Everything in moderation
Everything in moderation
“Water in moderation never killed anyone”-Mark Twain. One of my favorite quotes. Water is so powerful that its power can never truly be harnessed, yet it travels gently in streams and with tumultuous force in water falls and in storms. We are always rearing to go. Have you noticed that when you are driving and come to a red light, the moment the person in front of you has moved forward you too accelerate with full force and close the gap quickly. The same applies while driving on the high way leading to tail gating as you speed up behind the car. We are quick to react, we are quick to consume the life around us whether it is food, conversation, or love. If we cannot control our minds how can we expect to control our temperaments. Unfortunately moderation has fallen out of our vocabulary. Even political reactions between countries have to be an “appropriately measured response.” Yet bombing another nation is never a moderate response regardless of who started the fight.
The definition of moderation is avoidance of extremes. Too high or too low, too much force or too little force. Excess or scarcity of anything violates the concept of moderation. Moderation is about balance. It is about being equanimous and resisting the tipping of temperaments in any direction. We can start by understanding moderation by simply being aware of the moment we are in. Therefore by being aware of the moment we immediately “see” what we are doing and so realize the upset of balance and hence the movement back to harmony is quick and swift. There are innumerable examples in our daily lives of how we are off kilter and just by recognition of the moment we restore moderation. Eating and drinking at every meal as one example. Acknowledging what we are putting into our bodies, and the types and portions of food and drink helps control what touches our lips. By exercising portion control or number of alcoholic beverages consumed at any one time through awareness of the moment helps us to swing back the pendulum of excess to moderation.
Yelling and screaming at another person is yet another example. Pausing before the yell helps awareness to take hold and an instant judgment of appropriate response is calculated. This in turn helps to “moderate” the response. Centering your mind helps to maintain a focal point from which a response and reaction is controlled by the Self and not by the uninitiated mind. Moderation is a great tool in not just life and self fulfillment through exercise, nutrition, social interactions but also in connection with our fellow beings, nature and our inner selves.
One might argue that if you just stay in moderation you do not “get ahead” in life or in competition or through exercise when ” pushing your limits” to get stronger or more stamina. Competition is when we get ahead whether in the pursuit of areas finance, intellect, profession or even in relationships. I would propose that the “pushing your limits” is beneficial certainly but not mutually exclusive of moderation. If you are advancing your “set point” then do so with a clear conscience, thought and purpose. Ethically with restraint the set point is moved to a new higher level of progress whereby a new balance and moderate status is joyfully achieved. Lack of good conduct, lack of faith and integrity will upset the balance and the new set point will never last. Every peak can be advanced. Even the highest tip of the Himalayan mountains has a new height each year, as the mountain grows ever so slowly, with poise and purpose, and so moderation is always achieved.
We can learn a tremendous amount from nature and its use of moderation to grow, expand and flourish. Respect, reverence and resolution are some of the stepping stones as you try to embrace moderation. The force and fluidity of water, the solidification of a mountain, the vastness of the sky, the intensity of a burning fire, and the wonder of the immeasurable Self are all examples of extremes that have moderate temperaments within nature. The more aware you are of the moment, the more “in moderation” you become. The more moderate you become, the more awake you truly are, and so the harmonic restoration of balance of your Self is attained. And is not that what we are in fact what we are all searching for in our lifespan?
All this immense expansive power to grow tempered in a little child or seed of a plant, now that is moderation.