The Union Path

Finding peace, contentment, and joy through finding balance; especially between consumption and creation.

Show Notes

Finding balance in life between creation and consumption is an essential part of living a life that is full of joy and peace. This balance can be achieved by examining our motivations and desires, understanding why we do certain things, and assessing whether they are for positive or negative reasons.

We must become aware of our needs and emotions to understand the importance of balance. We have to pay attention to the energy of life and recognize that if we take in too much, the energy can become stagnant and have a detrimental effect on us. This can manifest as feeling heavy, lethargic, slow, foggy, and clumsy, and can take away the sparkle and brightness of our lives.

Achieving and maintaining balance does not happen automatically. It is a skill that has to be honed intentionally. We must stay balanced in all areas of life, even when we are going through good or bad times.

By understanding and practicing balance, it can help us become more capable of navigating situations and make better decisions. Ultimately, finding balance between creation and consumption leads to peace, joy, and comfort, and is a major step towards living a more fulfilled life.

Full episode transcripts available at:

What is The Union Path?

Mindful monologues to awaken your consciousness and nourish your soul.

In this introspective podcast, I aim offer you heartfelt rumination to inspire your own growth and self-discovery.

Are you seeking deeper meaning, truth, purpose or peace in your life? Join me as I unfold observations and awareness along the spiritual path - what I have learned, struggled with, found insight into.

Let these moving soliloquies gently prompt self-inquiry as you contemplate the deeper questions we all face: why do you suffer? How can you cultivate more inner calm and wisdom?

There is no dogma here, only my pondering as I illuminate and ponder our shared experiences living.

My hope is that by modeling raw exploration rooted in courageously questioning “why?”, these thoughtful meanderings awaken self-understanding and nourish your soul.

Consider these unconventional audio journal entries as a way to inspire and awaken your own internal wise teacher, taking your hand to guide you in looking within your own mysterious inner landscape in a new way. Feel less alone. Find inspiration to expand your self-awareness and consciousness with me each week.

The Union Path Podcast - The Myriad Benefits of Balance

Oftentimes when we're striving, it can be really useful to really look at, really examine, really ponder, what exactly are we striving for? Are we trying to fill in something that's missing? Are we compensating for some lack somewhere? Are we simply trying to enjoy what's really happening?

This can be kind of a paradoxical way of looking at things, that, once we really start to question why we do things, are we doing them for positive reasons or negative reasons? Are we doing them because of the absence of something, or for the presence of something else?

It can be really easy to be motivated by negatives. It can be really easy to be acting out of a sense of lack, out of a sense of absence, of trying to fill in something that, seems vital, but if for some reason been absent.

It can be really difficult to maintain a state of mindfulness, a state of presence, because anytime when we're acting out of lack, acting out of an absence of something, we're not really grounded in the present moment, typically, we were grounded in the past. We're trying to make up for something that hasn't happened, rather than being fully aware and fully with what is happening.

But I think a big part of the mindfulness journey, a big part of the process and path of awareness is really getting to, what are we actually pursuing? What do we actually want? And as we examine this more and more as we get to know it and get familiar with what we want, and by virtue of that with ourselves,

we can really start to ask bigger questions. Bigger questions beyond specifics and into more generalities. Look beyond specific and immediate events, and look more at trends. Look at more what we tend to do, what tends to happen, how we tend to react, what we tend to create. And when we start to spot these patterns, when we start to see our lives through much more of an aggregate, much more of a set of non-specific trends,

then I think it creates an opportunity for our awareness and our knowledge of ourselves to go even deeper. To be attached and identified with bigger concepts, we can move out of the striving and the longing for the one specific thing, and really get to know ourselves on a much deeper level because we understand why we chase after specifics.

