by Michael Ketterhagen
I was sitting on the beach during our family vacation up North this past week at the Afterglow Lake Resort in Phelps, WI, listening to my grandson’s spiritual awakening/transformation/ transition and maybe entering the spiritually conscious world of RESTING. He was very excited about the book, “The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry,” by John Mark Connor.
First of all, “rest,” especially for young millennial people, is a challenging practice today. The clear understanding and daily practice of rest is dramatically needed in our busy, hyperactive, media driven culture. It can be a powerful antidote to all the stress-producing activities that accelerate our adrenaline flow (fight-flight-fright response) and our negative thought patterns.
This extra attention on our external world keeps the life force (prana) busy balancing our metabolism and digestion. “Prana-induced/directed” rest moves our mind and Spirit away from our preoccupation with other people’s ideas, desires, activities, beliefs, or imperatives. This rest brings us in touch with all that is true in us and to us. We become aware of our true self.
So, until we learn to rest daily, we can eventually lose ourselves. We ignore our deepest spiritual need to actualize ourselves as a child of God and become controlled by the outside forces of our body’s animal whims and desires and our mind’s emotional imaginations.
Then, what does “resting” mean?
As I mentioned in another writing, “resting” means bringing the mind and the breath together into a still focus. It doesn’t mean listening to music as we jog or run, or sitting in front of the television or computer with a coffee or a beer. It means lying on the floor or other firm surface, putting a small pillow under your head, placing your hands on your abdomen as it rises and falls with each inhale and exhale, then mentally watching that breath move through your body. It only takes 3-5 minutes for the body to move into the “Relaxation/Rest Response,” as taught by Dr Herbert Benson of Harvard Medical College.
To keep your mind busy as you witness the flow of the breath, you could count the length of the inhale and the length of the exhale, bringing the inhale and exhale to an effortless even flow. Just stay there for a while—maybe 5 minutes, maybe ten—but continue to bring your mind back to your breath, back to the flow.
After you have completed the time you have set for yourself, get up and move into your next activity with renewed energy and sustainability.
Let me know how it goes for you!