I watch with interest the sporty folk who make a point of taking rest days, and sometimes even rest weeks from their fitness regimes. Walking for transport and doing a few other things the old fashioned way, I tend to do what’s needed, rather than having any kind of deliberate physical practice. However, the idea of rest days fascinates me. I admit, I haven’t had a proper total day off in months, and it is on my mind to change how I do things.
What about religious rest days, though? Not in the sense of setting aside a day each week for religion, but in having days off from religion.
Daily practice is something we talk about a lot. Creating and maintaining a daily practice is seen as a very good goal to have and a key part to an active religious life. Those who have a daily practice are clearly in a different place to those who only show up at festivals. Daily acts of devotion, meditation, prayer, connection with nature… these embed the spiritual into our lives so that there is no separation between us and our practice.
For as long as I can remember, my main aim as a Druid has been to bring the Druidry consciously to everything I do. This in turn requires me to think about everything, a lot. Things I say and do, how I live from moment to moment, deeper implications of pretty much everything. I am aware (because I’ve been thinking about this) that I may be over thinking, too self conscious, too analytical, too busy trying to develop the philosophy of living and not able as a consequence, to be peaceful within myself.
What would it mean to have religious rest days? To set aside time where I don’t let myself dwell on things and contemplate at length? What would it mean, practically, emotionally and spiritually to have days when I’m not trying hard to be a good Druid? And, while we’re pondering, what is this measure of ‘being a good Druid’ that I have settled on that is so very much about striving and working hard and having to improve all the time. Is that Druidry? Or is it just a way of manifesting insecurity? What am I trying to prove, and to whom am I trying to prove it? I don’t believe in the great score keeping god in the sky poised to hand out sweeties or smacks depending on how we did in his tests. So why am I still trying to fill in the score card?
Of course my response to this is to think about it a lot. But I may be going to make some changes.