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Looking at balance from a spiritual perspective

(Adapted from a Christian Science lecture)

From the June 1998 issue of The Christian Science Journal


For some years my wife and I lived in a lovely wooded area, and near our driveway were two slender pine trees. One winter we had a heavy, wet snowfall, and under the load of snow both trees bent low to the ground. When the snow was gone, they remained bent over, so I took ropes and tied them back to a larger tree to restore them to their upright position. And the ropes just stayed there. Several years later there was another heavy, wet snowfall. The rope on one of the pines held firm, keeping the lower part of the trunk rigid. Right above the point where it was tied, this whole tree snapped off with the weight of snow. But the rope on the other tree broke, so that tree was free to bend. And although it again bent low to the ground, it was firmly rooted and remained whole. A firm foundation combined with flexibility saved that tree. Firmness without flexibility caused the other to snap off.

This balance of firmness and flexibility is essential to the structure of a tree. It is equally essential to the structure of our lives. And we need a balance of other qualities, too, such as strength and gentleness, logic and intuition, stillness and vitality. These may seem like pairs of opposites. Yet these qualities are not opposed to each other. Rather, they complement each other.

As a bird needs two wings to fly, each balancing the other, so we need a balance of qualities in demonstrating our God-given completeness and wholeness. And that balance includes no lack of good, no element of sin that would drag us down. Mary Baker Eddy writes: "The bird whose right wing flutters to soar, while the left beats its way downward, falls to the earth. Both wings must be plumed for rarefied atmospheres and upward flight."  Miscellaneous Writings, p. 267

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