Listen to your weariness and to your heart’s desire to rest. D.Day5:20
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 ~
Paula and Ben, you are both so, so eloquent and honest and right about the ideas we have about rest! And so profoundly correct about self-acceptance being key. Thank God Jesus highlights this so much! I see more and more the layers of self-acceptance that I move through and how, with each one, I’m more accepting of others. How can you accept the restfulness in others when you never allow yourself rest!? There is truly nothing more freeing than self-acceptance (and perhaps nothing else that takes us so darn long)! And Ben, I have found rest to often bring tears to my eyes, too, as a sort of lovely let-down of anything or everything pent up, waiting inside to be noticed, or just to BE. Love you both. ~ Mari
Aarruugghhh, to quote eloquent Ben, I just lost my comments to you and Ben, Mari. I don’t know why that happens! Let me rephrase.
I was making some points about this whole belief system of needing to do ‘self-improvement.’ For me, it was a foundation of who I believed I was, an unfinished product that needed constant work to try to get better. So whatever I did— play, watch TV, read books, do good works, that feeling lurked beneath it all. I seemed to have a ‘flaw monitor’ who constantly evaluated me, red pen in hand, making big marks in her evaluation chart.
One of the liberations ACOL has brought me is Jesus’ encouragement to let all that go, that in truth we are accepted just the way we are in this minute. We’re not to worry about our ‘flaws and faults’ as they are part of who we are and who are we to judge ourselves or anyone!. Just focus on our choices to release all judgment and fear, our choices to acknowledge and surrender to the beauty of who we are in truth. No more learning, no more fixing, just self-acceptance which is key to acceptance of everyone and everything without judgment.
Anyway, lest this writing also disappears, I’ll close. Love you dear Ben and dear Mari! Paula
Yes, Paula, I seem to have similar experiences…Rest is perhaps seen as a kind of “reward” for good behaviour…you must do this first, before you can…rest…etc. I seem to be too busy with efforting! as if Rest is a waste of time…how bizarre is that! Yes , so often we are preoccupied with those “flaws and faults”. But, just lately, …( I entered Day 17, again,) I seem to be floating about…one toe on the earth, head and everything else in heaven….very odd….unless this is the unset to Alzheimers… I miss exits on roundabouts and have to repeat them, …with a smile!…and with a tear or two! I am also amazed at the degree of clarity I have ( or seem to have) when I observe the world as it arrives on TV. And then, when I sing the Messiah, I really feel At Rest…….And his name shall be called: Wonderful…Counsellor ! sometimes I cannot even sing these words properly, as the meaning hits me!
As Paula writes just self-acceptance which is key to acceptance of everyone and everything without judgment. Bless you.,
Paula and Ben, I was just out walking–a beautiful, beautiful night for this time of year–and it occurred to me what a silly thing I said in my first response. I was being lazy with my words, and not presenting myself truly because I haven’t done “self-improvement” for more years than I haven’t watched TV. I don’t know for sure why I had to rush back here and say that! but I did, because I have really liked being engaged with my work and my creativity, and some version of that was what I was always doing before I began resting. For some reason, just for a moment, that seemed a little self-improvement like! (and I guess if it is, it is). I love it though, and it is most often a form of self-love I couldn’t do without. It’s just that I often have not known when to quit, and that sometimes this “passion” verges into that other area that all of us know, of sticking with it long past the time when it makes any sense. I wouldn’t give up being creative for anything, but I am truly happier now that I’m resting too. Whew!
Paula and Ben, I’m grouping you together because the idea of rest seems like a new one to you as much as to me. I did not realize it until I began actually resting, even to watching television, (which I’d hardly touched in years,) that I had not been resting . . . hardly at all! I would have the idea that I was resting as I read or wrote or put my feet up for five minutes. I do believe it was listening to the audio tracks that began showing me how welcome turning off my mind completely could be. That’s where the television has come in! But it is so remarkable to once again be refreshed in this way. It is as though while I am distracted (rested, relaxed by a bit of entertainment or whatever), a space opens up. And the space is enough. It is a bonus that I return to the things I am interested in more refreshed.
There is some particular quality for me in this that is like a counterpoint. It seems it is important to do this for no reason. Which has alerted to me to the “reason” behind so many of my ways of “thinking I was resting” in the past. Often they were pastimes of self-improvement only lightly disguised as rest. What a joy to find this out! It feels very freeing.
Jacques, I like the phrase “enlightening lightness.”
Thank you Mari.
I realize that to be sure – true faith -is what in my experience really brings rest. It results in true peace of mind. To often the mind is restless, preoccupied with the past and the future. The heart is restful.
My new found way to rest is resting in the Present, having given rest to the past or having put the past to rest.
No more burdens to carry. Complete forgiveness. Enlightening lightness.
Jacques, I love your comment, “My new found way to rest is resting in the Present, having given rest to the past or having put the past to rest!!!” This is what I have been about since being introduced to ACOL a year ago. I have a feeling that the past is put to rest now. It’s been a powerful process done through me by some grace —and my willingness was key.
I like this sentence: “Resting is one of the greatest pleasures of life and a hidden quality on the path to being a true Self.” and I intend contemplating this. Thank you.
As regards the “search toy”, I really have a lot of fun with it…aha’s galore! Here is a fun statistic:
The word “Love”appears 1132 x in ACOL, 686 x in the Bible (425 in OT, and 261 in NT)
The word “Self” appears 711 x in ACOL, 45 x in the Bible ( 8x in OT, 37 x in NT)
One wonders whether that has to do with an elevated level of consciousness within humanity since 100AD as a whole, and with Christ-Consciousness ( appears 163 x in ACOL) in particular.
Again, thank you and all those who made it happen.
Mari, your message on “rest” is just where I am right now! I am loving the permission I am giving myself to rest. I also loved the emphasis that your guardian angel named “Peace” placed on rest in his messages to you, especially at a time in your life (as reported in your book “Peace”) when you were especially busy and before ACOL had come through you. I read that book just when I needed to let myself have rest and what Peace said to you was like he was saying it to me. I find it very difficult to give that to myself without ‘guilting’ or ‘shoulding’ myself.
Then this morning in T4,12.12 “There is no reason for you not to exist in continual contentment. Continual contentment will not stunt your growth or prevent you from sharing or from expressing yourself anew.” Rest and continual contentment seem to go together in my mind. Yes I’m tired of learning, yes I’m tired of trying to fix myself, trying to be more, be better, yadda yadda yadda—- REST, CONTINUAL CONTENTMENT, YES!
YES dear Paula. The key is to rest in love’s arms.