We understand who we are through what we want and what we need. And these awarenesses are fueled often by the absence of these things. But when we start to get underneath our specific desires, our desires for a specific possession, a specific relationship, a specific experience,

a specific perception of ourselves, either by ourselves or by others, I think we can really start to get somewhere, because we can understand concepts in a more holistic and complete way. We can really see beyond the specific into the general, and we can get into the general by being able to identify and appreciate patterns.

In my belief, in my experience, I believe there are a core set of basic desires that we have. Words I can attach to this would be something like freedom, peace, balance. And I've identified this by looking at times in my life where things seem to be going the best, things feel the best. There's not only a sense of joy, but a sense of ease, where I'm not occupying my life with a frantic energy, where I feel like I'm living my life and at the same time, life is living me.

Looking at these bigger concepts, that these broader ideas, can be really useful. Because ultimately, why do we do this? Why do we build our self-awareness? Why do we strive to increase our consciousness? Why do we endeavor to grow in any specific direction?

Well, I believe especially anything that we pursue over longer term, it's not for anything specific, it's for something more general. We're not trying to live one particular experience or another, we're trying to live a life. We're trying to live the vision of a life that we have for ourselves. And the more we explore, the more we learn, the more the clear that vision can be because it's based on reality. It's based on lived experience and observation of what's real.

When we really pay attention to what matters to us, when we really pay attention to what we want, what we like, what feels good, what feels bad, what gives us a good day, what gives us a bad day. When we look at the colors of our life and really start to attach meaning to it, build a sense of clarity around it, we not only learn a lot about ourselves, but it gives us more agency. That the more we know about what we're trying to do, the greater our abilities become to actually do it. It's the knowing that has to happen first. It's the awareness that has to happen first.

And the deeper awareness gets, of ourselves, of our lives, of the people around us, of the situations we're in, not only can we move through those situations more skillfully, but our learning can get a lot more accurate too. The more grounded and connected we are with truth, the more helpful our learnings will be.

One of the most important things I think we can focus on is this idea of balance. That when we're in distress, when we're in discomfort, when things just don't seem to be going well at all, and we're either confused or frustrated, or just feel a little stuck,

I think looking at this idea of balance can be really helpful. Because, in these times of life, just not feeling good, just not going well, just not feeling right, oftentimes, if not nearly universally, this is an indication of an imbalance of some kind.

And that to live the kind of life we want to live a life truly of comfort, truly of peace, truly of contentment, filled with happiness and joy and appreciation, it's been my experience that those times are often marked by a pretty profound sense of balance.

And one of the areas of our life where I think balance is the most important, is in terms of creation and consumption. That it can be really important to look at our lives through the lens of, how much of my life do I spend consuming, and how much do I spend creating? How much of life do I spend feasting off the effort and the production of someone or something else, and how much am I producing?

And I think it's really important to not artificially assign any virtue to either one. Imbalance is imbalance. It can be really easy to label one side of any given spectrum good, and one side of any given spectrum bad. But usually what we're looking for is a healthy mix. It isn't overloading any one side or the other. What we're looking for is to live in the happy middle. And where we find ourselves jostled around is when we're living on one of the edges. Where we find ourselves, oftentimes pretty uncomfortably beaten around, is when we live in the extremes.

And one of the ways we can tell we're at a balance, one of the tools we can use in our life, is to just look inside, feel inside, probe inside for discomfort, for conflict. Feeling inside right now, where do you feel not at ease? Where do you feel a little stuck, a little blocked, a little rigid? What feels prickly or painful? What feels heavy?

It's my belief that if we look at these feelings, if we look inside and really feel them, get to know these parts of ourselves, they can tell us something. They can tell us something about our experience, but they can also tell us something about ourselves. They can illuminate and expose unmet needs. They can inform and educate us about things in our life that might be missing. Areas of our life where we're overdoing it. They can illuminate the truth that we're out of balance.

