Summertime, and the livin' is easy, sizzling hot, frenzy-free, less tethered to email.
But is it truly leisure time?
It should be. Authentic leisure is good for us. It's revitalizing and healthy. But to make the most of leisure it helps to widen rather than narrow our concept of the term, which means not only to be free from the demands of work (even for just a weekend), but also to be still and reflect.
Leisure is culturally misunderstood, says philosopher Joseph Pieper, who maintains that to receive the full benefit of time away from business and chores requires an ability to let things go, to be calm, and most of all to be receptive.
Instead of thinking of time away from routine obligations as merely escape, think of it as the freedom to contemplate the nature and harmony of the things of the spirit, and to experience the rewarding effect such a state of thought can have on your attitude and health.
Try it for yourself. Next weekend set the Blackberry aside for awhile (better yet, turn it off), walk away from the television, stay off the computer and do something life-changing. Open your thought to a diviner consciousness, one that is compassionate, at peace, and wholly good; one that is not a departure from reality but is a clearer sense of it. Experience leisure time unlike any other and you'll realize what you've been missing.
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The Urantia Book says quite a lot about the subject of "leisure." Here are a few that caught my eye:
81:2.14 The savage is a slave to nature, but scientific civilization is slowly conferring increasing liberty on mankind. Through animals, fire, wind, water, electricity, and other undiscovered sources of energy, man has liberated, and will continue to liberate, himself from the necessity for unremitting toil. Regardless of the transient trouble produced by the prolific invention of machinery, the ultimate benefits to be derived from such mechanical inventions are inestimable. Civilization can never flourish, much less be established, until man has leisure to think, to plan, to imagine new and better ways of doing things.
81:6.6 2. Capital goods. Culture is never developed under conditions of poverty; leisure is essential to the progress of civilization. Individual character of moral and spiritual value may be acquired in the absence of material wealth, but a cultural civilization is only derived from those conditions of material prosperity which foster leisure combined with ambition.
114:6.15 11. The angels of diversion. These are the seraphim who foster the values of play, humor, and rest. They ever seek to uplift man’s recreational diversions and thus to promote the more profitable utilization of human leisure. The present corps is the third of that order to minister on Urantia.