Kirkepiscatoid

Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!

I love the Internet. I just discovered that something I have been doing actually has a Latin name and is a whole concept. (Darn. And I thought I was unique or original.)

Over the last several months, I've been spiritually cogitating a lot, trying to figure my "slot" in the world. I'm dealing with the notion of being ok with middle age as not just being a continuation of the first half of my life. I'm dealing with transition issues on my job (learning to now be the "senior" person). I'm dealing with discovering spiritual connections beyond what I'm used to experiencing (as in getting caught up in it, not just spectating.) In other words, I'm searching for peace and stability in the midst of a lot of big and little changes.

Well, turns out that is what the concept of Otium Sanctum--”holy leisure”--is all about. (Amazing the things I can find on the Internet, huh?) Otium sanctum refers specifically to discover a sense of balance in life, an ability to be spiritually at peace through the activities of the day, an ability to rest and take time to enjoy beauty, an ability to pace ourselves.

This does not come naturally to me--a person who prefers to "act" and "do" rather than "sit" and "observantly absorb". For me, there is the tendency to interrupt the process by “doing” something. To “sit still” somehow seems a little “lazy” or “nonproductive” to me (which is why I doubt I’ll ever be anything even close to a contemplative prayer expert, but at least I'm an honest pupil).

However, what I understand about the concept of “holy leisure” is that it’s not “holy laziness”. Leisure can often involve activity. I mean, hey, I play golf for leisure, I walk for leisure, that’s not laziness. That’s physical activity. So really, otium sanctum refers to a state of spiritual activity. To buy into this concept means that there is a certain amount of discipline, attentiveness, and watchfulness. The obsessive-compulsive side of me can appreciate that.

I was feeling guilty about all this cogitation. I wasn't "doing" anything. I tend to make fun of people sitting around "thinking great thoughts". (I could rationalize this by saying "My thoughts aren't that great.") Now, I realize I AM doing something. I'm letting prayer and contemplation integrate these feelings, help me weather these changes. I do notice that as a result of this, I am a little bit calmer, a little bit more at ease. So maybe it IS working and I'm not "doing nothing" after all!

2 comments:

Ah, well you see, us proto-Buddhists for Jesus are the ones who have got it right. I'm thinking of starting a new church.....

Good post. And especially appropriate in this season when we seem to be overly consumed with getting things done.
Lindy

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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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