Each one of us has a unique purpose in life. As a result, we each have our own strengths, gifts, and challenges to help us achieve that purpose. Sometimes, however, it can feel as though we are doing everything right and still aren’t finding fulfillment. We can sense that something is out of balance, but we aren’t exactly sure what it is or how we can fix it.
The ancient kabbalists teach that everyone has two elements within them, represented as fire and water. The element of water (or “Right Column”) is the essence of mercy, love, kindness, and humility, while the element of fire (or “Left Column”) is the essence of motivation, growth, passion, and control. Though we all have these two elements within us, we often naturally gravitate towards one or the other. Those of us who naturally lean to the right enjoy creating homes, raising children, and taking care of those we love. Those who naturally lean to the left are go-getters who make goals and seek them out, pushing themselves and those around them to become better versions of themselves.
While these traits are all wonderful gifts from the Creator and can be incredibly positive, if we allow one side to become too dominant, it causes imbalance within us and within our lives. Someone who is incredibly giving and selfless can become angry when people don’t appreciate them for it. They can feel like they are endlessly sharing and getting nothing in return. Likewise, a highly motivated person can become stressed and anxious when they aren’t able to achieve the goals they set. They may feel that they are striving to be better every day, but it just isn’t working. When something causes us to get upset or angry, it is a signal that there is a disconnect from the Light of the Creator and an internal imbalance. The key is to find balance between the fire and water within us.
Balancing the Right and Left Columns can seem like a paradox. How can we be both giving and controlling, confident and humble, kind and competitive, unconditionally loving and skeptical? Here are 3 steps to find balance within:
Think about the areas in your life where something feels off. This could be a relationship, friendship, business, or any other aspect of life. Feeling drained, tired, angry, or upset are signs that something is off balance.
More often than not, the imbalance we are facing in our life stems from an imbalance within. We tend to get very attached to either the fire or water side of ourselves.
Think about raising a child. If we are a giver by nature, it feels right to give and give and give. But we know that constantly giving to your child can lead to spoiling. Children need to learn rules, boundaries, and the importance of earning fulfillment. On the other hand, being overly strict and controlling can cause children to feel claustrophobic. They may rebel or resent their parents, or worse yet, not feel loved. Being too extreme is not what is best for the child. Recognizing our own imbalance helps us take responsibility for the things we want to change around us.
Once we recognize where our attachments are, it takes effort and practice to change our behavior. Someone who is too attached to pleasing people must learn in certain situations not to give too much. They must learn to let go of the attachment to saying yes all the time. Sometimes setting boundaries and saying no is the way to give someone what they really need. Likewise, it is easy to become too self-involved in our own goals that we forget to show love and warmth for those around us. As long as we are aware of our imbalance, we can start making steps to correct it. Through meditation, the study of spiritual wisdom, and a change of consciousness, we can find inner balance.
The water within us sees the perfection in everything, while the fire sees how much work there is to do. We need both aspects in our lives. If we think everything is perfect all the time, we live in denial that we can improve ourselves and the world around us. On the other hand, constantly seeing the faults and imperfections in ourselves, others, and the world can lead us to lose appreciation for the amazing gifts we have from the Creator.
It is a careful balancing act that we all must strive for, but that can strengthen our best attributes and bring us closer to the Creator.