up” end of the seesaw? What of those people who seem to be always cheerful and happy, and about whom we hear mostly success and good fortune? Perhaps we have not looked deeply. Could it be that those people appreciate a gray day because they do not judge it? If a problem rears its head – financial difficulty or illness, perhaps, could it be that they can anticipate the reverse action of the seesaw, knowing that next comes a time of greater abundance or health? In many cases, quite probably.
There is also a larger aspect to balance; equilibrium is also manifest in macrocosm. Do we insist on total peace, lack of conflict, as a condition of our societal success? Perhaps, and perhaps in our own spheres, we mostly achieve that. How then, is there a balance? Do we not see the violence and hatred that exists elsewhere? Do we enjoy great wealth? Look around, elsewhere in the world is equally great poverty. Do we enjoy long life spans, and have we eradicated most of our known diseases. In other areas, life spans are short, and not only are known diseases not eradicated, but new ones arise. There are infinite examples. We live in a world of polarities, where opposites are connected by a fulcrum, a central point on the continuum, where truth resides.
It is not that the wealthy are intentionally causing the poverty, or that the poor are content to be on the “down” end of the seesaw. It is the human tendency to resist change, to cling, to fail to learn the lessons inherent in the ups and downs, and then to let go. The fortunate protect their fortune, often aggressively, and the unfortunate cling by decrying their misfortune, letting that misery fill their lives, and holding no hope or faith that a more uplifting future exists for them. There is still balance, just in the macrocosm, not in the individual lives.
Look at the playground. What is the answer to a “stuck” game? It is sharing the up and down times. It is not stopping the game by anchoring the seesaw. It is not fiercely protecting the “up” or clinging desperately to the “down”. We are all connected. The Universe is a whole. It will always be in balance, because it exists in equilibrium. If it did not, it would not exist, at least not as the Creation with which we are familiar. The particulars may change, but the balance remains.
I invite you to think about the seesaw.