Balance. Spiritual balance is the ability to be happy in spite of circumstances.
Spiritual balance is the obvious answer to the obsession that sometimes accompanies religious practice, occult practice, philosophical understandings. The obsession - the assertion that one is right, that something that you're doing is better than something that somebody else is doing, that the way you're doing it is better than the way someone else does it.
Spiritual balance is how you deal with opposition, opposition outside of yourself and opposition within yourself. Spiritual balance is tai chi. It's the center of things. It's the place where yin and yang meet, where all things come together. In the chakras, it's considered the heart chakra, anahata, the central chakra - three above and three below - which symbolizes happiness and love, psychic oneness, spiritual understanding.
Balance is a central principle in all building, in architecture and design.
So, pure and simple, balance is happiness - happiness in spiritual practice, happiness while meditating, happiness while working, while playing, in pleasure and pain, in sickness and in health, in life and in death, in all circumstances. That's balance.
How do you do that? (Rama laughs.) How can you be balanced in a world like this? You've got to be kidding, right?
Well, the world has always been this way, at least in one form or another. I'm sure in the Middle Ages, in ancient Chinese civilization or the mystery world of Egypt, ancient Atlantis - you pick a universe, a cosmos, it doesn't matter - there's always something going on. There's always somebody on your case. Dogs have fleas; people have each other. We're born to die. Life is a continuing tragedy, tragicomedy. Everything and everyone we love suffers. We suffer. How can you be happy? Life is a horror show, isn't it? Well, sure, certainly, I mean, yeah, obviously. Anybody who doesn't see that has not grown up and known life.
Spiritual balance is the ability to, in spite of all that, remain happy - not to be hostile to your neighbor when they're being hostile, not to get caught up in the trivia. Spiritual balance, in other words, is the ability to climb up the mountain and be in a world of light. The lack of spiritual balance is to get so hassled by the details of light and trying to get everything so straight to climb up the spiritual mountain that you never really do.
You wanted to have a great run today. But there were so many things you had to do first, and running is your favorite thing - it's when you feel best, your body's alive, your mind is awake, everything's great. So you had to make the bed, you had to meditate, you had to work, you had to clean. And by the time your moment for running came, you were so tired that you didn't run. That's the lack of spiritual balance.
Spiritual balance is the ability to get above it all, to see that there's something more noble - call it divine, happy, bright, brilliant - to this thing we call life. Spiritual balance is the ability to be straight with yourself. The purpose of life is happiness. What else could it possibly be? The purpose of life is something that, of course, we choose. Life doesn't have a purpose. Don't be absurd. The cosmos just is. But, by choosing a purpose, In yoga, in Buddhism, we learn that by choosing a purpose, we choose an outcome. Our purpose, our intent, is the outcome immediately. So if you feel that the purpose of life is happiness, enlightenment, understanding, then that's what you'll experience. If you feel the purpose of life is struggle, Darwinian fitness, dog eat dog, then I guess you'll be eaten by a dog, I don't know what will happen, or you'll eat a dog. You experience or you become what you focus on - this is one of the principle rules in yoga.