rest

Inhabited Simplicity

Inhabited Simplicity

"Holiness is reached not through effort or will, but by stopping; by an inward coming to rest; a place from which we can embody the spirit of all our holy days, a radical, inhabited simplicity, where we live in a kind of ongoing surprise and with some wonder and appreciation."

~ David Whyte

Signpost

Field Guide
Ballets, Erica Braumby Tony Hoagland, from Unincorporated Persons in the Late Honda Dynasty

Once, in the cool blue middle of a lake,
up to my neck in the most precious element of all,

I found a pale-gray, curled-upwards pigeon feather
floating on the tension of the water

at the very instant when a dragonfly,
like a blue-green iridescent bobby pin,

hovered over it, then lit, then rested.
That's all.

I mention this in the same way
that I fold the corner of a page

in certain library books,
so the the next reader will know

where to look for the good parts.

Getting a Better Night's Sleep Paradigm

Excerpt from "Help for Insomnia: Yet Another use for Mindfulness," by Shinzen Young, August, 8, 2013:

Insomnia by Tony HuynhDifficulty falling asleep or staying asleep is a very common complaint. Mindfulness can help but one must first radically revision the nature of the problem.

People tend to get into a negative feedback loop with insomnia: Not getting to sleep leads to worry, leads to further difficulty sleeping, leads to more worry, leads to...

What to do?

One possibility is to start thinking about the night in a different way. This is a conceptual reframing, a profoundly different paradigm regarding the issue of sleep.

The normal paradigm is:

"I have to get a good night's sleep or I'll be a mess tomorrow."

The new paradigm is:

"If I get a good night's rest, I'll be fine tomorrow."

Amazingly, it's possible to get a good night's rest without necessarily sleeping much or at all. 

Learn more...

There In That Going

Sabbath Poem V
by Wendell Berry, from A Timbered Choir
[Hear Kit share this one by heart]

Always in the distance
the sound of cars is passing
on the road, the simplest form
going only two ways,
both ways away.  And I
have been there in that going.

But now I rest and am
apart, a part of the form
of the woods always arriving
from all directions home,
this cell of wild sound,
the hush of trees, singers
hidden among the leaves —

a form whose history is old,
needful, unknown, and bright
as the history of the stars
that tremble in the sky at night
like leaves of a great tree.

A Place of Refuge


Willsboro, New York, July 31, 2011

Excerpt from My Grandfather's Blessings: Stories of Strength, Refuge, and Belonging by Rachel Naomi Remen

Perhaps the most important thing we bring to another person is the silence in us. Not the sort of silence that is filled with unspoken criticism or hard withdrawal. The sort of silence that is a place of refuge, of rest, of acceptance of someone as they are. We are all hungry for this other silence. It is hard to find. In its presence we can remember something beyond the moment, a strength on which to build a life. Silence is a place of great power and healing. Silence is God's lap.

Many things grow the silence in us, among them simply growing older.

We may then become more a refuge than a rescuer, a witness to the process of life and the wisdom of acceptance.

Taking refuge does not mean hiding from life. It means finding a place of strength, the capacity to live the life we have been given with greater courage and sometimes even with gratitude.


See also: The Capacity to Find the Hidden Light

Find and Create Rest in the Body

Find and Create Rest in the Body

Our attention is habitually drawn to problems. However, we can train ourselves to notice rest and relaxation hiding within our regular routine. Setting aside some time to get more acquainted with what rest feels like in the body can support this exploration.

Trickier and Trickier as You Go Along

Excerpt from "Authentic Voice: An Interview with Meredith Monk," from Mountain Record, Summer 2004:

Emptiness is what allows for something to actually evolve in a natural way. I’ve had to learn that over the years — because one of the traps of being an artist is to always want to be creating, always wanting to produce.

I remember once I had a long period when I thought; “I’ll never have another idea again! I’ve explored everything.” Ojo Caliente, New Mexico, August 13, 2011You’ve got this backpack of your history that you’re carrying around — how do you throw that off and really start from beginner’s mind? That gets trickier and trickier as you go along, to not fall into your habitual patterns in the way that you create, in the work itself, or anything.

