Teeter totter

Ever been on a seesaw? I’m not just talking about when you were little. How about in a relationship where one minute you’re up and the next you’re oh-so-down? How about in our economy where a couple of years ago you were way up there on Easy Street and now you’re wondering if you could end up down on Skid Row?

Every spiritual tradition teaches that when we can give up our attachment to these conditions, these poles of up and down, we are freed and enlightened. Easy for “them” to say when you’re on the seesaw! How do you do it?

Today it occurred to me (dizzy from the descent from up to down) that the only way to find stability on a seesaw is to go toward center. The center is the fulcrum, the support, the still point. It must be sturdy and securely positioned in the earth for the seesaw to be safe. It is what needs to be maintained first.

How do you maintain the center support? Well, for one thing, you have to just pay attention to it. I forget sometimes to just ask how my center support is and whether it needs maintenance.

Then I ask myself what kind of maintenance it needs. One day it might be meditation. At other times a walk on the earth works best. For me, solitude is essential. Yet there are those days when there’s nothing like a good friend to reminds you you’re not crazy. Finding my sense of humor is always a relief. Spiritual practices are meant for maintaining the center.

So when you’re up, that’s great—and we know that we will eventually come down. And, being down is also a temporary state. Being human, it seems we are a seesaw and are influenced to a degree by the changing “weather” outside us.

And, we are the center. We are the fulcrum, the still point. We are the essence and we are connected to the earth.

When we find our center, we can tolerate ups and downs and keep our balance. At least we can as long as we keep the part of us alive that is forever the child—and remember that this journey is really play.


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