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Understanding The Importance Of Balance Through Blake's Mythology


Equilibrium To Attain Accord

In the sea of books and perspectives, many topics and theories have either been lost or long forgotten. One such topic is Blake’s Mythology which is ancient and forgotten lost in that vast sea. Despite its ancient stature, it is a topic which is very relatable and one which hits home, regarding the concept of life.


William Blake was a poet and a painter, who was an important figure of the Romantic age. Blake was a very religious man and he felt that amazing things in the world which he saw, came from God. His art favors sentiment over realism. His works have opened a lot of doors to ponder regarding various perspectives and areas from which one can learn a lot.


Like, having to learn a lot from children as their views which are different and dramatic gives a lot of insight to us and we begin to question our beliefs and thoughts, mentioned in Blake’s Songs of Innocence. His work also emphasized on sexual openness in relationships and lack of jealousy, both of them attributes which completes a person as a whole.


In Vala, one of his works, the idea of jealousy is the integral topic and one of the bases for the story. The poem analyses how mankind is locked up in the restrictions of the mind, but it doesn’t offer a way of escape. Vala, or the Four Zoas refers to one of the uncompleted prophetic books by Blake. The identifying main characters of the book are the Four Zoas, {Urthrona, Urizen, Luvah and Tharmas} who were created by the Fall of Albion in Blake’s Mythology. The parts into which Albion is divided are the Four Zoas:

  • Urthrona – inspiration and imagination

  • Urizen – reason and conventional society

  • Luvah – love, passion and emotive faculties

  • Tharmas – representing instinct and strength

The Zoas and Spectres (one aspect of the fourfold nature of human psyche along with Humanity, Emanation and Shadow shown in Blake’s Jerusalem) are components of life.


Blake’s Mythology chiefly talks about how spectre’s in one’s life are basically components which sums up and balances one’s life as a whole. It is stated by him that if one wants to be successful, balance is important rather than taking only one aspect of life and focusing vigorously on that. And this is a concept which links to the everyday psychology of human beings.


Balance, according to some definitions, is a situation in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions. Now, instead of going into over-the-top definitions, simply for us, balance is something stable. Something which gives equality in different aspects and gives you security.


In life, it is the same. Balance is a state of equilibrium in life which makes you steady. In daily life, we humans have different spectre’s. Components which are important for us to achieve in life.


It can be our everyday goal. For example: I have goals like studying well and getting a good job, taking care of my family, making many friends, helping people, being kind, and achieving greatness. Now, in order to attain them, we work hard. The fulfillment of all these spectre’s is what gives balance in my life. That’s the same way with everyone.


Spectre’s and Zoas could be anything, and the aim is to create the balance in all the given zoas. It could range from a specific goal like being the head of an organization to something general as being loyal to your partner. It depends on what one wants to keep and delete in their lives as an individual being.


While this conversation is going on, did you think about what your spectre’s could be? Think about it then!


Each of us, as we grow, makes different kinds of goals to achieve, and find motivations to achieve them. The completion of all of them equally is what makes your life complete.


Now, how we do that is something tricky and is discovered as we go along the way. Often, one forgets to fulfill one spectre or component and fulfills another one, which could be troublesome. This could be compared with the ‘Wheel of Life’ created by Paul J. Meyer. Where, ensuring all the important spectre’s in your life are satisfied and given importance to.


The process of balancing out things might not always be smooth. Now when there is an imbalance in our treatment, that might lead to suffering, disparity.


This could be due to many reasons, and some of it could be, overcompensation and avoidance. Avoiding certain aspects might lead you to overcompensate on the other aspect. And, sometimes, in order to avoid the avoidance, we might start overcompensating in that particular aspect.

Confusing? Let me break it down to you!


Let us assume that I am a doctor and I am a working mother of two kids. Now, I am very good at what I do and I am famous for it. I strive to be a good mother on the side but it's not always possible with a tight schedule. So, I neglect my kid and that’s where one weight in my weight scale is going up and the other is coming down.

That is avoiding one aspect of my life and concentrating on the other.


Now, in order to compensate for that, I start taking more care of my kids and I start to neglect my work. Here, in order to fulfill one aspect again, I am avoiding another aspect by overcompensating in one.


It is explained in a quote by Catherine Pulsifer that, “Too much of one thing can end up creating stress; this is something that no one needs in their life. But living a life in balance can provide harmony and peace”. As Catherine also said, “In all aspects of our lives balance in key. Doing one thing too much can cause upset, like the old saying goes, “everything in moderation is the secret!”. Take the secret and fly away towards your destination.


Neglection of one spectre and fulfillment of another would do nothing but weigh you down unevenly. So, keeping in mind the concept of avoiding and overcompensating, one can always work towards getting a proper even state.


Not just that but Blake’s writings also offer us other topics which can cause hindrance towards achieving our homeostasis. Such a topic is ‘Shadow’. A shadow is something which is the opposite of ego.

Ego is something we show to the world but shadow is something we hide from the world. New?


For example, I am a very good artist, writer and I am very good at talking and I tell all those things about myself to other people but, I am also very critical when it comes to certain things, certain people, certain situations. Now that is something I don’t want people to know.


Whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing, it is something deep about me and I don’t wish for people to know that. And that is my shadow. The presence of that shadow, irrespective of its nature, might cause one to fall back in their journey to attain homeostasis. Integrating that from one’s life will help you achieve what you want.


Shadows might be anything. They can stem from a lot of things. Every person has different shadows, different stories. For example, one’s shadow self could be self-loathing, one's anger, one's submissiveness, and one’s could be any kind of cognitive distortions we all feel.