Well, during that long period when I was feeling really down I read about the Taos pueblo in a book by Mabel Dodge Luhan. She was a society woman in the early twentieth century, and she ended up going to Taos and marrying a Native American from the pueblo. During the winter she wondered why everyone tiptoed around wearing soft moccasins and there was a keeping of so much silence in the pueblo. She asked about it and they said, “We have to make sure that Mother Nature gets her rest. She needs her rest so that everything will bloom in the spring.” I was so touched by that and I realized that that’s the nurturing of those periods that you think are fallow but are actually rich with possibility. You’re alive then and part of the ebb and flow of creation.

A Space Between One Thought and Another

Excerpts from "Why Do We Fear an Empty Mind? "by Natasha Dern, The Huffington Post, May 15, 2011:

Why is it so hard for us to tolerate emptiness in our minds? The prevalent belief that action always equals progress may be a contributing factor. We perceive emptiness as an undesired state, something to be feared. We feel uncomfortable with those moments when our minds seem devoid of any creative or productive activity. We rarely, if ever, simply sit with and allow the feeling of emptiness.

When a thought enters the mind, it is replaced by another. It is automatic. We are not aware that a thought has segued into another thought. But upon developing the muscles of concentration, we become conscious of the entry and exit process of our thoughts. The mind gradually begins to entertain fewer thoughts per minute. We become aware that there is an interval, a delay, a space between one thought and another. This space is emptiness but also a fullness. At this level of awareness, we are in the sanctum of pure awareness. There are many who are living in this state of pure awareness, and their experiences are lucid and real...

...When the ego cooperates in suspension of all sense impressions and thoughts, it enters the realm of empty, unnameable nothingness. This nothingness is the gateway into the deeper layers of consciousness. It is here where inspiration, knowledge and creativity will ultimately strike. While we are here, we do not decide what will be experienced but to allow whatever awareness it wants us to have.

When self is absent and thoughts negated, we are open to the unknown. Not only does the mind become utterly blank, but it loses the all encompassing idea of a personal ego. We are oblivious to all lower sensations and are instead awake to the rich, conscious and sublime nothingness. Since the capacity to remain in this state for more than a few minutes can impose a strain, the intellect or imagination rush in with ideas or images, thus ending the tension. With time and practice we can endure the weight of this indescribable and incomprehensible experience.

If we succeed in holding steadfastly to this nothingness in deep concentration or meditation, we realize that it is not a mere mental abstraction but something real, not a dream but the most concrete thing in our experience. The contrast between the personal and the impersonal melts away, and only the sense of Being remains -- a Being that stretches far and wide, like the silent trance of infinite space.

Read more...

Utterly at Rest

Time Clock Piece, Tehching HsiehExcerpts from "Just One Thing: Rest," by Rick Hanson:

Tell the truth to yourself about how much time you actually – other than sleep – truly come to rest: not accomplishing anything, not planning anything, not going anywhere. The time when you don’t do anything at all, with a sense of relaxation and ease. No stress, no pressure, nothing weighing on you in the back of your mind. No sense of things undone. Utterly at rest...

Commit to what makes sense to you, in terms of nudging your schedule in a more restful direction, refusing to add new tasks to your own bucket, taking more breaks, or simply helping your own mind be less busy with chatter, complaints about yourself and others, or inner struggles.

Examples:

  • At meals, pause for half a minute with your food before you start eating.
  • When you complete a task, take a break for a few seconds or more before shifting gears to the next one.
  • Promise yourself that you’ll take a minute or more each day to sit quietly and remain present with yourself while doing nothing. (This is an essential type of meditation.)
  • Have real times each day when you truly “clock out” – no longer on task or accountable to anyone.
  • Encourage your mind to come to rest at least occasionally. Tell yourself you can worry/problem-solve/grumble later. The mind/brain is like a muscle (for example, using willpower consumes extra glucose much like lifting weights does) and it needs to stop working sometimes to replenish and rebuild itself.

Read the entire article here...