Work demands, loved one’s needs, household chores. Finding balance amidst these daily responsibilities can be hard. We’re often overwhelmed by the people and things tugging at us.
Unless we find a viable way to navigate through the everyday tasks we’re called to perform, our energy tanks soon empty. We become exhausted, numb, resentful.
A powerful way to keep our life balanced is to incorporate the Rhythm of Life introduced by Saint Benedict in the fourth century.
Benedict suggested we view our lives as containing four necessary components—solitude, spiritual reading, community, and action. He created the Rhythm of Life as a template for the monks who lived in his Benedictine monasteries. In our modern age, many are rediscovering Benedict’s wisdom to infuse more balance and inner peace into their lives.
Imagine a submarine with four water tanks. Each tank needs to be properly filled so the submarine operates correctly. If one tank is empty or has too much water in it, the submarine becomes topsy-turvy. It malfunctions. If each tank has the correct level of water, the submarine flows. It works the way it’s designed.
In the same way, our lives have four necessary components.
Solitude. We need daily solitude to rest, reconnect with our hearts, and find wisdom in the silence to guide us. Spending twenty minutes in meditation at the beginning of each day centers us. The silence often contains answers. It’s a place to rest and connect with God, just as Jesus did during his earthly life.
Spiritual Reading. Books contain gems of insights that can bless our lives. When we read the stories of others who’ve sought and found balance on the spiritual path, their words can inspire us, teach us, and lead us to deeper understanding. A good friend makes it a practice to read inspirational books for thirty minutes each night before he goes to bed. During the day, he chews on the authors’ words and invitations. The snippets of wisdom offered by those books seep into his life.
Community. Surrounding ourselves with people who inspire us to grow in mind, body, and spirit is an important part of leading healthy lives. Our spouses, life partners, and spiritual friends form a circle of trust who mirror back to us who we are and how we’re growing. Our spiritual directors, teachers, and mentors serve as trail guides to help us navigate the next steps on our life’s journey. Assessing who we have or might need to add to our community is an important part of finding balance in our lives.
Action. Our lives are enriched by the unique talents with which we’ve been gifted to make the world a better place. When we use those gifts to enhance the lives of others, we find purpose and happiness. Taking a spiritual gifts inventory can help identify our top gifts, and then discern how we can use those gifts in a way that’s life-giving for ourselves and others. As we move through the changing seasons of our lives, we might find using one gift fits that season. When we put that gift into use, we find deeper fulfillment as we grace the lives of others who reap the wisdom we’ve gained over the years.
Take some time this week to reflect on the four components of Benedict’s Rhythm of Life—
- Spiritual Reading
Which ones in your life are balanced? Which are too full or empty? What steps can you take to find life’s balance—to discover a rhythm of life that’s life-giving for you and for others?
—brian j plachtabrianplachta.net