Resting is an act of service
For most of us, most of the time, we're running on fumes. Or, if not fumes, then on half a tank of gas. In a car that needs an oil change. And some new tires.
We don't give ourselves the rest we need.
Devon and I really started noticing this about a year into teaching workshops. We'd lie everybody down for a body scan - and half the room would fall asleep.
At first, we worried. I mean, we had things to teach after all.
But after awhile, we started to celebrate the snoring. Because what we noticed was that meditation went a lot better if people just let themselves slumber for a bit.
Now we've begun to apply this insight to our own lives. If we fall asleep in meditation, we don't worry about it. When we wake up, we just start meditating again.
And at least once a week, we give ourselves plenty of time to just lie around and do nothing.
This could seem pretty self-indulgent. But it's actually a serious discipline with a clear motivation.
Want to give it a try?
Block out a half day sometime - a Sunday afternoon maybe, or whatever day you might have partially off. Block it out in advance, send your kids off with their grandparents, tell your life partner to go bowling - do whatever might be necessary to have some time alone.
Then turn off your cell phone. And your laptop. And unplug your TV.
And just do nothing. The whole time. Don't go for a 30 mile bike ride. Don't read the news. Don't read a book. Don't take in any information at all.
Don't drive your car. Don't call a friend. Don't work in your garden.
Just lie around.
When you feel tired, sleep. When you feel restless, jump up and down and make funny noises. Sure, you can meditate if you feel like it. A slow walk might be just the thing.
But the discipline is literally to do nothing.
The motivation, however, is also important. We're doing this, in fact, to make ourselves more available to others. We want to actually give the mind and body the rest it needs. Because when we give the mind and body the rest it needs, then we have the energy, the space, and the emotional resources to actually be of benefit to others.
So at the beginning of your experiment you might set the intention, "May this time restore me to some basic level of sanity, and may that sanity extend to everyone I meet, and may I genuinely help people - starting tomorrow."
Then you might remind yourself throughout the afternoon. "May this lying on the living room floor be of benefit to others."
See what happens. You might be surprised how hard it is. But you also might be surprised how much more you have to offer Monday morning.
All good things,