Hi Friends -
Here is an article by Richard Lynch on the subject of poise. What stuck me is his assertion that "there is a true axis of being, a point of absolute stillness within the soul, where the peace of God reigns." Here is why that phrase "axis of being" rings true for me and why I believe this article from Richard Lynch is worth your time to read.
I've often thought about an imaginary axis in our bodies, extending from the lower back (Strength faculty) to the central abdomen (Order faculty) which provides a centering axis for bodily movement. It is there, on this pivotal axis of inner Strength and Order, where I have found my physical sense of balance in life. It has become, for me, a sensation that combines physical ease of movement and emotional confidence, a divine idea I call "Equanimity."
My experience is that when I place my attention on this "axis of being" then I am still and yet powerful, a feeling wonderfully described in this article as "poise". Richard Lynch says, "Poise is the quality that underlies power; the balance-wheel that controls it." It just may be that poise, as an "axis of being", provides an essential element to prosperous living. I hope you find this article by Richard Lynch a blessing.
June 26, 2019
THERE IS A quietness of spirit which is both active and still. It springs from hidden depths of being and may be likened to the perfect balance maintained by a spinning top. It is motion so perfectly adjusted and balanced that it appears to be absolute stillness. It is power under perfect control. This true balance of energy and serenity, when peace and power are found in proportionate combination, we call poise. It is a method by which a continuous increase of power may be obtained. And power is the great requirement of all accomplishment. Poise, then, being a conserver of energy, is most necessary for us to attain.
Most of us feel the necessity of being poised, but we don’t always put our knowledge into practice. Those who accomplish great things are invariably quiet, self-controlled, self-confident, and self-sufficient. They are dependable in times of stress or emergency and naturally they can do the most work. Compare the man who “keeps his head” with the one who “flies all to pieces.” There is no comparison. And yet poise is no special gift-anyone may develop it by exercising his mental muscles. If he has the will and the magination, and is determined to control the lower impulses by using his higher faculties, any man may obtain the power which is the result of poise.
No sensible person would deny the effect of intelligent physical exercise upon the body. It develops that correct bearing which, to many people, gives its foremost meaning to the word poise. No man is privileged to perfect his muscles more than another; he chooses to develop them through use; to strengthen them by exercise. It is just as illogical to believe that only exceptional people have the power to remain poised in mind under exceptional circumstances. Even the so-called ordinary person has mind and the privilege of exercising his spiritual forces, which we might call his mental muscles.
All truly great persons are poised in mind or spirit. Poise is the quality that underlies power; the balance-wheel that controls it. Yet no one has a monopoly on any mental quality. Some marvelous expression of calm superiority often leads us to believe that he who achieved it must have been born with paramount ability. Very likely he has developed it by steadfast effort and watchful self-training. We may do the same if we are willing to make the effort.
We long for power to meet every emergency; to be self-possessed in society; to appear easy and natural under all circumstances; to grasp every situation swiftly and intelligently; to “keep our temper” under every provocation; to know what to do and to do it, on every occasion. Like everything that is worthwhile, poise exacts a price. It demands the mental exercise that develops self-control; it requires true balance between inner and outer harmony.
We all want to succeed in life. Whatever it is we desire to do demands power. Many start out bravely, enthusiastically, promisingly. Success crowns their efforts for a time, but gradually they begin slipping backward. Why? The human system is replete with energy. It is continually receiving powerful charges of dynamic force. What becomes of this power which is more than sufficient for our daily needs?
No person should be weak or sick or inefficient. Everybody should be able to accomplish all that he wants to do. Yet such attainment is scarce. At the very pinnacle of success, the victor’s heart stops beating or his nervous system collapses or his arteries refuse to work. Why? Not because he has failed to receive power, but because he has not known how to use it. Generally he had neglected to keep it under control. He has “raced” his motor when it should have been throttled down to normal. He has thus wasted his surplus energy which might have been conserved and stored.
Poise is the throttle valve that controls our motive power. It tends to balance the outflow with the inflow and to prevent waste caused by excessive emotion—that of excitement or anger, of fear or worry. Quietness is often mistaken for a sense of poise. Simple lack of action is no more indicative of strength than strenuous restlessness is of its absence. Poise indicates a state of equilibrium gained by the balancing of forces. It is activity so perfectly adjusted as to give the appearance of suspended motion.
