A more real rest: healing & awakening

 

How do we find rest?

We can find rest in the ways most of us find rest. Lie down, unwind, sleep. Receive bodywork. Spend time in nature. Go on a vacation. Slow down. Reduce your schedule. Do more of what you really enjoy. Take a few courses in mindfulness and mindful movement (yoga, tai chi, chigong, Breema).

For most people, this is more than enough. It gives us the rest we need.

And yet, some of us are called to a path of deeper healing and awakening. And although this path can be intense, uncomfortable, and overwhelming at times (when unhealed emotional issues surface and our most cherished and basic identities are threatened and die), it does eventually bring a deeper and more real rest.

Taking ourselves to be a separate being is inherently stressful. Protecting the identities we take ourselves to be as an I and me is stressful. And unhealed emotional issues are stressful, whether they are triggered and active or resting and creating a more background level of stress.

All of this creates a level of ongoing tension and unease.

So as we find deeper healing for our emotional issues, there is a release of this tension and stress. And as there is an awakening out of taking ourselves to be a separate being, there is an even deeper release of tension and stress.

This deeper path of healing and awakening isn’t really something we choose. It’s chosen for us by life. It’s a calling. And although it can be immensely uncomfortable at times (to the extent we have trauma in our system and strongly hold onto certain identities for protection), it does eventually bring a deeper sense of relief and a deeper release of tension and unease.

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Second draft….

How do we find rest?

It can be rest in a conventional sense. Lie down, unwind, sleep. Receive bodywork. Spend time in nature. Go on a vacation. Slow down. Reduce your schedule. Do more of what you really enjoy. Explore mindfulness and mindful movement (yoga, tai chi, chigong, Breema).

All of this is important and helpful. For most people, it’s more than enough.

And yet, some of us are called to a deeper healing and awakening path. And one side-effect of this is, eventually, a deeper and more real rest.

To put it simply:

Anything unhealed emotional issue creates discomfort and unrest. Whenever it’s triggered, we get stressed and tense in mind and body. And even if it’s not currently triggered, the emotional issues are still there creating a level of stress and tension in the background.

Beyond healing we have awakening. Whenever our mind takes itself to be a separate being, that too creates a background level of stress and tension. And this is triggered more strongly whenever our identities and beliefs are activated and apparently threatened by life and current life situations. (This is also what creates and maintains emotional issues.)

Healing emotional issues allows our mind and body to release tension, rest more deeply, and to find more peace and contentment. As does awakening out of the experience of being a separate being.

Luckily, many approaches invite in both healing and awakening. Some of my favorites are basic meditation (Natural Rest), different forms of inquiry, heart-centered practices, bringing these into daily life, and also energetic approaches like inner yoga and Vortex Healing.

And there is the bigger picture:

Any time our experience of reality is out of alignment with reality, there is stress and tension. And the more we are in conscious alignment with reality – through awakening and emotional healing – there is less stress and tension.

Taking ourselves as a separate being is inherently stressful because it’s out of alignment with reality, and also out of alignment with our immediate noticing. Taking ourselves as a separate being is also what allows emotional issues to be created and maintained. Similarly, emotional issues make us out of alignment with reality since they are created by stressful beliefs, and these are also inherently out of alignment with reality.

So we can and often need to rest in a conventional sense. And if we – through grace and our own readiness – make a longer-term investment in our emotional healing and perhaps awakening, we may find a deeper rest for our whole being.

I should add that the healing and awakening process isn’t always pleasant or comfortable. Unhealed issues come to the surface. And our most basic and cherished identities are activated, threatened, and eventually – sometimes after a lot of struggle – wear off or fall away. This can temporarily dramatically increase our level of stress and discomfort. And that’s why my old Zen teacher said – when a new group of people came to the Zendo – if you don’t have to be here, consider not starting on this path.

And that’s also why I usually don’t write about this. For most of us, if we want more rest, the conventional approaches are more than good enough. Engaging in a deeper healing and awakening process can give a deeper rest as a side-effect, but that’s not a reason in itself to enter such a path. We are called to it for other reasons, and although I can make a list of reasons, the real reasons are – at least to me – a mystery.

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Initial draft….

How do we find rest?

It can be rest in a conventional sense. Lie down, unwind, sleep. Receive bodywork. Spend time in nature. Go on a vacation. Slow down. Reduce your schedule. Do more of what you really enjoy. Explore mindfulness and mindful movement (yoga, tai chi, chigong, Breema).

All of this is important and helpful.

And yet, for a deeper and more real rest, we need healing and awakening.

Anything unhealed emotional issue creates discomfort and unrest. Whenever it’s triggered, we get stressed and tense in mind and body. And even if it’s not currently triggered, the emotional issues are still there creating a level of stress and tension in the background.

Beyond healing we have awakening. Whenever our mind takes itself to be a separate being, that too creates a background level of stress and tension. And this is triggered more strongly whenever our identities and beliefs are activated and apparently threatened by life and current life situations. (This is also what creates and maintains emotional issues.)

ealing emotional issues allows our mind and body to rest more deeply and to find more peace and contentment. As does awakening out of the experience of being a separate being.

The two overlap to some extent. Healing emotional issues makes it easier to notice what we already are since there are fewer distractions from being caught in reactivity to our inner pain. (What we are = that which any content of experience happens within and as.) And awakening makes deeper healing easier. It’s easier to notice what in us is out alignment with reality, including emotional wounds, and invite it to reorient to reality. (This mutual support between healing and awakening doesn’t always happen, but it’s more likely if we have that intention and orientation.)

Luckily, many approaches invite in both healing and awakening. Some of my favorites are basic meditation (Natural Rest), different forms of inquiry, heart-centered practices, bringing these into daily life, and also energetic approaches like inner yoga and Vortex Healing.

So we can and often need to rest in a conventional sense. And if we make a longer-term investment in our emotional healing and perhaps awakening, we may find a deeper rest for our whole being.

Any time our experience of reality is out of alignment with reality, there is stress and tension. And the more we are in conscious alignment with reality, through awakening and emotional healing, there is less stress and tension.

Emotional issues make us out of alignment with reality since they are created by stressful beliefs, and these are – almost by definition – out of alignment with reality. Taking ourselves as a separate being is inherently stressful because this too is out of alignment with reality. And we can also say that, in general, taking ourselves as a separate being is what allows emotional issues to be created and maintained.

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