Tuesday, 28 October 2008
Resolving to Rest
One of my biggest new year resolutions is to rest more.
I need to create spaces of stillness, where thoughts can breathe and move and sing.
Spaces where dreams can wade out into expansive sunsets and dreams can go bare back riding across breaking shorelines.
Within our culture at large there is a tendency to connect rest with laziness.
I believe that this assumption is harmful and damaging to the spirit of life itself.
Nobody wants to be considered lazy.
So we make sure no one can ever accuse us of this by overworking.
Conversely, we may succumb to periods of resigned inadequacy and stagnation.
Instead of flowing over the rocks we get stuck between a rock and a hard place, paralyzed into procrastination.
Rest is like a soul anchor
Without it we drift far from our natural course and can become washed up and ship wrecked.
Over working can disconnect us from our true drives, desires and truths.
We forget how to figuratively "swim" even though "swimming" is part of our core DNA.
Eventually we drown in the business of endless days washing wave upon overwhelming wave over us.
But what drives the negativity surrounding unsanctioned rest and relaxation?
It is easy to see what profits most from the work hard play hard rule; Industry.
Industry is served best by the idea that rest is a luxury.
Standards have been driven so high and margins so thin that we almost believe that we can't survive or thrive under the premise of a restful life.
Yet rest is not something that we can do without.
Even in the most primitive of tribes much time and consideration is given to rest.
Many of these cultures live hand to mouth, yet adequate time allotted for spiritual, emotional and mental recuperation is prioritized.
In fact spiritual preparation is often considered essential to the undertaking of even the simplest and most Basic of active tasks.
Our modern life, though highly ordered is also highly mechanized and industrialized.
The work ethic of the factory and the pace of the marketplace has created a design that we as humans feel compelled to replicate and integrate in our own behaviors.
But we are not machines.
We are not physical shells with no other purpose than to be productive, fuel efficient, economically sound and functional.
In the first sequence of a wonderful film called Baraka, there is the scene of a monkey sitting in a hot spring.
He seems to be meditating.
Certainly he is taking incredible pleasure from the warm, steaming pool he is submerged in.
His eyes show one at peace, at one with the simple abundance of natures gifts.
The standards of attainment, perfect and acceptability are driven by an industry where the motto has always been "time equals money".
But in reality time is a gift that is beyond price.
That perfect lifestyle, physical appearance or worldly achievement are always just that tantalizing millimeter beyond touch.
So we run the treadmill of fear and we don't rest.
Except I resolve to rest.
I'll put the fear aside.
Making rest a priority means I must maintain the boundaries that preserve it as an indispensable part of daily life.
Lack of peace and rest only bind me to the mental "chasing's after the wind" that feed the insatiable production line life while staving the soul of nourishment.
The dissatisfaction this perpetuates in not conducive to a compassionate life.