The Union Path

The Dance of Stillness and Momentum in Personal Growth

Have you ever found yourself at a crossroads between charging full steam ahead and simply letting life unfold? We've all grappled with this delicate balance, and in our latest episode, we unravel the fine art of action versus stillness. As I share my own journey of self-discovery, we'll venture into how personal traits like introversion and extraversion shape our approach to life's challenges. We dissect the idea that there's no universal playbook for tackling growth and why customized advice, attuned to our unique paths, is crucial. Let's reflect on the ways our habits signal opportunities for evolution, if we only dare to examine them with intention and purpose.

The episode progresses with an intimate discussion about action as a beacon of change and the vital role of self-awareness in navigating the currents of life. Ever wondered why downsizing your life doesn't always lead to the peace you crave? Together, we tackle this myth, advocating for a life filled with conscious presence and genuine desires. In the quest for growth, I remind us to face the sometimes uncomfortable truths that pave the way for true transformation. We leave you with an invitation to engage and support our mission at Union Path, as we continue to seek harmony in the dance of life. Join us for this soulful exploration, and let's embrace the pursuit of balance together.


(00:00) Finding Balance Between Activity and Passivity

This chapter examines the pursuit of balance in spiritual growth, specifically between activity and passivity, or doing and allowing. We explore the idea that balance is not only situation-specific but also deeply personal, changing with context and individual maturity. I discuss the concept that personality traits like extraversion and introversion exist on a spectrum, and how we must adapt our approach to life's challenges by learning when to act and when to yield. This leads to an understanding that advice must be tailored to individual circumstances rather than adopting a one-size-fits-all mentality. I touch upon the notion that habitual behavior, whether skewed towards doing or allowing, presents opportunities for growth by bringing awareness and consciousness to our actions and their underlying motives.

(09:08) Achieving Balance and Self-Awareness

This chapter explores the concept that action is an ideal, a symbol of growth and change, rather than a finite achievement. I discuss the intrinsic link between life and change, and how energy flows through these processes. The conversation shifts to self-awareness and the importance of understanding our own actions and desires. It addresses the common misconception that less is more when feeling overwhelmed or dissatisfied with life. Instead, I argue that presence and the inclusion of things we truly want in our lives can displace the unwanted, highlighting the value of options and choice. The chapter concludes by considering the balance between seeking relief and the necessity of effort when we're stuck, emphasizing the importance of self-honesty and the willingness to face uncomfortable truths for personal growth.

If you have a question that you would like answered in a future episode, please visit:

Now available on kindle: The Union Path Anthology, Book One: Pain. Navigating Pain, Embracing Growth, and Achieving Spiritual Transformation:

Full episode transcript available at:

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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

"Finding Balance Between Doing and Allowing"

Episode Transcript:

I find it really interesting that with a lot of spiritual truths, we're not so much looking for one particular thing, it's actually a balance of multiple things. Often it's a balance of two opposites. And so when we look at spiritual truths, when we look at going through our life, looking for spiritual growth, trying to really live spiritual growth, a lot of times the entire project, the entire enterprise is really about seeking and establishing and maintaining balance, and often it's about seeking and striving to create and maintain balance between two opposites. And one balance that I think is particularly crucial, that feels like a lifetime project, is finding the balance between activity and passivity, or, to put it another way, to find the balance between doing and allowing, between force and yielding. What makes this kind of tricky or complex is that not only is this mix defined by the current circumstance we find ourselves in like, for example, some circumstances require being active, some circumstances require force, while other circumstances require allowing, require a more passive approach, and that there's no one size fits all, there's really no formula, because even the same circumstance, presented at different timing in a different context, can require something different. That's really where awareness comes in, that's where knowledge comes in, that's where wisdom comes in. This is a practice, life is a practice and we get better and better at it. The more practice that we get, the more intentionality, the more we can live our life practice on purpose. But when it comes to finding a balance between activity or passivity, or finding a balance between doing and allowing, not only is it specific for the circumstance or the situation, it's really specific for the person. But I read this in a book. I want to say it was like Myers-Briggs personality book a long time ago that one of the interesting insights that this book had was that as we age, as we mature, as we grow, there really is a necessary balancing, like, for example, if we take something like extraversion or introversion, both of these ideas exist on a spectrum.

