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Finding Balance through the Non-Verbal World
By Stuart Heller, Ph.D. (Dr. Move)
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If you google the word balance, you will find over 225 million results.  So, no wonder this idea is important, and no wonder we are not really clear about it. 

The word itself comes from the Latin and refers to the instrument we know as a scale with two pans for comparing and measuring.  The oscillating motion comes to a still point, and we make our judgment or decision.

Balance has developed the implications of stability and equilibrium.  It also refers to the way the elements of a picture or sculpture and even the arrangement of furniture in a room come together aesthetically.  Balance is used to speak about symmetry as well as equality.  We can also use it to refer to someone's mental steadiness or even his or her poise.

Taking all of these meanings into account, we can say that being off-balance is not conducive to long-term health and performance.  But, of course, if you never went off-balance, you would have less need to be creative. 

According to the ancient Chinese sages, there are three times when balancing is important.  You can balance before you act or respond.  You can recover your balance after the act is completed.  And you can dance with balance in the midst of all that is happening around you and within you.

Our lives are so filled with intensity and multiple to-do lists that we rarely have the time to balance beforehand.  We are also already so engaged with or preparing to engage with what is coming next that we rarely can find the time and space to recover our balance and come to a still point.

Therefore, our best strategy is to learn how to balance in the midst of action, since that is where we are anyway.  This way of balancing is synonymous with cultivating harmony.

Going under the words to the visceral act of balancing itself, we find a dynamic process that combines directional movement (sometimes called vectors) with the possibility of a center point.  We move toward center, through center and away from center.  We are moved back and forth, hopefully in a smooth and harmonious way.

There is a big question about balance and center, which has been asked down the ages:  “Is there one point that is my balance point?”  Some traditions declare that your lower belly is "the one point."  Some say that your heart is the center, and others say it lies between your eyes—and these are just a few of the "correct" choices.

According to the Chinese classic, The Book of Balance and Harmony, there is no one singular balance point.  In the language of modern systems theory, the whole system is the balance point, the center.  Continuing in this light, what if every different mindset, mood or way of being has its own unique dynamic balance and center point?  

Imagine what you could do if you could access the non-verbal balance that supported the qualities, moods, styles or way of being you desire.  This is the approach I take with my clients and in my programs.

In the rest of the article, I want to explore some of the major breakdowns to finding balance and harmony in the midst of our lives.  These include: trying to balance, frozen balance and unrecognized habits of balance.  Then we will give you the basic instructions to help you regain your Neutral Balance while sitting in a chair, a very normal place to be. 

The breakdown of trying to balance.  When you feel that you might be off balance, it is reasonable to use your power of intentional movement to recover it.  Unfortunately, and what no one ever told us, recovering our balance is an instinctive action.  It is related to the reflex that allows a cat that has been thrown up into the air to land on its feet.  This is called a postural righting reflex.  Attempting to duplicate nature, we find ourselves swinging past our intended goal, and then when we try to adjust, we compound the error.  In other words, balancing works best when we let it happen. 

The breakdown of frozen balance.  Balance is a dynamic process, a continual and subtle oscillation.  In this light, the still point of center is quiet yet vibrant.  Therefore, it takes very little effort to shift the quality of your balance to fit the situation or your own changing desires.  This "pausing" in the midst of moving is very different from stopping the movement to hold to where you are—against the natural tendency to be open to movement.  When we are frozen in one spot, it takes a surprisingly large amount of effort to get into the flow of action.  Not realizing this, we might believe that we are really stuck or attached to our position—in space or in mind.

The breakdown of unrecognized habits of balance.  If you don't know where you are, you can't get to where you want to go.  The hidden downside of being controlled by our habits is that they create a sense that they are, actually, who you are naturally.  So why even think about changing?  This is particularly "dangerous" in our relationships with others, whether personal or professional.  Our unrecognized habits act like a filter or bias that doesn't allow us to see the other person as they are.  This also strengthens our reactive triggers against ways of being that our habits don't allow.

Regaining Your Neutral Balance.  Here is a simple set of instructions for rejuvenating your inherent capacity to know where you are and return to centered balance.

Balancing between Front and Back 

1. Sitting, shift your position so that you are poised at the front edge of your chair.
2. Imagine a force behind you that is headed toward the front.  Let it move you forward.
3. Imagine a force coming from the front.  Let it move it backward.
4. Repeat several times.  Now find the spot between front and back that feels "centered."
5. Sitting still, feel the subtle (and almost invisible) oscillation between front and back.

Balancing between Up and Down 

1. Sitting, shift your position so that you are poised at the front edge of your chair.
2. Relax the muscles that are holding you up and settle downward with a rounded spine.
3. Imagine a force beneath you headed up.  Let it lift you: hips, belly, chest, neck and head.
4. Imagine a force above you headed down.  Let it relax you: head, neck, chest, belly and hips.
5. Repeat several times.  Now find the spot between up and down that feels "centered."
6. Sitting still, feel the subtle (and almost invisible) oscillation between up and down.

Sitting still, feel the subtle oscillations between up and down, and front and back. 
You are still, yet filled with the possibility of moving in any direction.
Remember that you can regain this any time and any place in just a few seconds.

The unique balance of different qualities, moods, styles or ways of being.  When we combine the two flows or axes of Up and Down with Front and Back, we discover a matrix of four quadrants.  Each of these corresponds to one of the basic Five Rings.  Neutral Balance refers to the Ring of Space.

To learn more about the correlations between the four basic postural balances and your everyday life, download our paper, An Introduction to the Five Rings.

Front + Down = The Ring of Ground
Back + Down = The Ring of Water
Back + Up = The Ring of Wind
Front + Up = The Ring of Fire

Dance with balance to bring forth the true power of your gifts.  


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Stuart Heller, Ph.D., 6th Dan, founder and CEO, Walking Your Talk, and Senior Fellow, The Academy of Leadership at the University of Maryland, has studied the mysteries of non-verbal expression, presence, influence, and suggestion for over thirty years.  His grasp of the material is both broad and deep. He has developed a simple, easy-to-use language of strategy and movement that will give you a whole new world of skills and strengths. Stuart has trained executives, consultants, coaches, educators, artists, and healers around the world.

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