“We can misuse only things which are good.” — Montaigne.
A quote I came across in some required reading I am doing for a writer’s workshop here in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. Montaigne is defending writing about one’s personal experience in an era that frowned on such a practice.
When you go on an extended spiritual retreat, you never really know what is going to surface. For me, there were no major revelations, but a lot of things that I already “knew” really sunk in deep. One of those things had to do with dedicating my spiritual practice to someone. This was quite a profound realization, because meditating 11 hours a day for ten days can get incredibly difficult. It helps you to keep going, if you aren’t just doing it for yourself.
I was thinking today about how in the West, we’ve developed an extraordinary and incredible amount of labor saving technologies, yet, strangely, most of us in the West don’t actually use these technologies to save time or to create more opportunity to rest, be creative, or enjoy life. I’ve also read in recent years that hunter-gatherer societies often worked very little and had a good deal of time for family, local community life, creativity, rest, and leisure.