And we can not only discover and perceive this lack of balance by looking inside and ourselves and feeling what's there, but if we can stay with these feelings, if we can stay with these parts of ourselves,

they can help us know what to do to come back into balance. Because none of us are out of balance all the time in every situation. No matter how out on the edge we can be or we can feel, or balanced about something. No matter what kind of turmoil we're currently going through, we were in a state of balance once, at least. We know what that's like. That's familiar to everyone.

And so when we look around, when we look inside, when we really feel after our experience, these imbalances can be really helpful. Because they can illuminate what our next step is. They can illuminate the opportunity and the need for growth.

That a life well lived is lived in balance, but it's not a permanent state. It's not something that has to be maniacally managed either, that's not very balanced either. We don't achieve balance through iron will and brute force, through perfectly and meticulously controlling everything that happens to us and everything that we do.

It's not so much equality that we try to lock into ourselves and our lives from now on. It's really more of a state of being, it starts with an intent. In order to be balanced, we have to want to be balanced. Because especially if we're living our lives externally, if we're living our lives through our possessions and our achievements and our relationships and what we're currently getting out of any given situation,

well that just sets us up to be out of balance right there, because we're too external. Conversely, if we're too introspective, if we're too self-critical, if we're too focused only on our insides, and not living our lives, not doing things, not experiencing things, not expressing ourselves,

not appreciating the expression of others, then that's too internal. Like a lot of things, we're not looking to perfect one or the other, we're looking to ride the balance of both. We're not looking to lock in any particular state from now on, we're looking to be able to ride our life experience.

We're not looking to lock down, we're looking to be able to move and flow. That's what being alive is. And when we get outta balance one particular way or another, then we work to get back a little bit.

When we're riding through life, when we find ourself tipping one way or the other, well then we work to get back. Because when we're out of balance, we're fighting the fundamental force of life. We have to use a lot of effort, a lot of will, a lot of determination to maintain an out to balance state. It takes a lot of energy, it's very effortful, and that effort can really wear us down, really burn us out. That's actually a good thing because we're meant to be in balance. Life isn't meant to be so hard all the time. Life isn't meant to be uphill both ways.

Being in the flow of life is being in balance. But especially in our modern, complicated world, balance doesn't happen automatically. Balance is a skill. Balance is an intention. Balance is something we need to do on purpose.

This is part of the learning and growing of life. Be able to occupy and maintain a sense of balance, in ever greater, ever more challenging circumstances. We can start by being able to stay balanced when everything's going great, and we can work to be able to stay balanced when things aren't going so great, be balanced anyway.

So getting back to this core idea, this looking at one aspect of balance, it's the balance between creation and consumption, I believe, for me anyway, this has been a really useful way to practice this idea.

That oftentimes, when I'm the most miserable or I'm the most frustrated, I'm the most uncomfortable, it's usually because I'm consuming too much, and I'm not creating enough. My expression is blocked in some way, and usually I'm the one doing it.

I'm blocking myself out of fear, I'm blocking myself just out of a general sense of I don't just don't really want to do anything right now. I want some comfort, and so I achieved my comfort through consuming something.

Whether that's any form of entertainment, whether that's any form of gratification through some kind of sensory experience, maybe that's engaging with unhealthy behavior. Maybe that's through overindulging. Maybe that's through an unhealthy relationship with substances or situations that I'm old enough to know just aren't really good for me.

Especially in our American society that is so biased towards consumption, it can be really easy to absorb the idea that, well, if we wanna feel better, we just need to consume something. We need to take something. We need to take in something.

But if we look at our lives in these times of discomfort, I think pretty often we can see what's really missing isn't taking in anything additional. The problem is actually not expressing enough. Not letting the energy of life flow through us, because if we're overweighted in consumption, that energy gets a little stuck.

We become more of a battery than a circuit. We're storing up the energy of life and energy doesn't really like to be stored. It gets stagnant, it compounds, and when it compounds, it can shoot out in directions we really don't want it to.

