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To Hunger and Thirst

by Mar 15, 2024

Home » Naturopathic Medicine Student Blog » To Hunger and Thirst

“It is a monstrous thing to see the same heart at once so sensitive to minor things and so strangely insensitive to the greatest.” -Blaise Pascal

I recently came across a book about the classical virtues and their opposites, the seven deadly sins. It used to be that all people were versed in the matter. Today it would be rare to find a passerby who could even name them (I certainly fall into this category).

The topic that I found most intriguing and relevant to our lives as students, is that of slothfulness. Of the seven deadly sins, it is the most characteristically modern. How can this be? Isn’t slothfulness another word for laziness? And isn’t a student characterized by a busy, task-oriented, success-seeking person?

First, it is important to note that slothfulness is not the same as laziness. Laziness is an intentional disregard for the tangible tasks of life – things like attending classes, eating, passing exams and doing the things necessary to maintain our daily roles and responsibilities. Sloth on the other hand, is a rejection of the calling to live a life of goodness. It is a suppression of our instinct to hunger and thirst not for food or success or someone else’s approval, but for truth and love and lasting joy. 

Sloth is what results when we cease to hunger and thirst in this sense. It is easy to do. When the road is painful, it is easier in the moment to ignore the yearning for lasting fulfillment, and to numb it with any number of things – extra hours at work, food, studying, movies, sports. The problem is that if given enough time, even the most compelling distractions cease to entertain.

So how can we recalibrate our hearts toward the greatest thing (the only thing that will never cease to sustain) and thereby, oppose sloth? It begins by cultivating wisdom. Wisdom is not a binary state, it is a daily habit. And what is the beginning of wisdom? It is awe and receptivity – not of the greatness itself, but of the source of the greatness.

Read more about Leah’s journey, and the journey of other NUHS naturopathic medicine students here.

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About the Author

Leah Gusching

Leah Gusching

Greetings! I am a student of natural medicine because I enjoy the beauty reflected in the human body and spirit. I believe the best medicine is the gift of grace that, once received, heals the posture of the heart. To relax, I like talking with my husband, reading books, and swimming in the ocean when available. Please feel free to reach out!


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