No one is 100% introverted or 100% extroverted all the time. It varies by situation, it varies by circumstance, it varies by the day. The person can be 95% introverted one day and 72% introverted the next day. The person can go into a certain circumstance and be 86% extroverted that time and then the same circumstance the next time. Maybe they're only 62% extroverted. That our minds really like to create this false order, this illusion of singularity. We hear it all the time, especially when we're struggling with a problem, oh, it's just, and oftentimes that's boiled down to just being one thing. But situations very, very rarely only involve one thing, are very rarely singular. Oftentimes situations or problems or conflicts that we find ourselves in are the confluence of multiple forces, multiple factors.

In our work, our task is to find the balance, is to find the balance point in between these conflicting energies, these qualities that seem to be at odds with one another. This is also one of the areas where I think taking advice can get really complicated, because, especially when someone has found success with something, the first thing they want to do is go out and tell everybody. They know they have this feeling of accomplishment, of achievement, of reward, of relief, and there's a natural instinct to want to go tell everyone they possibly can, to go prostholatize the solution that worked for them. But that's the key at the end there right, that worked for them. It probably won't work for everybody else. In fact, it may not work for anyone else, but that's not really the point. The point in that kind of advice or those stories is to really understand the process that somebody went through, understanding what their context was and what they did with that information so that we can then apply that to ourselves. That's why really good advice takes into account our context, our circumstance, who we are, and it isn't just advocating for the repetition or the mimicry of someone else. And so, for example, if we're going through life and we find that we need to mature by balancing out our level of doing versus allowing, that will be individual, that will be different for everybody.

So if we have a habit of doing too much, if that's the first tool out of the bag for us it's just I need to do something. If I'm trying, I need to try harder. If I'm working, I need to work harder. If I'm doing something, I need to do more. If that's our default state, if that's our default answer for any particular situation, then it probably would do us some good to modulate that with learning how to allow, because a lot of times and a lot of that effort is a tremendous amount of resistance, but more importantly, there's a tremendous amount of unconsciousness.

And if we're just doing the same thing over and over again, we're not really learning, we're not really growing and, odds are, we're not even really paying attention. We're just doing what we do. Because we do what we do, for instance, especially when we find ourselves doing the same things over and over again and being kind of stagnant or stuck or just not really getting the results that we want. Well, that's a growth opportunity, that's a learning opportunity that we can choose to seize by finding a way to balance, by finding a way to see what isn't currently seen, finding a way to know what isn't currently known, to open up our awareness, to expand our consciousness about what we're doing, how we're doing it, why we do what we do and what we get from all this doing. Bring awareness and consciousness to our own life.

And so, if we are the overdue, the most obvious knee jerk balancing is to learn how to do less, learn how to allow, learn how to resist less, learn how to intentionally and consciously not do, choose inaction intentionally, on purpose, with a purpose. And the opposite is also true, that if we are inherently passive when situations, especially complicated or challenging situations, are presented to us, if our instinct is to go passive is to just seek someone else to solve, it is to seek as little action as we can possibly make, is to subjugate and surrender rather than make effort or apply force. And if that's us all the time. If that's our not only default response, but if that's basically what we do all the time, that can obviously make our life stagnant as well, because we're only utilizing that side of the spectrum. We've only learned how to use passivity. We haven't really learned how to use activity, or, if we have, we don't really value being active as much as we value being passive. We're unbalanced. We're more to the passive, we're more to the allowing side of the spectrum than to the active or the doing side. And again, this isn't about figuring out a perfect way to handle every situation. This is about finding a perfect way to approach and be aware of every situation, which, of course, we'll never achieve.

