July 10 The Art of Resting

On Monday, Marie will facilitate.  She shares:


Summertime can be a wonderful time to rest and replenish.  Often, we make plans and go away - visiting places where "to do" lists don't exist or connecting with friends and family. This summer, I'm not taking holidays, and while this is deliberate, it is sometimes disconcerting. At times, I find myself wondering: how will I manage the demands of the fall if I don't get away and have some down time? While I enjoy hearing about the holidays of others, occasionally, I have a "pang".


Fortunately, some night time reading - and day time practicing - has helped me develop a different perspective. In his book No Self, No Problem, Anam Thubten describes meditation as "the art of resting", and writes that "inner rest is the sacred ground on which we meet the light of enlightenment."

"Meditation is about resting completely.  Not just physically resting, but resting completely. Compete rest includes letting go of all forms of mental effort. Mind is always busy doing something. Mind has a very huge job to do. It has to sustain the universe. It has to sustain existence, because if our mind collapses, then there is no universe.... There is nothing there when the mind stopes maintaining this virtual reality. There is no universe. It's like riding a bicycle. When you ride a bicycle, you have to constantly keep pedaling. If you pause, the bicycle doesn't run on its own; it just falls over.  In the same way, as long as we don't create this imaginary world, it just collapses. Whatever you call it, samsara, reality or illusion, it collapses. It collapses because there is no one there working constantly to perpetuate it.   


Because of this, the mind feels like it has a big responsibility: to constantly construct and perpetuate this world of illusions. So, to rest means to pause, to pause from working very hard, to pause from continuously constructing this world of illusions, the dualistic world, the world that is based on the separation between self and other you and me, good and bad


When you completely take away the ego mind, the creator of this illusory world, then realization is already there and truth is automatically realized.  Therefore, the heart of Buddhist meditation practice is to relax and to rest.


We think we know how to rest. However, when we meditate, we discover that the mind has a tendency to work constantly, to exert effort and to attempt to gain control over reality. Mind is not peaceful or relaxed.  We find different layers of mind's effort. This is quite amazing to notice when we sit.  At first we think: "Oh - my mind is completely serene and peaceful".  But if we keep paying attention to our consciousness, we see that there is a very subtle effort.  This is the mind exerting effort, trying to have control over reality.  Maybe mind is seeking enlightenment.  Maybe mind is trying to transcend ego.  Or, we might think: "I don't like what I am experience right now.  There is pain in my joints".   Maybe mind is trying to....whatever... finish the meditation session.


Mind is always making up stories.  It is always writing the cosmic script. Therefore, the idea of resting completely involves letting go of all of this. Let go of all the thought. Let go of all the mind's effort and completely be in that natural state of your mind, the truth, the "what is" and then realization is already there."

On Monday, after our first sitting and walking meditation, we will have a guided meditation. I hope you will join us to practice the "art of resting" and to share your experiences with resting and replenishing from within.