In order to find the path that offers a peaceful life, spiritual teachings recommend instead of trying to control a million little variables, one should simply let most of the events of one’s life seek their own equilibrium. Every factor that affects your life behaves like the swing of a pendulum. As a physical system, a pendulum seeks its point of equilibrium – the point of balance where the pendulum is effortlessly still.
You need to apply a force to take a pendulum out of equilibrium. Once the force is removed, the pendulum will rush back to its natural state, swinging back and forth until it finally settles at the zero point. There, where no effort is needed, the pendulum can peacefully stay in balance forever. If you want to keep thousands of pendulums steady all the time, let each of them find its own equilibrium. When every pendulum is at its equilibrium point, the line connecting all points is the path.
No effort is needed to keep any system at its equilibrium. When everything you do feels effortless, you’ll have found your path. Extremes exhaust us. Work too much, and you lose the joy of living; work too little, and you suffer from a feeling of worthlessness. Spend too much time with a loved one, and you’ll get bored and start arguing; spend too little time, and your relationship will fade. Talk too much, and you’ll never listen; talk too little, and you’ll never be heard and understood.
Every single thing we do has a point of balance. If you move beyond that point, you’ll need to exert effort to keep the system in an unnatural state. Little as it may be, the effort needed to live an unbalanced life adds up exponentially as the number of systems you need to handle increases and eventually becomes impossible to manage. Let everything seek its natural balance. We often throw ourselves into a fight against life. When the fight is lost, we will then complain that life is tough. Life can be easy. It’s the path we choose that’s tough.
In the movie “Forrest Gump”, Tom Hanks plays the slow-witted Forrest, whose “simplicity” allows him to go through life with minimal resistance. As a result, he ends up being on the All-Star American Football and Ping-Pong teams, meets 3 U.S. presidents, wins the Congressional Medal of Honor, becomes a shrimp boat captain, creates a large business, and becomes one of the early investors in Apple. Sometimes, like a feather blowing in the wind, the best you can do is travel as the wind takes you. The balance we should be seeking surely lies somewhere in between our hectic modern lives and Forrest’s.