Just a moment...yeeeerrrshhh. Ah, that's better. I needed a good, long stretch.
"I thought you had enough of a stretch in Sing Sing."
Cool it, Nicky! I was undercover. Don't you have trolling to do? Yeah, you thought I didn't know about that. We'll talk later.
OK, before I was so rudely interrupted...
One of the most important watchwords in my life is "balance". (One of my favorite Moody Blues albums is "A Question of Balance".) More often than not, going to an extreme can get you into trouble. Buddha was right in this area when he said, "Seek the middle way". (Don't give me that look. You know it's true, never mind the source.) If you focus on peripherals too much, you miss out on what life has to offer.
- People will get so locked into their political views that "the other side" never has a valid point to take into consideration.
- You can turn your churchgoing activities into a religion. I heard someone say that they were at the church not only every time it was open, but they had a key.
- Extreme Minimalism. Some people have almost no possessions, think you should not have them either, turn it into a kind of spiritual "value", make it a political movement. Back off, Jack. Reducing possessions and/or becoming a Minimalist is the most individualistic philosophy that I can think of, don't ruin it, capice?
- Don't get so wrapped up in hate that you become "stupidified", like I discussed in this post.
- I've seen people in the "green movement" let environmentalism rule every aspect of their lives, and that becomes an extreme religion of its own.
- Sports fans, musical artist fans, whatever else fans will live and breathe their pet adulation to the point where their friends wonder about their mental health.
The other thing I want to qualify here is that when someone is a Christian, it's a way of life. While we are to be ever-mindful of Christ and that he is guiding our lives, we have no call to be obnoxious about it (like standing at preaching at the office and getting fired; that does not bring glory to God, you see). Live and be guided, but as my father said, "Don't be so Heavenly-minded that you're no earthly good". Beware of a reverse "stupidification" like the kind that happens to those who live in hate.
Now for the contrast. A bit of a suggestion, something to consider.
In my own life, I have found that I get a "fascination". Something gets my attention, and I want to "get into it", maybe learn a great deal about it. I've learned to "go with it". This way, I can learn, have fun or whatever. If it's just a passing fancy, OK, time to move on. At any rate, I had fun and probably obtained some knowledge.
When I allow myself to get "out of balance" in this way, I have to keep in mind a few things:
- Think very carefully before spending money; the higher the cost, the more hesitation
- Related to the first point, not to load up on clutter that could wind up packed away in a box, awaiting the thrill to return
- Not to let other things go, especially the regular and important things in life; don't become obsessed
- Never become obstreperous with whatever the latest fascination is
- Realize that even though I am allowing myself to get out of balance on this new quest, not to get too carried away
- Be willing to "come back", or move on, when it's over; sometimes, the "high" is gone but the new ingredient is now a part of my life
- Don't do something you know is harmful I Cor. 6.12
- Keep the guidelines, this could take a while (like my studies of Buddhism, which lasted for several years, just like with Soviet history)