The Power of Idleness

One of my colleagues on the Case Western project I have written about here sent me this quote. It is most relevant to this blog and to my writings about flourishing. One of the essential domains of care in my taxonomy is that of idleness/leisure. Here is a good explanation as to why it is explicit in the scheme.

Being and Doing

The fact that our being necessarily demands to be expressed in action should not lead us to believe that as soon as we stop acting we cease to exist. We do not live merely to “do something” - no matter what. We do not live more fully merely by doing something more, seeing more, tasting more and experiencing more than we ever have before. Everything depends on the quality of our acts and experiences. A multitude of badly performed actions and experiences only half-lived exhausts and depletes our being. By doing things badly we make ourselves less real. This growing unreality cannot help but make us unhappy and fill us with a sense of guilt. There are times then when in order to keep ourselves in existence at all, we simply have to sit back awhile and do nothing. And for a man who has let himself be drawn completely out of himself by his activity, nothing is more difficult than to sit still and rest, doing nothing at all. We must first recover the possession of our own being before we can act or taste or ?experience reality.

From: Thomas Merton, No Man is an Island

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