The Noon-Day Demon

Have you charted your energy levels at various times of the day?

I have good energy early in the morning. I typically meditate, read, think, and write this early–before 6:30. Then some kind of physical workout. Then more reading and writing until about 11 or 11:30. Then I need some sort of break and lunch. Then I have little energy for a time. Somewhere around 4:00 pm I pick up again and can last until bed time.

Ancient Greeks wrote about akedeia which became Latin acedia — the “noon-day demon.”

This is a state of listlessness, torpor, feeling perhaps a little lost. Perhaps this is the time you post or re-post those cynical, negative thoughts on social media? Perhaps this is the time your thoughts are most prone to dwell upon sinful image and urges?

When the ancient Christian writers were teaching monks acedia outranked some of the demons (as they called them) such as gluttony or sloth. It was a time when monks might wonder why they were even there. Isn’t there somewhere better to be?

I find a short (hopefully) nap to be quite useful. Perhaps a walk for a bit out in nature. That might be a good time for some weight lifting.

The first thing is to recognize the condition. And to realize that the condition was recognized millennia ago. Realize it. Deal with it. Schedule your work day around it–do phone calls not deep work if you’re in an office. Don’t let it overpower you into making bad decisions.

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