Action is an idea. It's not actually real. It's an ideal, it's something to strive after, it's a target. It's a symbol. It's not actually an achievement. No matter how well we think we do something, there's always room for improvement. And if we don't think so, odds are that's either our ignorance or our hubris, or both, telling us that there are always opportunities to learn and grow. That's the beauty of life, but that's also the requirement of life. That's what life acts of us.

Life is growth, no matter how we define what life is, whether we look at ourselves, whether we look at an animal, a flower, whatever it is, we define life by change. This is why life is so easily integrated and merged with the concept of time. So largely this is how we think about time as well. We conflate the two, as time being change and change being time, and it doesn't mean these aspects aren't real, but these are mental models, these are ways to think about things which we can actually get underneath these ideas with our own awareness. We can see there's a lot more going on than just time or change. There's growth, there's life, there's energy. There's energy flowing through all of this which is being transmuted and transformed into life, into growth, into change. So when we really start to key into our own energy, we can start to ask ourselves how it actually feels to be the way we are to do what we do, and if we look at ourselves on this spectrum of doing versus allowing, that can really be helpful to tune into how each feels, because it's a common misconception, in my opinion, that the solution to a life not really going right, not really going our way, is less.

That can be the most tantalizing target because it's the most opposite. We can think, oh, my life would be so much better if I didn't have to go to this job anymore, if I didn't have this relationship anymore. If I didn't have this relationship anymore, if I didn't have these burdens anymore, I could just be free from all of it. Oh, if I could just take a year-long vacation, everything would be perfect. But I don't think it's really that simple. This is not that simple for everybody. That's sure, everyone needs rest, everyone needs replenishment.

But it's been my experience anyway that it's not so much presence that's the problem. Especially over the longer term, it's usually absence and my life isn't going the way I wanted to. When I'm not really enjoying my life very much, I don't really feel very good. Most of the time it's not so much about what I'm doing. It's actually much more about what I'm not doing, what I'm not including in my life, what I'm not living.

And that's kind of a paradoxical thing to wrap our minds around that, even though we think that a break from everything in our life would be just what the doctor ordered, just what we need, what we actually might need is more the curated, more a qualified, more, more presence in our life of things we actually want. But that's also kind of a funny bit of wisdom too, that we can experience a natural displacement of the things we don't want in our life as we include more things. We do that, as we include our life with more things we actually want, with more things that we actually want to do, with a life that we actually want to live, that naturally crowds out a lot of the things we don't, because a lot of times our life is filled with things we don't actually want because we are clinging to them, we are desperate for them. It's our own resistance holding these things in our life. And a lot of times we cling out of fear because, even though we don't actually want or like these things, what we're scared of what would be worse is to have nothing.

What if we have an option? If we have something else that can displace this thing that we don't want, well then that's a completely different story. If we're in a bad relationship with someone and we have a potential new relationship with someone, that seems better. That's a completely different bit of optionality than just having the bad relationship and that's it. There's a natural uplifting that happens with options and this is really difficult. This is a difficult thing to walk through, especially for experiencing overwhelm or some sort of grief that the last thing we can want to do is anything. The thing we can hunger for the most is just some relief. So we have to balance that, we have to find our way through that, and perhaps it's a multi-step process that maybe we do need to start with a little bit of relief, start saying no to things we don't actually want to do, start saying no to people we don't actually want to spend time around, but then use that as a stepping stone, use that as a way to get us to a point where we can start to include more.

We can start to do more, because ultimately, a lot of this redowns reduces to our own self-awareness. We don't really have to know ourselves. We really have to be honest with ourselves, with who we really are, with what we really do, kind of pierce our own illusions and fantasies surrounding our identity or concept of self and really pay attention, really be honest about who we really are, what we really do and what really matters to us. And it can be difficult to face this self-awareness. As a reason why we avoid it Because it might bring up some very uncomfortable truths. It might necessitate some very uncomfortable conversations. It might require some very difficult transitions, and especially if we're already overwhelmed, if we're already kind of stuck in the mud, the last thing we want is more challenge, more difficulty. We want relief that ease would bring. But sometimes, when we're stuck, it's more effort that's required. Sometimes, when we're overwhelmed, there's more doing to be done.

