Photo Credit: Brianna Wilkerson

Enjoy Life in Abundance

Modern life is full of extremes particularly when it comes to the rat race that we find ourselves in, in an all or nothing world! We work excessive hours for those extra corporate bonuses regardless of the effect that it has on our personal lives. To take care of the resulting stress we go on extended holidays to break away from it all; we end up eating junk food resulting in bad health, then we go to the other extreme and revert to severe detox regimes. Then are those people who burn the midnight oil six days in a week and try to balance things out by resting for the whole day on Sunday. If you listen to modern conversation, that too is in the extremes — it is either “super awesome”, “fantastic”, “amazing” or “the worst thing ever”, “the shit has hit the roof”, “have hit the bottom of the pits”, etc. And then we have the internet, which drives us to extremes, we now have FB live shootings, suicides and what have you. Looks like life is full of only extremes — extreme frugality, extreme vacation travel, extreme workouts, extreme diets!

One should try and practice living on the middle path — like Oscar Wilde said, “Everything in moderation, including moderation”. There is nothing wrong with frugality, traveling, staying fit or dieting. In moderation all these activities help you lead a healthy and joyous life. When we live a life of conscious moderation, we are actually living with restraint, avoiding excess and extremes and practicing prudence. I have spoken in another blog about Buddha’s 8-fold path which he has defined as the middle way of moderation — between the extremes of indulgence and self-mortification. The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad verse 5.2.3 defines a well-developed person as having the characteristic of moderation or self-restraint apart from compassion and love for all sentient beings along with charity.

Modern life is so tempting with material things available so easily that it is very easy to be consumed by our desires. We want more gadgets, more food, more this and more that. If you observe that the gadgets which we get helps us do all our physical and mental work — in the past when we did this by ourselves, we would naturally maintain our physical and mental health in just doing day-to-day activities. We don’t cook healthy food any more, we buy it without really knowing whether that food is really healthy or it is healthy because some celebrity endorsed it!

Moderation really does not mean abstinence — it is knowing how much is good for you rather than relentlessly spending life in the pursuit of ‘more’. Moderation actually means the ability to savour pleasure — intensifying its sensation — by shunning excess thus enjoying what we have that much more. Life is about choosing quality over quantity.

When we tread the spiritual path, practice meditation, we naturally tend towards the middle path, and as we get centered in our own self, all our extreme desires fall away and we begin to live a balanced life without missing out on anything. The best way to taste the joy of life in abundance is by focusing on striking a balance between extremes.

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