Moderation is maintaining balance in anyone’s life. Moderation keeps us from going overboard on time or attention devoted to any one aspect of our lives. Self-discipline or self-restraint is often a part of moderation; too little of something is as immoderate as too much. Above the temple at Delphi, the maxims of “Nothing Too Much” and “Know Thyself” are inscribed, extolling the necessity of moderation in combination with self-knowledge.
Moderation prevents us from becoming controlled by our desires and impulses. Discovering your own limits is the first step of practicing moderation. What is too much for one can be too little for another. It is self-discipline that prevents you from going too far in either direction. Joseph Hall states: “Moderation is the silken string running through the pearl chain of all virtues.”
As often as I can, I drive to Reno to visit with my Mother (my Father passed away a few years ago). As a treat for her, we usually try to hit one of the excellent seafood buffets in town, with her favorite being Toucan Charlie’s in the Atlantis Hotel. What I see so very often is plates overloaded with crab legs and shrimp – more than I could even conceive of eating. Then watch as these same people go back for the same amount or even more, and ignore the other delectable offerings. I prefer to get small samples of many different tastes and flavors, but then, I really enjoy eating – especially with very good friends. Epicurus, the great gastronome himself, says: “Be moderate in order to taste the joys of life in abundance.”
In the Dedicant’s Handbook, Moderation is defined as “Cultivating one's appetites so that one is neither a slave to them nor driven to ill health (mental or physical), through excess or deficiency.” While that is accurate, it doesn’t feel complete to me. As druids, with a love of life and all of its pleasures, I would add that cultivating and following the virtue of Moderation allows us to experience greater enjoyment, fulfillment and pleasure with all that we already have. Perhaps this: “Cultivating one's desires so that one is neither a slave to them nor driven to ill health (mental or physical), through excess or deficiency; allowing one’s desires to be experienced with greater enjoyment, fulfillment and pleasure.”