Growing up as a modern orthodox Jew I spent many a Sabbath just doing nothing — absolutely nothing. Not being able to watch TV, make calls or use the computer pretty much limited my home activities to spending time with family, reading, or if pre-arranged hanging with friends.
These non-electrical activities may sound stimulating enough, however, there came a point in the day at which I had no stamina to read, to engage in meaningful discussion or to do anything other than sit and think (the point at which I would just slouch in front of the TV on a weekday). This would last for hours, which as a child was very difficult, yet unbeknownst to me it enabled a practice of self-discipline within the confines of my religion.
It was not brought about by a Rabbi forcing me to pray in another language I barely understood, nor a Monk whipping me for not keeping my back straight. This was a set of rules designed to make us rest from our weekly habits, and one that most people so eagerly avoided through loopholes i.e. stimulation through reading, excessive socialising etc.
It was a way of learning to be uncomfortable, coming from a busy western life, full of stimuli to not engaging at all with that way of being. It is something, that to practice as a modern person, in a world of even more novel stimuli is seemingly more and more difficult.
To take even an hour out of the day to sit and do nothing, or even sit and listen to music without DOING, requires immense discipline. It is uncomfortable, yet, it is something I learned to be comfortable with at a young age thanks to the religion I was born into.
Many of us disregard religions and institutions as some sort of controlling ideology created to serve the masses yet not us. Yet whether the lessons are difficult or not, if we do not learn to appreciate them, or why they were instituted in the first place we cannot effect change.
We started religions to provide people an ethical and fulfilled way of living, just as we created schools to educate people and governments to care for its countrymen. Now tell me; which of these is perfect? Which of these have you lambasted in the last year?
If you were pricked when passing through one of these rosebushes, don’t put up keep out signs, hand the next generation a pair of shears or a hedge trimmer so that they can navigate their way through better.
Jungle Is Massive.