Rest as Resistance

restYou can rest when you’re dead.

Too often I’ve lived by this – often without even realising it. Until I take that first deep breath in far too long, and realise how profoundly tired to the bone I am. I begin to open my eyes to notice the world around me. Cheesy but true, I suddenly notice the flowers unfurling. The sunset breaking over my city. And I wonder, how do I miss this day in, day out?

Without rest, I grow restless, listless – a state that seems almost interchangeable with modern day ‘busyness’. Can there be a better illustration than the caffeine-clutching, dazed, sardine can of the daily commute?

Resting isn’t simple conservation, as valuable as that is. Resting is a resistance, activism against the constant urgings to consume, and its implicit suggestion that I am not good enough, not whole. Resting collapses my ego, propped up as it is by constant striving, doing, achieving. Resting systematically dismantles the demanding narrative of busyness. In resting I release attachment to the impulse to be constantly doing. Instead letting life unfold, breathing into each gorgeous moment.

When I feel busy I often think I feel out of control, but this is nonsense. I get attached to busyness as a way to feel a sense of control. Busyness is a state of being I use to blind myself to the true dynamism, endless, essential movement of life shifting its tectonic plates, sometimes seemingly terrifyingly, around me, within me. But far from being out of control, I can choose to let go busyness in a heartbeat. Surrendering to the groundless, dizzying, movement of life. I must rest to quieten the bombardment so that I can better hear my own heart – and the hearts of others.

As I rest, my mind subconsciously has the space to make sense, connect. It’s in surrendering to this repose that I encounter sparks the most profound creativity. Whole worlds seem to open up.

Nowadays it seems rest has been reserved for death, and its sisters of sleep, and relaxation, have been commoditised, pathologised, colonised by luxury spa days, sleeping pills, apps.

I learnt much about the power of truly resting, and it’s relationship to resistance, through scaravelli inspired yoga. It seems the deepest forms of resistance in my mind and body can only be reached by releasing, relaxing and resting into them. Finding the space of creative resistance through rest.

Resting isn’t idleness. It’s the out breath of action, two sides of the same coin, the animation of peace. The trees around us may look still, but they’re elegantly growing with the minimum necessary expenditure, no busyness. Nature always rests, knowing it needs to restore itself.

I know I must rest in order to bring my whole self to life, to fully employ myself, see things more clearly, to connect with people, to fully listen to them, understand them, to engage with the world. To have the strength to be present to the unimaginable horrors of our world, and still be able to see its endless, almost overwhelming beauty.