We, as Americans (along with many other countries) lead a very fast paced existence. From the point we rise in the morning to the point we settle in for the night goals, milestones, accomplishments, and activity peppers the day. Many of us (myself included) sit at our desks working during lunch. All of this has, to some expert’s estimation, led to a state where stress and tension have become the norm.
The last few decades have seen a rise in Tai Chi, yoga, and well as general meditation. Often, this is used for health reasons and to focus (both of which are admirable activities). The same can be used thought o relax the body, mind, and spirit. By taking some time off, the emotional state is able to calm and to regain the mirror condition of the smooth water. Before that, our minds race along with problems and stimulus until our emotional lakes are a tempest of activity.
This is not to say that becoming a couch potato is the optimal state. Body health is as important as mental and emotional health. Allow ourselves to be dragged along through life by our own plans when we have the power to change them can be detrimental to continued harmony (with the world, inner, etc.). Even those who practice and train for Olympic level activity understand the need for a day of rest.
For some faiths, the Day of Rest used to be the Sabbath. Spending calm time with family and friends as well as relaxing allowed us to meet the week refreshed and ready to deal with whatever life might throw at us. As with many things though, this relaxation became planned and re-planned until missing an activity tied to the Sabbath or Rest was tantamount to a career ending decision.
Balancing the requirements for this rest can and is often difficult for people. Even on the days I set aside for myself, I find chores that need to be done, last minute errands that are required, and friends/clients that need help. Before long, I find myself back into the water, splashing around and causing waves. At this point, I have to make rules and step back from the whole situation to try to understand my perspective and where I lost the pathway.