Physical Need 5 - Rest

Rest means not-doing, it’s about having unstructured ‘empty’ periods in your life (ideally on a daily basis) in which you allow the stillness of the present moment to connect with you and guide you. You will know when this has happened because you will feel at peace and totally present.  This is of course an unfamiliar experience for most of us, since we tend to rush from one thing to another, constantly filling our time with ‘stuff’. Rest is designed to keep a check on that, to prevent us from getting too absorbed in doings and to help us crossover from ‘doing’ to ‘being’. During rest or empty time, you have no intentions, expectations or plans whatsoever – this is the key. You essentially trust and stay with the present moment and allow yourself to be guided by the creative impulse of the moment

 

One thing to be aware of is that often the ‘doing’ mind will attempt to regain control and make suggestions for you, for example you might have a thought to watch TV or call a friend. As a general rule of thumb if an activity stimulates you, emotionally arouses you, increases tension or reduces your inner sense of calm then that is not rest. What actually happens during this empty time will really depend on you, what nourishes you might be very different for another person. Rest for me can sometimes be simply going for a walk, daydreaming, watching, meditating, lie on the grass, writing something or just simply sitting. I simply go with the moment and allow the moment to take me. If I get a thought, which I often do, of cutting short my rest period, I just notice it, let go of it and return my attention to the moment. In my experience introducing regular periods of rest can help to not only rejuvenate the body and mind, but as importantly it opens up channels of creativity and insight.

 

Tips for Rest

 

  • Try a seven-day experiment in which you commit to giving yourself some empty time each day. Whilst the exact length will of course depend on what works for you, you should aim for 10 minutes plus. Write these times into your diary and remember not to fill them with anything! I have found that this seven day approach works well for my clients in terms of motivating them to try it. If seven days sounds too much go for three days, if it sounds too little go for a month. It’s best to stick with something that is realistic and achievable.
  • Find a label for you rest period that gives it personal significance and meaning. For example ‘me time’, ‘quiet time’ ‘prayer time’
  • Make sure you won’t be disturbed during your rest time. Of course this is not easy if you have children.
  • An attitude of playfulness, openness and curiosity can help the ‘rest’ process
  • Start your rest time, by sitting still and focusing on your breath. When you are moved to so something and/or if you get a thought to do something ask yourself, ‘Will this increase my sense of calm and spaciousness and nurture me from within?’ If the answer is ‘Yes’, allow yourself to be moved to do it. If not, just wait patiently, something will come. If your ‘doing’ mind kicks in, or if you start judging yourself or your experience, just gently turn your attention back to the present moment.

 

During rest or empty time, you have no intentions, expectations or plans whatsoever – this is the key. You essentially trust and stay with the present moment and allow yourself to be guided by the creative impulse of the moment

 

  • Whatever happens allow yourself to enjoy the experience
  • Once your rest period is finished reflect on your experience and how you are feeling. What did you learn about yourself? What insights did you get? How enjoyable was it? How motivated are you to give yourself another rest period?
  • If possible and practical, why not allocate ½ a day or even a full day to rest. Just go with the flow and see what happens.
  • If you engaged in a creative endeavour, for example writing or drawing, build into your schedule rest before, during and after it. By being open to the creative impulse of the present moment you might well find insight and/or be moved to change something about your work.

 

 Now move onto physical need 6 - relaxation



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