An opportunity offered by the holidays

  • Italiano

bernardSummer can be wearying. We still feel the weight of a whole year of work. It is very hot. We do not feel like doing anything. It is not easy even to rest. We need to plan this as well, but how? During the same period happen many important, decisive, tragic, and terrifying things. Many people do not rest at all. Quite the contrary, unfortunately they are extremely active. Nonetheless, our ideological and spiritual settings cannot keep this rhythm. It is hot, we are vacations, we are distracted. Very often tiredness becomes the justification for our choices, or rather the lack of them. In our heart we think: Enough! We have the right to stay in peace.

This experience is not new at all. For many centuries wise people (philosophers) sought possibilities to take distance from the world and from its tensions, so as to live fully and better.
They believed this to be the only way human beings could achieve fulfillment and be at peace with themselves. Such an attitude required many efforts, starting from self-discipline and concluding with patience.

This inner spiritual work requires a lot of attention and strength, both difficult to be found in the normal unfolding of the world and of its affairs.
This is precisely why during summer we want to stop, even to quit; at core, just not to receive new stimuli.
We want to do nothing, or rather only the things we like to do. At least for a few days, at any price, before the nightmare of the news from the world around us is back.

Holidays, time meant for rest, could become, paradoxically, an opportunity to retrieve ourselves.
In philosophical tradition (as well as in the monastic one) this privileged state of inner freedom that allows us to progress forward in our humanity was called otium, i.e. lack of activity, a well-justified and noble idleness, meant in the best possible way.

Here is an opportunity to see the world in a different way: not as an obsession, but as something distant, less important than our inner dimension. During a period of complete idleness we try to enjoy free time in order to reflect on ourselves and on things that are important. This is a luxury, no doubts, but we deserve it. We are not machines, nor one of their cogs. May turn out to be helpful a good read, a meeting with wise people, but also a peaceful stroll. Perhaps we are going to find out that we are still able to feel wonder. The world and the universe, in spite of everything, are too beautiful to be merely ceaseless toil.

Translated by Ecaterina Severin

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