Being Intentional: Moderation
June 19, 2014
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.”
This quote surrounds the mural in the waiting room of my office. I have always loved it because it speaks to me of the reality that life has a rhythm and a purpose and that we can surrender to and cooperate with that balance. We are also capable of deluding ourselves into thinking we can fight it or change it.
Moderation is the virtue I will address this week. (Remember that last week’s virtue was truthfulness). Moderation and its accompanying virtue, balance, come from the belief that there is always enough, and that we are enough. It comes from the core belief that life is abundant, and that we do not have to grasp, strive, or hoard to be happy and fulfilled. One model of this is the Benedictine order which has a daily rule that involves a healthy balance between work, rest, reflection (meditation, study, and prayer), and play. In a balanced life, there is time for all of these activities.
Moderation keeps life sustainable. If we work too much, eat too much, sleep too much, drink too much, spend too much, do technology too much, (add your own “too much”) our life force, our energy, will no longer be available to us. We will lack vigor and vitality. We will forget how to have fun. We will lose the relationships that matter to us and the quality of our lives will be limited.
In the yoga sutra, the virtue of moderation is known as brahmacharia. The literal translation of this is “walk with God” or to “walk with the Teacher”. To live with moderation and balance, it is helpful to know that there is something or someone bigger than you are, that there is another way to live that is counter to our culture. Our culture would have us believe that we need more of everything. The virtue of moderation says that when we walk with God, there is a balance in all things, that life is abundant and that there is plenty to go around. Moderation is not deprivation. It is knowing ourselves well enough and trusting the Universe enough to know what is exactly right for us. It is being free from cravings and addictions. It is knowing when less can be more, and engaging in a rhythm to life that makes sense.
My father has said his whole life, “Everything in moderation.” He has been able to resist our culture’s siren screaming “More, more, more!” It has been a good example for me and has reminded me regularly that there is, indeed, a season for everything and a time for every purpose under heaven.
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