The spinning top seems motionless in its whirling energy. So the human mind may function swiftly, yet keep its perfect equilibrium. In our daily life we are more or less susceptible to the fear thoughts of the race. But the man of poise is not played upon by this negative influence of chaos. None of these things moves him. As long as his activity of mind maintains its balanced adjustment in Truth, he cannot falter or fail.
There is a true axis of being, a point of absolute stillness within the soul, where the peace of God reigns. It is possible for tumultuous race thought and sensuous belief to revolve around this center and leave it quite untouched. Yet it is far from being a negative condition—this quietness of spirit. It is a vital, masterful attitude, the result of a number of positive elements which have been acquired and set in operation. Perfect poise suggests balance of power attained through the harmonious relationship of one’s personal characteristics.
Self-depreciation and self-distrust cause most of our failures, therefore confidence is one of the important elements to be acquired. This is not easy for those who have always lacked faith in their own ability. This lack of faith has often developed fear, to an abnormal degree. Fear brings about mental conflict so disorganizing that it often all but paralyzes earnest effort. It keeps its victims in a constant state of inharmony, and this is the exact opposite of the quality which makes for poise. When we are afraid of meeting people or of displeasing them or of seeming incompetent or ridiculous or a hundred other imaginary but agonizing things, it is best to try to understand just how all this is going to manifest in our behavior.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Faith is a Self greater and stronger and more powerful than we seem to be, gives us assurance of that Self—conviction of its possibility. It helps us to have the confidence in ourself that we wish others to have in us. We can scarcely expect others to appraise us highly if we ourself fail to do so. A realization of potential powers and possibilities gives a sense of mastery which tends to produce the hamony so necessary to poise.
Nor should you develop a sense of exaggerated ego. It is always a hindrance to poise. We contact it in the man who, although constantly criticizing others, immediately defends his own actions when they are questioned. This man has a constant sense of grievance and suspects that others are always underrating his ability. It leads him to continually tell you how good he is, and how no other person could fill his place. He also believes that those who are ahead of him have risen, not because they deserve it, but by the favoritism shown them by influential friends. The exalted ego attitude is not to be confused with the self-confident one. It disturbs the balance of harmony quite as much as the inferiority complex does. It cannot work happily and graciously with others; on the contrary, it is irritated by its associates and uncomfortable in their presence.
Self-consciousness is another barrier to poise. It attacks both those who are fearful and those whose ego is over developed. In either case it casts a shadow of self over their work. It is said that Michaelangelo kept a lighted candle in his cap, against his forehead, to avoid casting his own shadow upon his work. No man can see to do his work well with a shadow of either his weakness or his importance obscuring that which he wants to accomplish. If he is poised and centered in Divine Mind he will cease to regard that little self which has been shading his efforts and interfering with his true expression of being. He cannot be thinking always of how remarkable or of how incompetent his work is, without losing much of its effectiveness.
A noted educator is quoted as saying that the way to develop poise is to go and get a mastery. He does not mean mastery that dominates people, but that which gives a sense of triumphant satisfaction in its comprehensive knowledge of some one subject. That subject which most interests you—begin now and study to learn everything connected with it. For a thorough knowledge along some one line gives a superiority far exceeding that gained through a superficial smattering of many things. It is a sure remedy for fear, and leads straight to self-confidence and selfapprobation. It gives purpose to life, and purpose concentrates the forces to resist irritations and distractions.
The person with a purpose fixes his attention upon it instead of himself. He is interested in what he is doing instead of what he is feeling. He lives above the world of tribulation. He has “an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast,” and he is “rooted and grounded” in the knowledge which gives him a full assurance of power.
The one who has developed poise has found the peace that passes human understanding. He has learned what Jesus meant by entering into the closet of the mind and shutting the door against all intrusion. There, in the secret place of his own soul, he replenishes his strength, in quietness and confidence. For quiet and solitude are necessary in order to hear the “still small voice” of God. One who has thus renewed his strength and, through self-control and self-discipline, has harmonized his personal characteristics, is invariably a person of poise.
The poised person does not fume or fret over trifles, nor does he waste his nervous energy in restless tapping or fidgeting. He does not hurry in either movement or speech and he knows that exaggeration and over-enthusiasm are fatal to harmonious balance. He cultivates a courageous optimism, because no person has ever been known to call a pessimist well poised. He avoids perversity and stubbornness, and he “resists not evil.” He does not argue. If he feels it is necessary to express a difference of opinion, he does so, quietly and without antagonism. He listens calmly to the other person’s point of view and gives it due consideration. He is happy over success, whether it is his own or that of another, because his heart is filled with good will toward all people.
