Thursday, March 1, 2012

Lent and the Conditions for Happiness

by Jose Manuel Ferrater
via Sebastian

We're now in the second week of Lent, for those who are counting. Growing up, I learned that Lent was a time for sacrificing something (usually, something that gave me pleasure, like chocolate) and that somehow my abstaining from a bit of food was like Jesus's temptation in the wilderness.

But since the onset of adulthood, I've found this practice of fasting to be unhelpfully negative. Wouldn't it be better to commit to a positive practice, like an increased regimen of prayer and meditation?

Enter in my latest thoughts on Thich Nhat Hanh and conditions for happiness. Over and over again, he stresses the joy that can be found in the breath, and in simply noticing all that is well with your body. His view is a rather dramatic opposition to figures such as Augustine, who are so sure that the body is the way of sin.

So this Lent, I'm practicing the joy of the body, not in some hedonistic, let's get drunk and have orgies kind of way, but in the simple way of noticing my breath and noticing my body and taking pleasure in that. Will you join me? I think it might prepare us for a fantastic rebirth on Easter.

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