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In Defense of Rest

I see article after article, post after post, trying to inspire people to make the most of this time. I myself did some writing to this effect when the virus and the lockdowns first descended on us. Now that we've been in the trenches of this for close to a month, my perspective is shifting. If you have not written the next great novel during this time, you are not doing quarantine wrong. In fact, I think we will look back and see that it was not what we did in this time that changed the course of history, but that we didn't "do." Perhaps, for the first time in many of our lives, we took a rest, and this may be a good thing. If we pull ourselves from our to do list for a second and observe what nature seems to be asking of us, I would say it's to get out of the way for a minute. It's to go inside, not just inside our homes, but inside ourselves. It's to finally pause long enough to ask ourselves, "what do I want my life to be like when this is over? What do I want my world to be like?"


Being vs doing


We tend to identify as what we do, so letting go of doing is very, very hard for most of us. If you grew up in a Western culture, you learned from a very young age that your value comes from what you do, your actions. We learn to focus our attention and seek happiness at the other side of achievements and acquisitions, and we shape our sense of self around those achievements. If you ask someone who they are, half the time they lead with a job description. High achievers, especially right now, are scrambling because, if their means of achievement is halted by being on lockdown, they have to find something real quick to replace it or else they could start feeling a crisis of identity. But you are not what you do. You are, at your source, Being or pure consciousness. You hear yogis and meditation people all the time talk about this thing called, "Being." But what does that even mean? Being is the absolute field that is the source of all relativity. From an individual's perspective, Being is you minus all the thoughts. Using this time to learn to "just be" as the yogis say could be the most productive way to go right now. 


Action's power comes from rest


Have you ever heard a piece of music without the rests? It would sound like a kid banging on all the keys of a piano. Action derives its power and meaning by being interspersed with rest. It's ironic that turning your attention away from the field of action and towards the field of Being is the most impactful thing you can do. It's like how the pulling back on a bow is what gives the arrow the power and accuracy to hit the target. This is the reason somany Silicon Valley tech companies have their own in-house meditation gurus. If our actions are to have meaning when things start to open up again, we must allow for this period of rest. 


We're experiencing a Rashi


Those of you who have been coming to my online group meditations have heard me talk about a Sanskrit term called a "Rashi." A Rashi is like a big, sweeping wave of change. It's like evolution took a steroid and irrelevant things that would normally take years to fall away, shift all at once. After the wave passes, there is a huge bump in consciousness, nothing is the same, and there's no going back. Destruction always clears the way for creation, so with this much destruction at once, we are looking at a big period of creation coming our way. And some of us may already be getting those pings to create, which is great. If that's you, go for it. But overall, the destruction phase is still happening. A field needs to be weeded before the seeds of creation can be planted, and the weeding is still in full force. 


Relieve the pressure


Breaking old patterns is one of the hardest things for humans to do. Breaking the pattern of feeling the need to "go, go, go" and "do, do, do" does not come easy, so go easy on yourself. Don't turn "not doing" into another thing you need to achieve. Right now, many of us are working from home, or dealing with the loss of our means of income. We're homeschooling our kids, (which for me personally has been a big lesson in letting go of my perfectionist tendencies, I'd give myself a solid C, C- on that one). And we have to decontaminate ourselves like we've just left a tour of Chernobyl every time we come back from the grocery store. And that's if we're lucky and aren't dealing with the illness itself. Just managing your basic needs is enough. Just making it through the day is enough. Just breathing is enough. Just Being is enough. 

Scarlett taking a nap in a sunbeam


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KRISTEN VANDIVIER is an independent meditation teacher. She and THE VEDIC METHOD are not affiliated in any way with the Maharishi Foundation USA or Transcendental Meditation ("TM") organizations, or with any trademark, program or organization that is affiliated with, or a licensee of, the Maharishi Foundation USA or Transcendental Meditation ("TM").

Vedic Meditation is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider regarding any medical condition.

​© 2017 by The Vedic Method.

 

​© 2017 by The Vedic Method.