Realizing what your shadow refers to, understanding where it's coming from, resolving and integrating them in our real personality is always the key. That will make you align as a whole and help you bring all your sum components into a congruence of one’s self, surroundings and social aspects. Often, what happens is that we ignore the ugly parts of us. Or what we think is ugly about us. Irrespective of whether it’s good or bad, acknowledging that there is something, a characteristic, a perspective, a thought, a habit, that is restricting you to gain your parity.


The topic of Shadow brings us to other topics which helps attain a balance or deter it.

One such topic is congruence and alignment with self and field. To explain the concept simply let me give an example. Let us say my parents are a modern patriarchal family and they don’t really have a problem with me wearing modern clothes. But despite that, they have a problem with me wearing modern dresses when we go to our relative’s home. Though they are okay within their own self, they have a problem when it comes to certain situations (field), and in social aspects. This might also cause a hindrance when it comes to being even. The clash when it comes to these should be rectified. It could be caused due to a number of reasons such as moralistic views, religious views, societal views, self-perceptions but it should be resolved.


Overcoming these will help one gain a lot of insight and understand oneself and others in a different light. It will help one overcome the obstacles to reach their path in the wheel of life.


There comes a question sometimes in our actively thoughtful minds: Why work so hard for this balance? Is balance really that important? Can’t it be messy and good?


Sure, always having a stable, proper life could be boring. Having something messy and crazy is exciting. But then, the life of a human being is a spectrum of many things combined. You have mess, you have stability. You have chaos, you have balance. In life all the spectre’s we note down for ourselves, the shadows we sport and all the avoidance we make place for, are the chaos we create in our lives. They are the adventures we need to fulfill and the messy path we stumble upon.


Now, whether we choose to slip in the messy mud path or step over it and reach down the walk of harmony is in our hands. All chaos at the end, must lead to a beautiful space of serenity for you to complete the cycle of your life. Enjoy your walk down the mess in hopes and in determination to reach your destination of balance.


Working hard for this balance is a necessity in order for any of us to not create an imbalance, a fall back in life. Imbalance leads to unevenness, uncertainty, and honestly speaking? Uncertainty is the main aspect a human being runs from. Humans like to be secure and certain. They like to know things. To do things. Uncertainty will make you slow down and that’s something we don’t want, isn’t it? Imbalance causes disruption in life and the path won’t be smooth to walk on.


For example, let’s say that I don’t take care of the proper balance in my life. As I mentioned above, I am a critical being. That’s my shadow. It’s because of my personal insecurities. Here, I am letting my own insecurities get the best of me and I am being super critical of myself! I am letting my shadows win over me. I am letting myself fall off the pit.


Where will it lead me? Nowhere except for a dark tunnel. Letting that go and stepping out of it does not just give me balance but closure in life.


We all are born to be gone one day. That’s life but, how we go in serendipity is what gives closure to us as a being as a whole.


Having balance is a very important aspect of one’s life. Because in the end, all it comes down to is the eternal peace or harmony a person seeks from life. In order, to attain it one needs to always tackle the problems thrown at them. The adventures that are thrown at them as challenges. These few hindrances, shadows, spectre’s are something which makes you climb one mountain at a time and reach your Everest of accord.


Afterall “Getting in balance is not so much about adopting new strategies to change your behaviors; as it is about realigning yourself in all of your thoughts so as to create a balance between what you desire and how you conduct your life on a daily basis”, as said by Wayne Dyer. Think about it. Now. What are your spectre’s? What are your shadows? Which components of your life are you avoiding? Where are you overcompensating? Are your congruences and alignments in tranquility? Where are you facing the disparity in life?

Question yourself and answer yourself and start your journey towards solidity.


Conclusion

William Blake was a painter and poet in the Romantic Age. His work talks about creating a balance in life, and for the same he has introduced the concept of zoas or spectres. His creations with the focus on Balance tend to be known as Balke’s Mythology. Balance refers to a state of equilibrium that we try to achieve in our day to day lives. Disparity is always the result of imbalance in our day to day lives. Even, consistent and extra focus on one area creates absence in the other area finally leading to disparity. Another major need is to integrate ego and shadow. Ego is what is visible, shadow is something that we do not want to show. As a human being we are a combo of both and we do need to integrate both in order to develop as a whole. Another important aim is to align self and the field, again so as to create balance because at the end it is this sweet balance that provides all the happiness of life.



References

https://www.bl.uk/romantics-and-victorians/articles/the-title-page-of-william-blakes-songs-of-innocence-1789

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake%27s_mythology

This article on ''Understanding The Importance Of Balance Through Blake's Mythology' has been contributed by Parinitha Kodali who is doing her Bachelor's in Clinical Psychology at Amity University, Mumbai. and the article is Peer reviewed by Komal Saloni who is a post-graduate student, pursuing masters in psychology.


Both Parinitha and Komal are part of the Global Internship Research Program (GIRP), which is mentored by Anil Thomas.


Parinitha's interests are mostly based on clinical and cognitive psychology, she is also interested in gaining knowledge from various fields including research.


Komal's favourite branches in the field are Cognitive psychology and social psychology.


GIRP is an initiative by (International Journal of Neurolinguistics & Gestalt Psychology) IJNGP and Umang Foundation Trust to encourage young adults across our globe to showcase their research skills in psychology and to present it in creative content expression.


Anil is an internationally certified NLP Master Practitioner and Gestalt Therapist. He has conducted NLP Training in Mumbai, and across 6 other countries. The NLP practitioner course is conducted twice every year. To get your NLP certification

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