T JOSEPH BENZIGER
The modern life offers so many opportunities and challenges that one cannot do full justice to life, if he is inhibited by a tight-rope-walking always at any cost.
Life acquires its meaning by its functions. And, the most of the functions are spontaneous and repetitive in nature. We announce our arrival to this world by a full-fledged cry; right from this moment, we repeat our functions of breathing, drinking, eating and so on. Our hearts beat; pulses beat; eyes blink; all in accordance with changing rhythms.
Wherever speed and repetition are involved, a natural rhythm is there. This is applicable to mental functions also. While in the grip of anger or sorrow, we find our thoughts crisscross and disrupt the normal mental rhythm.
All the persons do not have the same rhythm. The normal rhythm differs from person to person depending on the physical structure, environment, life-situations and felt needs. Even for the same person, the normal rhythm changes with changing emotions.
The idea is not to stick on to a set rhythm always. When everything else changes every minute, how can we measure our steps or stereotype all our activities? But we should understand that when the changes in rhythm are forced upon us, when the beat and time reach a crescendo that leaves our abilities far behind, then there is reason to become concerned.
When the demands of over-stressed life throw us off the balance, the ideal rhythm of life is lost. It is true that we cannot be tiptoeing always. We may have to change the gears and cope with the urgency and emergency now and then.
It is easy to insist upon a balanced life. We may say that one should never swerve from the balance, which in turn implies a rigid behavior, come what may. Balance means not falling down; maintaining steadiness under all circumstances. But we should ask if this is enough. The modern life offers so many opportunities and challenges that one cannot do full justice to life, if he is inhibited by a tight-rope-walking at any cost.
If a ‘balanced life’ is going to deprive me of some worthwhile moments and elevating experiences, should I not look for something better?
Here comes rhythm to help us. If we can identify the ideal rhythm at all physical and mental levels, that would yield highest possible efficiency and productivity, we may refer to it as ‘Life’s rhythm’. In this, we are not just clinging to a certain speed that would not allow us to fall down; in an expansive mood, we are pushing our limits further to achieve more by better coordination of various rhythms of body and mind.
For example, if we could coordinate the rhythm of our breathing with the rhythm of our feet well, we can push back the onset of tiredness to a great extent. The ancient yoga system attaches a lot of importance to rhythm of vital functions. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar observes,1 “Your soul has a rhythm and your feelings have a rhythm… at a particular time you undergo some feeling. And your thoughts have a rhythm, have a pattern. And then your breath has a rhythm and your body has a rhythm. … When are you happy? - When these rhythms are in harmony. When there are many noises, you have chaos. When noises are in harmony, you have music. Isn’t it so? In the same way, life is either in bliss when all rhythms are in harmony; or it is disturbed, chaotic.”
Interested in knowing more? You may perhaps make a beginning with the book ‘Your Life in Rhythm’.2
The author Bruce Miller offers* a realistic solution to our crazy, overly-busy, stressed lives. Miller exposes the myth of living a “balanced” life, and offers “rhythmic living” as a new paradigm for relieving guilt and stress, while accomplishing more of what matters most in life. Rhythmic living details six practical strategies for living a more fulfilling life.Instead of managing time, Miller suggests that we flow with life, living in tune with the natural rhythms of nature. …
I do not underestimate the significance of balanced life. In fact introducing Life’s rhythm seems to be the logical next step; that would come easily and naturally for a person who has already practiced balance in life’s activities.
- The Way Back Home by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, page 7
- Your Life in Rhythm, by Bruce Miller,Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.; Original edition - June 29, 2009)