HARVARD Medical School says sleep plays a critical role in immune function, metabolism, memory and learning.
While these experts state they don’t know why we need sleep, without it our reasoning, problem-solving ability and attention to detail suffers.
In short – rest is important.
The bible often makes reference to rest, even Jesus and his disciples needed to go to a solitary place to rest (Mk 3:31-32).
And way before allied health consultants started advising us on the importance of breathing and awareness we had already been given instruction to: be still (Ps 46) and hand over our burdens to find rest (Matt 11:28-30).
Recently I was feeling tired, really tired, but “pushing through” in order to meet commitments: study, volunteering, work, exercise, family and other social engagements.
While I didn’t choose to stop eventually my body did – resulting in a few days in bed.
Praying: ‘Why do I still feel so tired?’ I had a sense I had not kept the Sabbath as a day of rest for quite some time (Ex 20:8-11).
St Teresa of Avila, a reformer and contemplative said: “Thank God for the things I do not own.”
No Content Available
How different is this mindset to the pervasive belief of “needing” to be and do something, to get something else, so we can buy a better house, car, wardrobe, phone, laptop, smartwatch. It is insatiable.
Similarly there is the activity of doing a whole lot of “stuff” – at times to impress a whole lot of people we really don’t like.
While silly, the addiction is real, even if “keeping up with Joneses” socio-economic or cultural inferiority looks very different to the 1913 (Jones) comic strip.
Pope Francis touches on consumerism in his encyclical Laudato Si’.
Laudato Si encourages us to: “Replace consumption with sacrifice, greed with generosity, wastefulness with a spirit of sharing…. It is a way of loving, of moving gradually away from what I want to what God’s world needs.”
St Ignatius in his Spiritual Exercises presented “two standards”: one which leads to life, often the narrow gate; the other to the world’s accepted standard which may lead to short-term acclaim, but long-term satisfaction is elusive.
As such our upward mobility has left us tired and unsatisfied.
While technology can bring added colour and movement to life it can also make us feel grey as we are constantly connected with data, not necessarily humanity.
Recently I was fortunate to spend some downtime on the Sunshine Coast with a little old dog.
The dog was a good role model, she unashamedly napped and unashamedly expressed joy, dancing around in little circles, tail wagging, big smiling eyes –being deaf and nearly blind didn’t appear to phase her.
I also watched this little dog interact with other animals and nature – unknowingly she helped join the dots of how we are all connected.
Inspired I sat and watched the terns gracefully hover in the air before diving into the ocean, fishermen casting their rods and whales migrating.
All connected, needing the ocean and all after the fish.
If you’ve read the column thus far, congratulations, you’ve obviously slowed down and not skimmed – thanks.
And if you’re reading this on your day of rest I wish you a peaceful day and good nights sleep.
Resting on the Sabbath is biblical and once you ‘let go’ it makes you feel better and probably makes your Monday more productive too.
The Catholic Leader is an Australian award-winning Catholic newspaper that has been published by the Archdiocese of Brisbane since 1929. Our journalism seeks to provide a full, accurate and balanced Catholic perspective of local, national and international news while upholding the dignity of the human person.
The Catholic Leader acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the First Peoples of this country and especially acknowledge the traditional owners on whose lands we live and work throughout the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.