The term natural rest is quite accurate, and can also be misperceived. Mainly because the word “rest” is commonly used in a different way.
In a conventional sense, we understand rest as a break from a task, sitting or laying down, and perhaps being spaced out, or entertained, or caught in thoughts or daydreams, being half asleep, and so on.
The “rest” in natural rest is quite different. It’s noticing and allowing. Or, rather, noticing what’s already here, notice it’s already allowed, and aligning more consciously with that allowing. It’s alert and relaxed. It’s very natural. It’s just what’s already here noticing itself. And it can happen during any activity, including quite strenuous physical activity or any type of work or a conversation.
Natural rest can also be understood, or emphasized, in a few different ways.
It can be a general noticing and allowing of content of experience, as it is, and noticing this allowing is already here.
It can be a noticing of allowing of a more specific subset of content of experience, for instance a word, an image, sounds, or sensations. It’s a resting with an image, word, sounds, or sensations.
It can be a noticing and allowing which includes, or emphasizes, the boundless space this content is happening within and as. (It’s boundless since any imagined boundaries happen within that space.)
It can be a noticing and allowing which emphasizes that which all content happens within and as.
It can be a resting as any of these. As content of experience. As a subset of content of experience. As unbounded space. As that which any content happens within and as.
When I facilitate myself or someone else, I’ll usually emphasize one of these depending on the client and situation. For instance, I worked with a client a couple of days ago who has a lot of very strong (mental/physical) contractions, and I invited him to first rest with the contractions, and then notice the space it’s happening within, and it seemed to be a welcome relief for him to notice that space. Even the strongest contraction happens within and as boundless space. When we notice that, it seems less overwhelming and more OK as it is. It’s easier to rest with it, and perhaps even as it.