One takeaway from tonight's Moral Theology class...
We need to do things daily that give us pleasure. Now the word "pleasure" is very misunderstood and wrongly used in our secular world. Pleasure does not just equate feeling good. Pleasure = the resting of the soul, and since it is the RESTING of the soul, it has to be free from wrong pleasures, free from disproportionate dwelling in the pleasure (addictions) and being proportionate to the age and dignity of the person.
I would like to think of this as doing what gives me life. Wholesome pleasure. It takes at least self-awareness, prudence and honesty to know what gives me life and what does not. Smoking may make me feel good in the moment but it quite obviously is not life-giving. Jogging may not make me feel good in the moment because I feel the stings in my muscles but it gives me life and loosens up my stiff muscles, fills me with enough an adrenaline rush to supply the positive energy to do what I need to. Music gives me life though not all genres do. Being in nature gives me life; that somehow, when I am in oneness with this unspoilt creation, I quite naturally am uplifted, relaxed and at peace.
I love window shopping but if I were to do this for hours everyday, then it becomes life-draining because I would also recognise the other better things I can do with that time. Window shopping does not add value to my life. It just gives my eyes a treat since I love admiring things that are aesthetically pleasing and tasteful. On top of knowing what to do that is life-giving, I too need to be aware of the amount to fill my life with it so that it remains truly a time of rest for my soul.
With the kind of stresses we face in life today, we need all the more to give ourselves the disciplined time for pleasure. The problem is that we often don't know what truly gives us life and what does not. We misunderstand pleasure to be about feeling good. And end up doing things that do not actually give rest to our souls and end up feeling restless again very soon after. Dissatisfied very soon after we experience some satisfaction. A filling which finds us too quickly feeling empty again.
If we feel overwhelmed, restless, drained, low on energy emotionally, psychologically, spiritually and even physically... maybe it is time to have a break, have a kitkat... do something that gives us life, that truly lifts up our souls... and it can be as simple as savouring a small piece of chocolate melting away in your mouth, as deliberate as getting to the beach for a stroll or waking up early to catch the sunrise.
What is one thing you can do to give wholesome rest to your soul this week?