The Altar of Relaxation

Our couches have become an altar to the gods of relaxation while we sacrifice our body and soul. Somewhere along the line, our culture has begun to make relaxation the goal of their days.

Putting your feet up and resting is celebrated as the pinnacle of what one should be doing. Why work? That’s hard. Moving requires work, and there’s an idea out there that work should be avoided. Shortcuts, doing nothing, and relaxing have become the aim of human fulfillment.

No wonder our culture is so depressed. And no wonder our culture is so unhealthy. Depression and mental health issues are our biggest hindrances while living, and sedentary conditions such as heart disease are the most common path to our graves. Something in our lifestyle is killing both our body and soul. And I suspect our obsession with comfort and relaxation is at least partially to blame.

There’s an old saying, “If you rest, you rust.” This is true mentally and physically. And somewhere along the way, we decided that to come home and relax is how we should lead our lives and derive our fulfillment.

The body is powered by will, not rest. The mind is refreshed by creation, connection, and engagement, not pampered relaxation.

“But we’re tired”, they say. “I must rest.” They have no energy to do anything, and they have no energy because they don’t do anything. Your body has energy — lots of it. With proper sleep, healthy foods, and purpose, you’ll have energy to spare. It’s a cruel irony of our modern age that our lazy and restful lifestyle make us more drained and exhausted.

The mind and body are linked, and both the mind and body need a purpose. We need something to do. We need something to get us up and working. Not work in a slavish or brutal sense, but in a liberating expression of one’s soul. Whether it be your job, exercise, hobby, or craft, working is anything that gets you doing something and fully engaging with it. This lifestyle of welcoming work is the antithesis of resting, but the cure to our exhaustion. We’re not tired because we work, we’re tired because we’re forgotten why we work. We work because it is what man is meant for. Work is what man has evolved for. Work is where we find our purpose. There’s no greater fulfillment than to engage with the world, with both your mind and body towards a higher purpose.

Only after this kind of work can we justify relaxation. And only after this kind of work will our minds be at ease. Now chose a purpose, get off the couch, and get to work. Or face the inevitable rusting of relaxation.

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Matthew McKenna

Matthew McKenna

When facing hardship and burned by flame / We look to myth for where to aim / As stories of old were understood / Extract the gold and make it good.