We have defined the meaning and implications of ida and pingala along a few basic lines. But actually, if you care to think about it, you will find that the ida-pingala principle applies to all aspects of life. It implies moderation in all activities – in food, between work and play, between mental and physical activities. It implies a balance between passivity and dynamism, ambition and no ambition, between sleep and wakefulness, like and dislike, effort and no effort, victory and defeat and between considering that things matter and that they don’t matter. One’s whole life should be lived according to the principle of ida and pingala balance. This principle is not merely a useless philosophical concept; it is an indicator, a guideline for living one’s whole life in a harmonious manner. It points out that one should live right in the centre, untouched by opposites.
In spiritual life there should be a continual process of adjustment. The awareness of the inner world is expanded and from this the relationships and understanding of the outside world are adjusted. It is a continual process of synchronizing the ida and pingala principles so that they are always balanced. But this balance point should slowly rise so that one’s being progressively passes through the ascending chakras. The ida (inner awareness) is matched with the pingala (outer awareness and expression) so that they balance each other at each of the chakras in turn. This is the spiritual path.
The path of spiritual life should not, and cannot, be a selfish thing. Though you may be treading the spiritual path as an individual, it really includes everyone and everything else. If you are seeking spiritual awakening for purely personal motives, then this is an immediate block – it does not fit. It is like trying to be part of a family, or a member of a club, or working in an office, without the slightest consideration of others. It cannot be done. If you live in a family, then you can only be a perfect and integrated member by harmonizing your inner being and simultaneously having concern for other members of the family. It is the same with the spiritual path, when done for personal motives it is immediately self-defeating. There has to be the aspiration for self-perfection combined with interest in the welfare of all other people and things. This is implied in the balance of ida and pingala; it is the balance between inner knowledge and external expression. This is the middle path. There has to be regard for oneself and others. This is essential.
The aim is to maintain awareness (sushumna) while conducting the affairs of the world. In a sense, there has to be perfect balance between sleep and wakefulness. This is called yoga nidra (sleepless sleep); one should be asleep to the world while acting perfectly in it, but awake to the realm of consciousness. This is action in inaction, the union of Shiva and Shakti. It is not easy, but this is the aim.
Finally, we can say that the balance of ida and pingala implies equanimity … equanimity in all spheres of being.