[Dedicant Path Requirement] Moderation

Moderation is an exercise in discipline and balance. Discipline: as St. Augustine said, ‘complete abstinence is easier than perfect moderation.’ Moderation is not passive; it is conscious, interactive, integrative. It takes work. It means walking in the world, experiencing extremes, and yet being grounded enough to return to center. Moderation as discipline brings to mind tempering: through an extreme process, the material being tempered is made less brittle, more flexible, less given to extremes – able to to bend instead of break. That is the purpose of moderation. Moderation is easy to explain in terms of balance: moderation is a balancing act. It means seeing all sides, trying all approaches, saving room for risks. ‘Nothing precious, all things sacred’ (Alanis Morissette) encapsulates moderation-as-balance for me. Moderation is, I think, the value I wish for most in those who would be warriors. We often think that other virtues are integral to warriors – courage, integrity, perseverance – but one of the lessons I have learned through activism is that most of being a warrior is waiting – being ready, while also being calm and still. Maybe that’s why so many martial traditions also emphasize things like meditation. The time that you spend in battle is a miniscule percentage compared to the time that you spend preparing and waiting. Without moderation, it is possible to lose touch with the way of the world, to become subsumed in the battle even when it is not ongoing. Moderation allows us to keep on speaking terms with the inner and outer worlds. This is a lesson we can carry over into spiritual practice and ritual tradition – especially today, as many people come converts from another religion, many have a tendency to push too far into worlds unknown. The lesson moderation gives us is this: ‘stay grounded.’

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About November Jones

November Jones lives in a small but very colorful house with three cats and her very noisy partner, codename: Batman.

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