Winter has come. The first snow of the season fell on Thanksgiving and I didn’t make it out to the cabin to relish it up close. I didn’t make it out the day after Thanksgiving either. Now after two days away, I find the remains of coffee left in the percolator to have frozen. I find frost on the window in delicate, expressive pinwheels. I find snow from the cabin’s roof falling in sudden melting whooshes, plopping past my window, and a squirrel running by with a triangle of Thanksgiving morning’s Texas toast.
Tired from the Thanksgiving whirl of activities and clean up, I stayed in bed this morning. I laid there, and laid there . . . so comfortable. I was lying flat on my back and got to imagining, in a bemused way, promoting yoga as staying in bed with your knees pulled to your chest and heels resting just above your crotch. Honestly, I was just feeling so damn good. I started out trying to remember a dream, but I was, other than for that, literally thinking of nothing. Nothing. I was drifting. It felt so grand.
Resting is one of the greatest pleasures of life and a hidden quality on the path to being a true Self.
Work and rest have really punctuated my year. It’s been a year of intense work, and great rest. I feel so happy about that. (Not that you have to work hard to rest, but this is often the way it comes to me and it’s been the way I’ve come to realize that I truly do enjoy the activities, or “work,” that make me tired!)
My recent work has had to do with the website for this Course’s non-profit “Center”—the Center for A Course of Love. This is that “central” place, established to “hold” and at the same time “extend” the essence of this Course. It’s website went live this week www.centerforacourseoflove.org. Last week I announced my excitement over the Dialogue Series (found here). This week, my appreciation for rest has given me a way to share my enthusiasm for another of this website’s major features, it’s on-line Concordance and Search Facility. This marvelous creation was donated to the Center and is available on the Center’s website for free, partially to encourage giving freely to the Center’s work of holding and extending.
What I’m going to share today is the way I have used these search tools since they were created this spring. I don’t use them specifically as “research” tools (to find out something I don’t know), but to enhance my understanding of something that arises, as the appreciation for rest did today.
There are some forms of the word “rest” that do not apply to what I’m exploring, as in “distinct from all the rest” but there are many that are about the “rest” that I’m so attracted to. I think I lost count, but there are at least thirty three. “Rest” is first mentioned in Chapter 2 of The Course, where Jesus is saying that our minds have rejoiced in the teachings that have brought it here, “congratulating itself on a feat that brought it rest. It is from this rest that the heart begins to be heard.” (2:18) The last instance of the word “rest” as I’m experiencing it, is in the Appendix: “I ask you only to pause, to give the mind a rest, to enter a realm foreign to the mind and yet beloved to the heart.” (A.12) “Rest” is mentioned six times in my favorite chapter, Chapter 20: The Embrace. There are classics, like this one: “The injunction to rest in peace is for the living, not the dead.” (C:9.41) And there is this one from the mountain top of the 40 Days:
Remember that you are tired of learning. You are tired here, after your climb. You simply want to rest and have whatever transformation is to come to you to come. If you could indeed give in to this desire fully, it would speed the transformation along quite nicely. So please, listen to your weariness and to your heart’s desire to rest. Listen to the call to peace and let yourself recline in the embrace of love, feeling the warm earth beneath you and the heat of the sun above you. Let languor enfold you and apply no effort to what you read here. Just accept what is given. All that is being given is the helpful hints you have desired from an older brother who has experienced what you, as yet, have not. D:Day5.20
I liken the encouragement to “rest” within ACOL to Jesus’ lack of encouragement to exercises, studying, or practices. No one could “tell” me to rest . . . I assure you of that. I’m stubborn that way. But what ACOL allows me to do is notice what arises naturally and to begin to appreciate and value it. The thing is, is that we are often looking too hard . . . without even realizing that we are . . . for what will come to us naturally if we give our minds (and at times our bodies) the rest that is so encouraged. All of which reminds me of another way Jesus puts this—as letting go of self-improvement (quickly found with the search facility).
Ah, imagine now what it will be like to have nothing left to learn, nothing left to become. The pressure is off. The alchemy has occurred. The coal has become a diamond. Ah, imagine now being able to forget all ideas of self-improvement, imagine how much time will be saved by this quest coming to an end. E.1
I ask you but to give yourself a chance to forget about approaching this as one more self-improvement exercise, or one more objective to accomplish. Only in this way do you come to realize you are already accomplished. A.12
There are two ways to search a word like “rest.” One is with the Concordance. Here, you click on the letter “R” and find all the words in the Course that begin with this letter. Scrolling down to “rest” you see that there are 83 occurrences of the word in ACOL. An additional way is to click on the blue phrase Search for Word or Phrase in A Course of Love. When you do so, there appears a box in which you can type your word (or phrase). In typing “rest,” variations, such as restful, resting, and restless also appear. They appear, as in the Concordance, in context. But with the Search Facility, you can also click on the reference at the left (also in blue) to view the entire paragraph, as well as future and next paragraphs. You can also copy and paste as I have, but here’s a hint for doing so: For the sake of formatting, do not copy with the reference. Copy the text only and add the reference manually.
Today I wish you “rest,” along with happy arising, searching, finding and enhancing ~