Friday, October 1, 2010

A Balanced Life

The Northeast U.S. had been hoping for rain because of a long dry spell over the summer. Lawns had turned brown and reservoirs needed replenishing. We got much more than we had hoped for with Tropical Storm Nicole, which has brought flooding, power outages and even death. This is a case of "too much of a good thing."

The extremes of weather provide a helpful analogy for the spiritual life. Spirituality is fostered by avoiding the extremes and embracing balance, stability and harmony. Buddhism calls this "the middle way" and Confucianism calls it "the golden mean."

In the spiritual life there can be too much of a good thing. It's great to commune with nature, but spending too much time communing shortchanges other soul-nourishing activities. The same is true of every dimension of the spiritual life. Too much emphasis on one area diminishes the wholeness of a balanced spiritual life.

Like a well-balanced meal, we need variety in our spirituality in order to be well nourished. Even good things, when taken to an extreme, can turn into negatives.

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