It can affect us internally. This idea of too much in and not enough out is kinda like congestion. It can make us feel heavy, lethargic, slow, foggy, clumsy, like we've lost the brightness and the sparkle of our experience, and things are far more dull. We've become far more dull. We've become far more dull because our expression has become dull. Our expression is atrophied.

And so when we realize that we're out of balance, when we realize we're consuming too much and we're not creating enough, how do we find our way out of this? Because usually those are the times we feel like creating something the least. We've been doing what we've been doing for a reason. We already felt bad and we still feel bad, and now we need to summon the energy to do more? Do more of what feels like work, feels like more effort?

I don't believe it necessarily has to be that way. Because we have funny ideas around creation, around being creative. A lot of times that word is used kind of the synonym for like artist, or some other overly loaded adjective that's supposed to imbue some sense of specialness or value,

but that's not what that word really means. Being creative is engaging in creation, engaging fully in creation. Creation is happening all the time, for everyone and everything. Creation is constantly marching forward.

And no matter what state we're in, no matter how energized we are or not, no matter how much we seem to be doing, we're always creating something. We're always creating a specific type of experience for ourselves, and we're always creating a specific type of experience for people around us.

And so it's not so much of flipping a switch and becoming "creative", it's about utilizing the energy inside of us to intentionally create. It's about intentionally using the flow of life that's going through us, to create in any particular direction.

When we look around ourselves, what are we creating? What kind of relationships are we creating? What kind of family are we creating? What kind of experiences are we creating for other people? What kind of experiences are we creating for ourselves?

Because creation is valuable, regardless of scale. But more than that, by living in balance with our creation and consumption, we connect ourselves to the broader experience of life. Because fundamentally speaking, our creation is someone else's consumption. Just like our consumption is someone else's creation.

There's a flow to it, there's a balance to it. It's inputs and outputs, causes and effects. It's a binary system, and when we encounter systems like this, I think our natural tendency is to balance them. Is to know that our best life is lived in the middle. And that if we're looking for virtue, the middle is where it lies. The balance is the domain of virtue.

And so when we're over consuming, when we're taking more creation than we're putting in, of course that's gonna lead us back to balance, it's going to lead us back to balancing that equation.

The same thing can happen when we're creating too much, when we're doing too much. This can be something as simple as not being able to accept a gift or a kindness from someone else. We're blocking our consumption, and so we're blocking that energy within us too.

When we squander opportunities for healthy consumption, we squander opportunities for healthy creation. And the same goes the opposite as well. When we squander opportunities for our own healthy creation, we squander opportunities for the healthy consumption of that creation as well.

It's not one or the other, it's both, we want healthy creation and healthy consumption. We want to be able to live on these spectrums, and find the healthy balance in the middle. Because ultimately, that's what feels the best, that's what leads to the best life, ultimately, that's what we're looking for.

For all of our striving, all of our attaining, all of our avoiding, all of our eliminating, oftentimes, we just wanna get back to balance. We just want to get back to that sense of peace and ease.

But like most everything else, it's not done through any one thing. It's often done through the balance of opposites. And in this case, it's done through the balance of consumption and creation.

I think it can be really easy to demonize something like consumption, because clearly, unbalanced consumption can be very unhealthy. But that's not the whole story, or at the very least, that's a misattribution to what the problem really is. Problem really isn't over consumption, the problem is being out of balance, of taking more than we're giving.

And so we find our way through, we resolve these imbalances, by first being able to feel them, then being able to get to know them, then really being able to do something about them.

Because again, the awareness comes first. Clarity isn't possible without awareness. And so when we become aware of our imbalances, then that becomes our work. Finding our way back to the healthy middle, finding our way however we can, to peace, to comfort, to contentment through being able to be in the middle of two opposing forces. Being able to appreciate and enjoy both of them, because we live in a balance of the two.

We find our way back to balance by being in balance. And when we live in balance, we live a life of peace, joy, and comfort because we live a life that's fully ours.