Balance Amidst The Rat Race

07/12/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

The quality of our lives is so often determined by one major thing: balance.

Having been born under the astrological sign of Libra, the scales of balance, it seems I've spent much of my life creating balance in my own world.

For me, it seems that when the major components of life are in balance, we live with grace and ease. If our lives are out of balance it can feel like life is bombarding us with one thing after another. We can never get ahead and most importantly; the constant effort to get back into balance takes a lot of energy.

Balance is really quite simple to describe but at times very difficult to achieve. It's the ability to remain upright and steady because of an even distribution of weight, or a condition in which different elements are in equal or correct proportion. From a practical perspective, it's the ability to spend the right amount of time and energy in each of the important areas of our life.

When we're out of balance we're much more susceptible to getting caught up in the rat race and chasing things that don't matter in the long run, like material things.

Unfortunately for many, money can become the number one focus in life and has the potential to throw us off balance, if we allow it to happen. Like rats, we spend our time in an endless, self-defeating or pointless pursuit, running around making a lot of noise bumping into each other, but ultimately achieve nothing meaningful either collectively or individually. And, in the process, happiness slips through our fingers.

The great question then becomes, how do we achieve and maintain this elusive balance in our own lives?

Creating balance is a matter of determining our priorities and consciously making changes to support our choices, rather than simply accepting what shows up in life. Balance comes from first getting clear on what we want and then making the time and the space for it to show up.

Our cultures supports over-consumption and a "me, me me" mentality of taking rather than giving, which often creates imbalance. From magazines to television, we are continually told what a successful life "should" look like... from expensive cars to the big house, to the perfect body and the perfect mate. For many, the overwhelming task of achieving this perfection can not only throw us off balance, but can also cause frustration and discontent.

The key is in realizing that no matter what we do or how successful we are, we can never get enough to be happy when the focus is on ourselves. We can never find a life of balance and the happiness that accompanies it, if we are the primary focus of life.

However, when we look at life from a more strategic point of view, balance becomes much more easily attainable. If we're assaulted by a culture of taking, we can counter that by creating a life of giving.

Look around you at the givers in your life. Chances are, these folks are also the happiest people you know, proving that the fastest rats aren't always the happiest ones.

It's strategic to give because it makes life better and more balanced to give rather than to take. I think most of us would also agree, it's a happier experience to give than to receive. In giving we're in balance with the Universe, and from that, prosperity, health and wellness will naturally flow for us as well.

On a quest for depth and balance in his own life, our Inspirational Luminary, Baba Rampuri, traded the comfort of his home in Beverly Hills for life as a student in India. Now, more than forty years later, this blue-eyed yogi has become a sought-after guru with students of his own.

According to Baba, "The biggest problem with the rat race is that there will always be faster rats!"

Instead of participating in the rat race, Baba has chosen balance. For when we have balance, we're happy. And when we don't, we aren't.

Baba shares that the easiest way to bring balance is through giving. We have an opportunity to turn the focus from taking to giving. Turn off the television, reduce the amount of self-focus and look at the world immediately around us. That allows us an opportunity to give and restore the natural balance to our lives.

So today, rather than jumping on the wheel inside your cage and trying to be a faster rat, take the time to go within. Find something to give to someone else- especially if it's not money. Give of your time... give of your talent... give of your love. Start today to restore the balance back into your life. For when you do, you'll find that with balance, you'll create happiness in your life as well.

We invite you to listen to today's FREE Inspired Interview with host, Gail Lynne Goodwin, Ambassador of Inspiration from and today's guest, Baba Rampuri