“Hold fast, then, to this sound and wholesome rule of life – that you indulge the body only so far as is needful for good health. The body should be treated more rigorously, that it may not be disobedient to the mind. Eat merely to relieve your hunger; drink merely to quench your thirst; dress merely to keep out the cold; house yourself merely as a protection against personal discomfort.” Lucius Annaeus Seneca (Letters from a Stoic, Letter 8)
How often do we find ourselves in want of more when we already have all that we truly need? Over indulging in purchases that we only use once or twice and end up discarding by the wayside. Over committing to activities, we don’t enjoy, and foster no spirit of fun or gain. Over thinking about matters that are either outside of our control.
This very day driving out of my way I felt the creeping sensation of anger as I was cut off again and again by drivers. But, what did this anger serve other than to upset me? I got to my destination on time, and more importantly safely. Thinking back on the lesson from Seneca, “that you indulge the body only so far as is needful for good health.”. Anger is an emotion that has its time and place, but while driving today it wasn’t needed. Understanding and compassion goes further in trying to understand why I was cut off. More than this it leaves me at peace with the situation instead of pissed off at a person who might have just been having a bad day.
In applying holding fast to moderation and temperance you gain almost an outside view of situations. You give yourself the ability to find balance not just in a situation, but in yourself. Over indulging can take many forms physically, emotionally, and mentally. But, choosing moderation in life allows us to peace in it all.