And so, if that's the truth for us, we have to find our way to that, because the sooner we accept what we really need, what we really want, what would actually create positive change in our life, the better. The sooner we can accept the responsibility for our own life, for our own doing, for our own being, the better. That's what ultimately liberates us, that's what ultimately sets us free, and we can choose to accept that responsibility whenever and however we wish. We can take as long as we like, we can defer and delay as long as we'd like, but often the thing we're really deferring and delaying is the change that we want. Is the life that we want or the results that we want?

If we have conflict in our life, odds are it's due to an imbalance. And when we recognize conflict in our life, it's our job to not only figure out what that imbalance is, but apply the countervailing force or weight to find a way to achieve balance, to regain balance. Again, this is very personal. It can be highly nuanced, because one of the knee jerk approaches that we can have is, well, just do the opposite. If I've been doing A, find a way to just do Z, it's obviously knee jerk and simplistic, and at least it's been my experience that the opposite of the problem is rarely the solution.

It's more complicated and nuanced than that. It's about balance. It's about bringing ourselves back into balance and it may not be one thing, it may not be one simple trick. It may be a dozen things, it may be a hundred things, but we know balance when we feel it, we know what that's like and that's what we can pursue. That's what we can endeavor after is regaining that feeling of balance. And when we've achieved it, we know it. And then we can also do ourselves a big favor by installing the awareness of getting out ahead of a lot of these issues, by recognizing when we're out of balance, not waiting for calamity, not waiting for despair to strike, looking at our life and just asking ourselves how well in balance am. I Use it as kind of a life health check Say well, if I'm out of balance in this area, I could do myself a lot of favors by fixing this before this really starts to cause major problems, because in balance will always be rectified or reconciled eventually. But through our awareness, we can choose the timing in the terms. We can choose to rebalance before we're forced to, before we experience the job crisis, the relationship crisis, the health crisis. We can choose to interrupt these building forces, these growing ramifications, and choose to solve problems before they become major problems.

That, when we're really self aware, we really can't kid ourselves anymore, that's kind of the beauty of it. It's also the challenge of it. We have to pierce our own illusions, our own fantasies. We have to let go of ideas of how we are and face the cold, hard truth of how we actually are. But then, once we do that and we start living from that place, now there are no more illusions or fantasies to pierce. Now all of our decisions, all of our behavior, all of our being is imbued with reality, with truth, in truth, for real. At the very least, our life becomes a lot less confusing because it's not based on fiction, it's not based on illusion or ideas. It's real, and we're the only ones who can ever really find and connect and prioritize the real, personal and unique for all of us. In one of the best ways, one of the most accessible ways, we can start to build our own self-awareness.

It's starting to look for imbalances in our life, within ourselves, and then make effort to correct them, strive after living a balanced life, strive after the peace and the harmony that comes through being balanced. Because, ultimately, what do we really want? Sure, we like excitement, we like sensual pleasure, we like achievement, we like peak experiences, but over the course of our life, I'd make the argument anyway that what we really want, or we really hunger after, is peace, is calm, is quiet, is harmony, is a resolution of conflict. And we can find our way to resolution of internal conflicts, which are the primary conflicts all of us live through, by seeking out and achieving balance. And so, if we find ourselves doing too much, we can find balance by learning to allow. If we find ourselves allowing too much, we can find balance by learning to do, say no, set some boundaries, try, risk, endeavor, or, if we've been doing too much, stop, pause, reflect, contemplate, learn, listen, because the whole life, the whole life that we want, we'll need both skills. We'll need both abilities. We'll need to be able to be active as well as being passive. We need to be able to do as well as be able to allow, and the life that we want, the full life that we want, is found in the balance between our doing and our allowing.