Sunday, December 2, 2012

Life Cycling

We have a new addition to the family. A 12-week old Borador that we named Panda. Caring for her over the last few days, I have observed a basic life cycle: Bowl. Ball. Bed. Repeat. This occurs about 3 times per day.

It caused me to reflect on a similar life cycle I followed as a graduate student: Apartment. Department. Adviser. Budweiser. In undergraduate work it was similar, only no Adviser. Sure there were other activities, and in fact I knew then what I later forgot over the course of the big life cycle after school, that we have discussed previously. This is the answer (for me) that I alluded to in the last post. It's not the meaning of life, but it's the secret to a happy life.
I had to leave you hanging for a while.

And the answer is...balance. Of all the qualities of life that were shed in the exercise, only balance was nonsingular. It acknowledges the presence of many competing aspects of life, yet requires that none receive too much attention, and none may go ignored.

Now I was going to share a passage from Aldous Huxley's Point Counter Point on the subject, but perhaps fortunately for you I came across This Radiant Life, that provided a great tool illustrating the concept. The native source is apparently the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, but this is how it works: The more satisfied you are in each section of the wheel (life) place a dot toward the center. Connecting the dots provides a revealing pattern, and the closer to a circle - the more balanced!

It's kind of like biorhythms with added complexity and subjectivity! In the figure above, different "life areas" appear between the spokes (not my data by the way). It's hard to say what life areas might be right for you, but I think there are some fairly universal themes in the examples. Now I happen to think it's better to mark satisfaction toward the rim, to represent an expanding radius of mindfulness. You might draw other parallels to the Dharma Wheel.

So what's the point? you keep asking. Taking the time to do an honest assessment of where you are on the wheel, will undoubtedly reveal where focus can be added to increase your happiness. Check it out!
Seek the perfection of the circle, and be radiant.

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