Moderation

Up to this point, many spiritual principles and qualities have been mentioned, in multiple contexts, and to various degrees.  What is important to note, as more and more will be mentioned, is that virtues do not exist in isolation, but instead, moderate each other.  Moderation, albeit in some cases implies a desired balance against an absolute zero – ie, a moderate amount of breathing, a moderate amount of sleep – but more often means balancing two virtues, principles, or qualities together.  With each of these qualities, more is better – more love, more justice, more service – but they should not lead to excess nor lead to self-righteousness or fanaticism.  This is achieved not through balancing them against an absolute zero, but balancing them against another spiritual attitude that is likewise growing.  With this understanding, we learn to distinguish moderation from mediocrity.  We develop a sense of justice moderated by compassion, instead of a state of half-justice, half-compassion.  A type of generosity informed by humility is cultivated, and not a calculated and cautious giving.  Truth acting through love prevents it from being a negotiable commodity driven by convenience.

Speech, too, needs moderation.  It is moderated by purity of motive, by unbiased investigation of truth, and by blending one’s words with Divine words.  This resulting speech has a penetrating power that transcends mere sounds and syllables, that moves hearts in a way which ordinary speech one hears throughout the day could never.

At a foundational level, being and doing moderate each other.  It is not the case that one seeks to tone down or limit one’s actions because of some desired artificial level; nor to halt or stall one’s internal development for this same reason.  Rather, they moderate each other.  We strive to serve more, to contribute to society more, to accompany others more; and we likewise strive to reflect more, to meditate on our actions more, to develop proper attitudes, approaches, and qualities more.  There is no set amount.  Both are meant to increase and advance together.

On an ontological level, only good exists – evil is the absence of good.  Love exists, hate is lack of love.  Action exists, passivity is its absence.  In the physical world, and as an analogy, light exists, and darkness is lack of light.  And the creation of light necessitates the creation of a shadow.  It is not the moderation of light and shadow that we seek; not some arbitrary level of light against its absence.  We seek the moderation of light upon light!  The moderation of multiple shades and colors of light produces a beautiful white light.  Tyranny and oppression exist; but they are the absence of justice – they don’t moderate justice.  As we learn to moderate justice with compassion will we understand both of these principles more fully.