“Let not your hearts be troubled.” This was the Master’s farewell message to those He loved best. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.” His peace is the secret of a poise that nothing could disturb; a poise that faced adulation and ignominy alike with calm composure; a poise that sensed the value of both acclamation and derision; a poise that remained serene in the midst of cruel betrayal, unjust accusation, and atrocious punishment. Most amazing of all, a poise that was free from the arrogance of successful attainment.
We have the report of this poise in the story of those two friends who, walking toward the village of Emmaus, and excitedly discussing the events of the day, were joined by the Master. There was no emotional display—nothing of the “conquering hero” attitude. Jesus did not even make Himself known to them. Quietly and calmly He explained why such things had happened. And later when He met the little group of those who were dearest to Him, do we read of shouts and tears, of blasting and ostentation, or of pride in His marvelous achievement? No. He stood quietly in their midst, giving the accustomed salutation, “Peace be unto you!” Gently He calmed their excited agitation. “Why are you troubled? And why does fear arise in your hearts?”
Too long the Nazarene has been called the Man of sorrows, as though He were eternally swayed by human emotion. A much better name would be the Man of poise. In harmonizing His personal characteristics He had found peace of soul. In harmonizing His mind with the Universal Mind which He called the Father, He had found power. His poise combined the two. He was both strong in His calmness and calm in His strength.
Peace and power-we may all possess them. They are inherent gifts, but their development depends upon ourself. Is our soul troubled and oppressed by fear and worry? We may contact, in mind, the peace that is beyond explanation. Is our body racked with pain? That peace will heal the cause. Do the petty irritations of daily life upset us? Have we lost faith in ourself and in others? We may find and touch the Source of power within ourself. Are lack and want staring us in the face? We need not recognize them—they are shadows. Although they may frighten us with their seeming reality, we have the power to scatter them into nothingness by turning the brilliant light of Truth upon them. Is our heart saddened by grief and affliction? He will keep those in perfect peace whose minds are stayed on Him, because they trust Him.
But something is required of us. We may not indulge in destructive thought. We may not “bear false witness” against others. We may not even allow them to hold a grievance against us. Before we can make any great contribution to the universal good we must first of all be unified with our “brother”—that image and likeness which is in all humanity.
If we cannot love and be harmonized with the good we see expressed, how can we believe in and trust that which we have never seen? And if we are unable to do this w we shall never have the confidence in that greater Self which is the miracle worker of the ages. For it is self-confidence that measures the height of our power. “According to our faith” we shall receive. We can make little headway in life unless we get at least a glimpse of our higher, nobler Self. As we learn to depend more and more upon this divinity within, we shall find ourself growing more and more serene, and at the same time, more and more powerful. When we have found peace and the inner Source of power, and have realized both in perfect combination, we have touched the secret of poise.
No man is truly great until he has attained this harmony of spirit. The disturbed mind cannot see clearly or truly. It sees “through a glass darkly,” while the poised mind sees “face to face.” There is positive constructive force in poise, indicating as it does a perfectly balanced mind. To be poised at our work does not mean that it needs to be slow and deliberate. The exact opposite is true; the calmer the spirit, the faster the accomplishment, because no energy is wasted. Logically, the quality of the work is finer and there is no tiring effect. Our work should not tire us if it could be done calmly and directed straight toward a settled purpose.
Poised thinking is the very soul of art. It deepens and enlarges the mental capacity beyond any limit we can place upon it. The poised speaker carries conviction to his every listener. Whether he is talking from the lecture platform, the stage, or simply as man to man, his word is powerful. The same is true of the musician. Any hand can pound the keys of a piano, but only the trained poise of a Paderewski can draw forth great harmony.
For those who would have refreshing sleep and restful relaxation, poise is the very foundation stone. We all know how exhausting some sleep can be, and how much that is called rest plays havoc with the nerves. But to rest in the calm strength of the Infinite is to be poised in the Christ spirit, and to “sleep in peace.” May we, then, receive this power, through His spirit, in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in our heart through faith. May we be rooted and grounded in love, and quick to apprehend what is its breadth and height and depth; and may we be poised and centered in all the fullness of God.