On Learning to Relax
Peace is the Project (Part I)
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What does it mean to relax?
Honestly, how would you rate yourself on your ability to relax? Or, put another way, your sense of peace or inner tranquility? In her book Radical Optimism, the contemplative writer Dr. Beatrice Bruteau wrote,
But what really is leisure? And how do we really feel about leisure? For many of us, "leisure" actually raises difficulties: difficulties about conceiving it, about justifying it, about wanting it, and about practicing it. We are busy people. Our time is highly structured and totally filled. We have deadlines to meet and schedules to keep. We measure our lives in terms of times: years, semesters, quarters, months, weeks, days, hours, and minutes. We automatically think of our life as measured.
Learning to relax is something I’ve been thinking more about. The truth is — learning to relax is far more challenging than it sounds. Several passages from Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations focus on learning to relax (or to be indifferent to what makes no difference).
“You always own the option of having no opinion. There is never any need to get worked up or to trouble your soul about things you can't control. These things are not asking to be judged by you. Leave them alone.”
— Marcus Aurelius
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