Monday, April 1, 2013

Moderation In All Things


Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. (Philippians 4:5)

The person who chooses to live within Moderation will seldom be faced with extreme situations of his own making.

On the surface, moderation simply means avoiding extremes. It involves finding strategies and habits that can be maintained over the long-term, without cycling between one extreme and the other.  At a deeper level, moderation is a commitment to balance and wholeness. It is rooted in the recognition that each person has many different (and often competing) needs, desires, abilities, and goals. Living up to your full potential means finding ways to incorporate all of them into your decision-making processes and choices.

How badly do you want peace of mind? Badly enough to really change the way you’re living life? If so, and of course this must truly be your desire if you are to make a change, because nothing beyond God will help you as much on a practical level as an understanding that moderation is the philosophy of those who have greater peace of mind.

Moderation doesn’t seem to get a lot of play these days. Everything is presented in extremes. We have extreme sports, extreme deodorant, extreme energy drinks, to name a few. We seek extremes because we erroneously believe that the more intense an experience is, the more pleasurable it will be.

As we increase our stimulation, our appetite consequently rises to meet it. We then need even more stimulation to achieve the same pleasure the old level of stimulation gave us.

When we feel unhappy and bored there are two ways to revive our feelings of enjoyment and pleasure. One is to seek new things and more stimulation. You can start going out more, having sex more, and buying more new things and experiences. But the pleasure you get from ratcheting up the intensity of these experiences will eventually end in a plateau. The alternative, is to have a oneness of identity with God, and then continue life, neither craving and running after any whim or fancy of enjoyment that may come along, nor withdrawing either. As you would live in your oneness with God, choose to live your life in moderation, being always aware to avoid extremes. So, don’t spend too much or too little. Don’t work too hard or too little. Don’t overeat. Don’t under eat. Don’t sleep too much. Don’t get too little sleep—this is living in moderation.  To cultivate the virtue of moderation is to seek greater enjoyment and pleasure in things you currently do, while expanding in to the new gracefully, and with ease. This will help you to avoid the tearing emotional extremes that make life filled with constant turmoil or contrast. Leaving little time for peace of mind, where both love and God can be enjoyed to the fullest.

Reconnect with Your Senses. We live in a society saturated by stimulation. We have become numbed to nuance. You don’t need new stimulation; you need to rediscover the hidden layers of ordinary experiences . Stop inhaling your food, as I often remind my husband. Start allowing yourself to enjoy it by tasting all of the unique flavors and textures in each mouthful. Instead of doing a keg stand and chugging cheap beer, learn to savor and appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into a quality brew. Enjoy looking at the at the night sky, be in awe of the magnificent work God has done! Start actually thinking about how touching your partners skin feels. Many find themselves  walking through life like zombies, on auto-pilot. Wake up and start delving into the wonder of the world!

Get Reacquainted with Your Attention Span. Whenever I watch older movies from a few decades ago, I am reminded of just how much slower the pacing of the action is. Things seem to happen in real time. I even feel annoyed by it. But the problem is my attention span, not the movie. Even when my computer decides to go at a snail’s pace, I can sometimes get frustrated. But then I think, it was only a few years ago that I had dial-up.” Our expectations for speed and stimuli have gotten unreasonable. Start stretching your attention span by watching old movies, reading a good, long book, or going for a long walk to nowhere. And when you get restless, try to put things in perspective.

Stop multitasking and be present in the moment. If you’re like me, you’re always doing two things at once: talking on the phone and surfing the net, surfing the net and watching TV, watching TV and reading a magazine, you get it. But this craving only begets the need for more stimulation. Try to do one task at a time. Quit mindlessly distracting yourself every moment. Concentrate your senses and focus on whatever it is you are doing. Begin living in the NOW!

So the next time you hear the words, “everything in moderation,” don’t just think about your diet, but look at everything in your life! 


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