In order to grow, you have to experience everything, but in moderation. -Compay Segundo
Imagine a world where everyone lived in moderation – No hording of wealth and resources from the 1%, and no such thing as the “working poor.” This utopia may never exist but by living moderately, we can achieve an utopian life.
The basic principle of living moderately is to live by two rules:
Rule #1 Do not indulge
Rule #2 Do not deny
Rule 1: Indulgence leads to addiction and suffering
Have you ever heard of retail therapy? In short, it’s buying unnecessary things to feel better. The shopper is literally getting high off of indulging.
Here’s the scenario: A young woman has always been told she’s pretty, so decides to try modeling. Her auditions result in some yes’s but mostly no’s. The ups and downs of such a fickle, superficial, and competitive industry causes her to be stressed and nearly depressed.
After being passed over for a gig that she really wanted, she decides to do some “retail therapy. She has a blast. All of the salespeople compliment her in her new outfits, and serve her with a smile. She walks out of each store in a blissful euphoria.
Eventually she gets the bill for her shopping extravaganza, and realizes that she cannot sustain this bliss. While in search for her next high, she stumbles upon cocaine. She tries it; and is higher than she’s ever been, for longer, and for comparatively cheaper than her Christian Louboutin shoes.
Soon after becoming a fan of cocaine, she runs into the same problem that she had with shopping. She wants to be higher, for longer, and cheaper. So, she does crack, and eventually becomes the Crackhead Street-Walker.
The scenario is an extreme case but done so to prove a simple point. The more we indulge, the less satisfying the indulgence becomes. This is true with all hedonistic behaviors.
Rule 2: Denial cause depravity
Rule 2 is by far the most interesting of the two because the denier becomes the indulger.
Here’s the scenario: A teenager has an impulse which causes him shame and guilt. He doesn’t know how to channel this energy, and can’t ask anyone because he’s embarrassed. He is told that Jesus is the way to salvation, and he desperately wants to be saved.
So, he indulges in religion, to help him deny his impulse. For a while it works, but eventually his religious addiction goes through the cycle of all addiction, and is no longer strong enough to balance the fulcrum weighed down by the now massive and festering impulse that has been slowly building over the years.
Sadly and ironically, his new indulgence becomes the shameful impulse that he has been running from for most of his life. Again he re-enters into the cycle of addiction, and eventually becomes the Creepy Catholic Priest.
Using denial to avoid problems and/or indulgence to fill voids masks the symptoms of the deeper issue, but does little to cure it. We must first find the root cause of our behaviors through meditative self-reflection or real therapy with an expert, then work diligently to eradicate it completely.
It’s not going to be easy, but nothing worth doing ever is.