“On the Sabbath- we are reminded that we are not human doings, but human beings.”- Rob Bell.
I am not Jewish, but last weekend I experienced the Sabbath unintendedly. And let me tell you, it was a weirdly fantastic, exhilarating experience.
I hadn’t experienced so much peace in a long, long time man. I mean, it wasn’t a religious experience per se (although I see why you could argue that now), but a very lively and nourishing one, I felt like I hadn’t felt in ages.
Sabbath on a Sunday
So, I woke up on Sunday, absolutely late. For the last couple of days, I had been living in a friend’s apartment, and man, the mattress I was sleeping on there didn’t let me sleep at all. I hate not sleeping.
The mattress is one of those memory foam ones that suck you in and gobble you inside, completely ruining your posture in the process, my friend loves his cushy mattress. And so, when I got back to my rock-firm bed, I had all the sleep I hadn’t had in a week. I woke up really late. But being a Sunday, who cares?
I felt like going for a run, and so I did. After chatting a while with my roomie, I put on my running sandals, glasses, and cool shirt, and headed out. I had a minor ear infection going on as well, so it was no use taking my headphones with me, and for that matter, my cellphone, I just needed my own two feet.
I didn’t take my keys either. I thought my roomies weren’t going to go out.
But yes, you guessed it, they did go out and I had no apartment keys with me, just the building keycard.
I came back from my run, ready to have an amazing day, tried to open the door, and bang, closed the door. They went out to enjoy their Sunday, and I didn’t know when they were going to head back, it could be one hour, it could be 5 hours.
I stared at the doorknob for a couple of minutes. What in the hell am I going to do now?
I got angry at myself for being so stupid as to not take the damn key with me. Then I began to think about a quote I had read or heard in the morning about stopping bitching and instead start thinking about solutions to my problems.
So, OK, what do I do now? Sit down and wait here? Staring at the wall?
‘I know! I can go to the sauna!’ I thought. I didn’t have a towel, but what the hell, I was wearing my sports clothing so it didn’t really matter, it was going to dry fast anyway. And so I went to the sauna, and then had a shower. Man, I felt fresh. I went to drink water first, luckily for me, there’s water at the gym you can drink with little paper cones such as the ones in the office, so no dehydration amigo.
I went back up to see if they had already arrived, but nothing yet.
OK, so what do I do now? I was frustrated.
Last week had been super busy with work, I mean, super, super busy. I really needed to rest and chill and watch YouTube or something, and I was getting really angry I wouldn’t be able to relax and enjoy my Sunday. Plus, I had literally no idea when my roomies were going to arrive.
Then I thought, what the hell, I can just walk to the museum. I live in Mexico City, so museums are all around me. That should kill a couple of hours. I went out, thought about running there, and then judged it better to walk.
Things began to change at that moment.
My perception of the day began to change. I hadn’t used any electronic device for a couple of hours now. The option didn’t even exist. It was just me, and the world, and my running sandals.
It was a weird experience dude.
I felt different, at ease, with nowhere to be at. Unconcerned, forcefully, because I couldn’t even know if people were looking for me or not.
I began to notice the people walking by, the sounds, and a drummer in the street banging on kitchen pans. I saw an old lady staring at the people passing by and I felt empathy for her because that was precisely what I was doing and feeling myself.
Unaware of it, my anxiety stepped back and disappeared.
I remembered my past life, hard to describe, I guess the part of my life before smartphones. It just felt good to be where I was you know? I didn’t feel I had to be anywhere else or doing anything else. It felt peaceful.
The museum was pure joy, I literally jumped like Mario 64 into the paintings. I understood them (in my way), I reflected, and they changed me.
The moment I figured out I had no keys, I felt frustrated and angry, but then, at the museum, I felt such a sense of peace!
It felt as if I was waking up from a bad dream I had been having for eons. I didn’t want the experience to end.
A long time had passed, though, and I was getting hungry, so I thought it was time to head back and see if they had arrived already. Without a hurry in the world, I headed back home.
They hadn’t arrived yet.
I remembered that the building had a movie room. ‘Perfect, I’m going to watch a movie, I thought. And so I went to the movie room, and a peculiar thing happened.
In the movie room, you can either bring your own movie or use the Smart TV setup they have there. I logged in to some girl’s Netflix, she had forgotten to log out (to my advantage).
When I opened Netflix, I began to see the thousands of recommendations, and you know what happened? I noticed a pinch of anxiety rising in my body.
The internet, with all its mightiness, is an anxiety machine.
This taught me a lesson, the infinite amount of choices is what gives me anxiety, my brain was constantly overloaded. I badly desired to keep my state of relaxation and effortful concentration and so I chose a talk by Brene Brown and decided I wasn’t going to do anything else other than watch it, no matter how shitty it was. It was amazing.
I finished the movie and went back, they had arrived, I ate a glorious, green, and juicy apple.
I really had to give myself this sabbatical opportunity. I needed it so badly and didn’t even realize it. I had to be forced onto reflection and deep thought.
I value smartness, a lot.
Studies say that we’ve been getting smarter and smarter. But there are different kinds of smart, and we’ve been getting smarter in some areas, while badly regressing in other ones.
We are now smarter in multitasking and doing a thousand things at the same time, but we have also been steadily getting stupider in other types of intelligence such as reflecting and thinking deeply about stuff, and critical thinking.
It’s like when you grab a book.
When you grab a book, what you want is to extract as much useful information as you can, right?
You want to know more about the world and then integrate that knowledge into your previous knowledge so that you can become smarter about the ways you deal and interact with other people and the world.
But in order for you to really integrate knowledge, you need to go deep into the subjects, and we just don’t do that anymore.
We’ve become extremely good at locating knowledge, really good at reading the small descriptions portrayed on the back of the books, but we aren’t reading them anymore. We know we have Google to answer our questions.
We are reading thousands and thousands of small descriptions without really going in and reflecting on the topics that interest us.
Seneca warned us about this.
To be everywhere is to be nowhere -Seneca
Deep down, we already know this. We know that we are distracted all the time, but because we are too distracted to even notice, we don’t notice how miserable these massive amounts of distractions make us.
We are anxious and jumpy, we are becoming dumber and dumber because we cannot sustain attention for more than a TikTok video.
We need to change this.
I noticed just how amazing you can feel again if you just stop everything digital for just a day.
It is something we all should practice.
Because, just by practicing this Sabbat for a day, you’ll notice how good you can feel, and also how important thinking deeply and reflecting is for us. To become critical thinkers again.
Because think about it.
We need critical thinkers, while you’re distracted, you’re being fucked over by big pharma, the food industry, and the massive amounts of media that tell you that having a coke is good for you because hey, bottled happiness, right?
And! because you’re so distracted at TikTok, you can’t think your way out of these addictions.
We are in a weird place man, and the internet world isn’t getting any better in terms of making you a free human being, that task is yours alone.
Give it a go, I swear, it will make you feel amazing.
Rise and shine on the weekend, and swear not to use any electronic device.
At first, you’ll be grumpy, bored, and angry. But let it sink in, and you’ll notice how you feel better and better, you’ll notice how you get back to your real state of consciousness.
Until next time,