The Practice Of Saying No
For a while now, spiritual leaders have been saying that the greatest spiritual problem of our time is busyness. Some have pointed out that the Chinese character for being busy is made up of two elements: heart and killing. Busyness kills the heart. That is a violent image...busyness kills the heart. Thomas Merton says that our overwork is a pervasive form of violence today.
Busyness is causing harm to ourselves and our world.
“There is a pervasive form of contemporary violence...activism and overwork. The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of our activism neutralizes our work for peace. It destroys our own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of our own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.”
- Thomas Merton