Excessive Living & Moderation

Living Intensely

The way to safety, according to Benedictine Monks is to limit extremism. Imagine living in a manner where you push your body too hard. You might believe that everything you’re doing ‘has to be done’ and that there just isn’t enough time in the day to get it all finished. Because of the lack of time you have, you might not give yourself many hours to sleep. This extreme way of pushing yourself and not sleeping ultimately leads you to being too tired or busy to exercise and cook – thus you turn to highly processed food with large amounts of extreme additives (sugar and salt). This type of food is so intense, that it makes it so that nutrient dense foods aren’t as appealing to the body anymore. This scenario demonstrates how a simple day of extremism can continue into habit and possibly even lead towards ‘addiction’.

Various Forms of Addiction

Overindulgence and Addiction can come in many forms. It could come in the form of the excessive pursuit of success or even being too ‘obsessed’ with being healthy. Gluttony is what most think of when it comes to overindulgence, yet in monasteries, excessive forms of asceticism, exercise, meditation and even fasting are also scorned. St Benedictine Monks are encouraged to live ‘the middle way’ for this reason. This includes moderation in sleep and play, thoughts and emotion, speech and silence, work and relaxation, and more. The important thing to remember is that even when we satisfy our senses in excess with the body, our soul-mind will always continue to yearn. According to St. Augustine, what we are really seeking is a ‘glimpse of heaven’ beyond the soul-mind. The Monastic Way of Living works to help us live in a way where we can continually experience this satisfying ‘glimpse’ for ourselves.