Our problem is in how we see the problem. We tend to compartmentalize ourselves into separate lives. We have our work life, our family life, our financial life, our social life, etc. We try to take one hat off and put another hat on as the day progresses. This segmentation of our lives into different boxes of activity creates tremendous pressure on us to shift our roles continuously. We become much like that old Ed Sullivan act where the harried performer is balancing multiple plates on long poles. As each begins to fall, he has to run frantically back and forth to keep all of them spinning at the same time.
Doing too many separate things at once keeps us in constant agitation and turmoil. We do a poor job in each role because we are trying to do all the roles at the same time, with each role requiring a different and often conflicting allotment of ourselves and of our time. The solution is to perceive the entire landscape, as a single body of choice, not little bites of activity all occurring at the same time. We need to act as if all of our roles are one and the same, that we are only spinning one large plate at the top of one pole. Gandhi once observed, One man cannot do right in one department of life whilst he is occupied in doing wrong in any other department. Life is one indivisible whole.
This is the essence of balanced Purpose. Instead of thinking either/or, we must think of one and the same. As we view and interact with multiple and competing events, we should not treat them as being distinct and separate parts, but rather as a single part woven into the whole of our lives. An ancient Sufi teacher once said, You think because you understand one you must understand two, because one and one makes two. But you must also understand and. This holistic concept means we cannot see the individual parts of a picture without first seeing the whole picture.