The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.
How can we find balance in the chaos that surrounds us?
As ye have faith so shall your powers and blessings be. This is the balance—this is the balance—this is the balance. – Abdu’l-Baha quoted in Adib Taherzadeh’s The Revelation of Baha’u’llah, volume 4, p. 217.
The Baha’i teachings don’t call for blind faith, but a faith born instead out of conscious knowledge–which implies that we must investigate and decide what to believe for ourselves:
I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use. – Galileo Galilei
The sacred scriptures of the major religions of the world speak of a day when peace will reign on earth, in itself rather remarkable considering the differences in their doctrines about how we will get there. To me this speaks to God’s faith in humanity. One day, those major religions promise, we will figure it out–but to do that we must first understand our true nature:
The best and safest thing is to keep a balance in your life, acknowledge the great powers around us and in us. If you can do that, and live that way, you are really a wise man. – Euripides
Life is a balancing act. We all strive to find that perfect balance in our lives. But because humans are a unique species, and because we exist with one foot in the physical world and one in the spiritual world, awareness of this fact makes it much easier to grow and develop. It’s easy to believe that we are physical beings that occasionally have spiritual experiences, but like Teilhard de Chardin, Baha’is believe the opposite is true:
We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience. – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
The physical world, with its ceaseless, insistent demands, has a way of making us forget our true nature.
Therefore, finding balance is finding faith: faith in humanity, inspired by various religious traditions, each pointing towards greater peace on earth. The very act of increasing our awareness of the need for equal material and spiritual progress further solidifies the reality that the establishment of peace on earth is not out of reach.
It is indeed a good and praiseworthy thing to progress materially, but in so doing, let us not neglect the more important spiritual progress, and close our eyes to the Divine light shining in our midst. – Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 63.
Finally, finding that fine balance between the spiritual and the physical isn’t the only important aspect of spiritual progress. In addition to prayer–an act where we essentially ask God for assistance–and meditation–in which we quiet our mind and give God the opportunity to provide the answers we seek–we must also practice humility, and come to terms with the fact that we don’t have it all figured out. In the words of Dan Gilbert, “Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished.”
Finding the balance between the physical and the spiritual requires staying open to new information and acknowledging that what we accept as truth today, may very well prove false tomorrow.