Monday, April 22, 2013

Balance: Knowing When To Speak And When Not To Speak

English: National Equality March participant s...
Sometimes actions speak louder than words (Wikipedia)
by Stanley F Bronstein

A Quote From Lao Tsu's - Tao Te Ching

Those who know don't speak. Those who speak don't know.

Close your mouth, dull your senses, smooth what's sharp, untie all tangles, shut out all glare, wipe away all dust.
This is your real Self.

Be on Heaven's Way without desires or dislikes, benefit or harm, honor or disgrace. This is being Heaven's highest, for one under Heaven.

I'd like to provide a few definitions before analyzing the quote.

Knowing is to perceive or understand clearly and with certainty. To be cognizant or aware of. Speaking is to communicate vocally or in written or printed words. Your senses are any of the faculties, as sight, hearing, smell, taste or touch, by which humans and animals perceive stimuli.

Real represents things that are true, not merely ostensible or apparent. Being an actual thing; having objective existence; not imaginary. Highest is the point beyond which further advancement is impossible.

What Does This Quote Mean?

To me, the quote reflects the predominant characteristic I've seen so far in my readings / reviews of the Chinese Classics.

It once again talks about BALANCE. The interesting thing is that it does NOT talk about balance itself. It simply talks about the highs and the lows and then suggests that neither is the best way to proceed. In other words, it talks about BALANCE.

Balance is a state of equilibrium. It is a mental steadiness or emotional stability. Personally, based upon my life experiences, I think one of the characteristics of living a balanced life is NOT necessarily to live in the middle.

This is where I potentially disagree with all of the Chinese Classics. I believe that sometimes, it is important that we live on the edges.

Sometimes we have to be hard; sometimes we have to be soft.
Sometimes we have to be loud; sometimes we have to be quiet.
Sometimes we need to be angry; sometimes we need to understanding.

I'm suggesting that we can't always live our lives IN THE MIDDLE. Sometimes we need to be high and sometimes we need to be low.

But, we need to be aware of what we are doing - our choices need to be ones that were consciously made.

In other words, if you want to be hard, do so because you decided (consciously) that was the best thing for you to do. If you want to be soft, do so because you decided (again consciously) that was the best thing for you to do.

The same thing applies to speaking in given situations. Sometimes we need to speak and sometimes we need to refrain from speaking. Sometimes we need to listen and sometimes we need to refrain from listening.

In other words, we need to be balanced.

Stanley Bronstein is the author of 7 books, 6 of which are in the area of personal development. His latest project, was the creation of the intensive course SuperChangeYourLife

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