Many of our work involve agitation, haste, and restlessness. Because people believe that if they are not all the time running about and bursting into fits of feverish activity, they are doing nothing. Even leisure time is not really peaceful. We make our vacations also into another form of work.
As Dr. George Sheehan tells “There was a time when we could sit and listen to our individual, internal rhythms, but now they can hardly be heard over the din of the mechanical clocks set up by school and business and society. Now we have commuting and TV, three-day weekends, and twelve-hour workdays, March migraines and April ulcers, twenty-one-year-old addicts and forty-five-year-old heart attacks.” And as Walter Kerr said, “We are all of us compelled to read for profit, party for contacts, lunch for contracts, bowl for unity, drive for mileage, gamble for charity, go out for the evening for the greater glory of the municipality and stay home for the weekend to rebuild the house”.
“Lacking an understanding of leisure, many of us become more and more alienated from life and from ourselves.” said Alexander Reid Martin. In fact, leisure is necessary for a full awareness. When we have nothing to do, we become restless, we go here and there, we meet people, we gossip and we watch television to name a few. Instead of that, it is better to sit down quietly and tell ourselves, “At last, I have some time to concentrate, to collect myself and to review how my life is going”. If we take care to do this whenever we get spare time we will maintain peace and poise in our life. Instead of wasting our time in chattering, in doing useless things, reading and indulge in things that lower our consciousness, it is useful to utilize the unoccupied moments to understand our life deeply.
In 1968, Stewart Wolf found that there is a relationship between leisure and mental health just as there is a relationship between leisure and physical health. He identified the inability to derive satisfaction from leisure activities as one of the contributing factors in heart disease and sudden death. John Howard, of the School of Business at the University of Western Ontario, found that people who handle tension effectively have developed a good division between work time and leisure time.
There are times when we can’t do anything, when inactivity is forced upon us: when we’re caught in a traffic jam; or obliged to wait in a doctor’s office, at an airport, or in a railway station; or when we are old and sick and simply waiting for death. When such inactivity is forced upon us we become frustrated, because we have never learned the value of such idle moments. We can use those moments also for self-awareness. In those moments just close your eyes. Relax yourself and look into your way of life. Don’t judge it and condemn it. Be just an observer. See the truth as it is. Do this whenever you find a free time, whether it is one hour or a few minutes. Unoccupied space is needed within you so that light of truth can fill your being. Slowly you will begin to change in right direction.