Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Rest Is the Completion of Labor

We hear a great deal of how busy life is, no time to relax, but we find many more things to do. A Korean professor of philosophy, teaching in Germany, calls our society one of 'tiredness' and the Peace Weekly has a cover story on the issue.

Many in society are bringing the problem to the attention of the citizens  for the results of the situation are gloom, health problems and a lack of vitality. The article tells us we are addicted to production and to speed and with the poverty of time we have frustration and fatigue.

Rest is not just playing but slowing our pace, looking back  from where we have come, and refresh ourselves. We take time out from our lives to have quiet time, seek a place of rest, admire the daisies, and gaze up at the sky....

Thanks to the digital world in just a few minutes  we can accomplish what took a whole day but without increase of  leisure. In Korea we express this situation as being "so busy I am on the verge of dying." Quite an extreme position to be in, and yet with the poverty of time we continue to add to it-- our self portrait.

Traveling on the subway for just a few stops and we can see what the writer is saying. Each one has his smart phone, busy with their fingers and eyes glued to the screen. Even waiting for the elevator we see this scene repeated.

He quotes many who see the problem and are speaking and writing about it. One priest mentions we have come to the limits of how much we can do, and we are beginning to realize that the body and  mind can be pushed just so much before serious problems arise; we begin living not as humans but as robots.

We have an intimate connection between work and leisure. We are made to work and provide for our families but the reason we can continue this is the rest that should be part of our lives. We work to have rest and rest to return to work. A religious is quoted as saying: "Rest is not the cessation of work but its fulfillment (completion)." Rest gives us the time to participate in the rest of God-- holy time. This attitude is not only a cultural but also a spiritual need. Without this mental and spiritual rest our rest can end up as more labor.

Our culture of rest many times is disguised labor. We take to the highways, go at the speed of light to the beaches and mountains, and eat and drink to late in the evening and become more  stressed out than when  working. More than the body the spirit needs rest if we are to prepare ourselves for a joyous existence. The article ends with the words of a spiritual writer who wrote that without the experience of  silence, peace and a quiet place, we destroy life.

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