A life with balance and moderation is a peaceful and enjoyable life. By James Adams
Indulging in a packet of sweets, a bar of chocolate, or even your favourite Netflix shows are all life’s little pleasures. Life would be rather one-sided without the opportunity to treat yourself after a hard-working day. Ever heard the saying: All work and no fun makes Jack a dull boy?
Not sure what my own life would be like without comedy films, or laughing with friends.
But what happens when indulgence turns into overindulgence? Too much chocolate or Netflix streaming?
Flip the coin: what would happen if we suddenly deprived ourselves of life’s basic pleasures such as meeting up with family? Well, we eventually become unsettled, unhappy and rather disorientated. We suffer and lose our zest for life.
Too much can result in addictions and dependence; too little can eat away at our motivation and overall wellness.
The Buddha discovered this on his quest for enlightenment. He theorised that depriving himself of basic nourishment and possessions would grant him the ever-lasting peace he had been longing for. He soon realised this could not be possible. At the same time, living in a lavish palace surrounded by servants and material wealth did not bring it either.
Too much and too little – complete opposite polarities did not bring the Buddha his peace. It brought more suffering instead. Thus, the middle way was born.
Simply put, the middle way means not too much, not too little…just right. Finding a delicate balance, according the Buddha, was the way to eliminate suffering and achieve lasting peace. Perhaps the Buddha would have enjoyed our beloved children’s novel, Goldilocks and the Three Bears!
The middle way is one of the core teachings of Buddhism and is used interchangeably with the Noble Eightfold Path.
But one doesn’t need to be a Buddhist to follow this. Buddhists refer to it as the middle way – you may prefer to label it as moderation. In reality, no such labels are needed to put it into practice.
All that is required is a balanced and mindful life. A little discipline every now and again goes a long way.
Instead of two bars of chocolate, you may wish to have one and save the other until tomorrow.
Instead of watching a full series on Netflix, you may wish to watch two episodes tonight and divide the rest out throughout the week.
After working a flat-out nine-hour day, a nice hot bath might just be the relaxing feeling your body is seeking.
A life with balance is a peaceful and enjoyable life.