Our psyches, like nature, need periods of rest and regeneration. Some overly positive psychological models have no place for the dips in mood or energy that are a normal part of life and which can be seen in the cycles of nature. We have to learn to not fear those moments when we do not feel completely in control, or when lose our sense of direction for a while.
There are moments in human life when a new page is turned. New interests and tendencies appear which have hitherto received no attention, or there is a sudden change of personality. During the incubation period of such a change we can often observe a loss of conscious energy: the new development has drawn off the energy it needs from consciousness. This lowering of energy can be seen most clearly …in the empty stillness which precedes creative work.
Jung, The Psychology of the Transference, CW 16.
Do not ask
for flowery perfume
when I can give you
fruits of autumn
Do not reject nourishment
because winter is at the door
and already the old saints
have raised their brows
to contemplate eternity
We children of the moment
drink up the last of the wine.
Lalla Romana, 1906 – 2001 Italian poet
We already know how to let go – we do it every night when we go to sleep, and that letting go, like a good night’s sleep, is delicious. Opening in this way, we can live in the reality of our wholeness. A little letting go brings us a little peace, a greater letting go brings us a greater peace. Entering the gateless gate, we begin to treasure the moments of wholeness. We begin to trust the natural rhythm of the world, just as we trust our own sleep and how our own breath breathes itself.
Jack Kornfield, After the Ecstasy, the Laundry
Letting ourselves sink. Coming to rest. Resting….Images from nature can be useful in meditation practice.
Suppose someone is holding a pebble and throws it in the air and the pebble begins to fall down into a river. After the pebble touches the surface of the water, it allows itself to sink slowly into the river. It will reach the bed of the river without any effort. Once the pebble is at the bottom of the river, it continues to rest. It allows the water to pass by.
I think the pebble reaches the bed of the river by the shortest path because it allows itself to fall without making any effort. During our sitting meditation we can allow ourselves to rest like a pebble.
Resting is a very important practice; we have to learn the art of resting. You should allow your body and your mind to rest. The problem is that not many of us know how to allow our body and mind to rest. We are always struggling; struggling has become a kind of habit. We cannot resist being active, struggling all the time. It is very important to realize that we have the habit energy of struggling.
Our mind as well as our body needs to rest.… Only if we know how to allow them to rest can our body and our soul heal themselves.
Thich Nhat Hahn, Rest in the River
Buddhism may be summed up in two phrases: “Let go!” and “Walk on!”
Drop the craving for self, for permanence, for particular circumstances, and go straight ahead with the movement of life
Gate gate pāragate pārasaṃgate bodhi svāhā
[“Gone, Gone, Gone beyond, Completely gone to the Other Shore. Oh what an Awakening”]
The final lines of the Heart Sutra considered by some Buddhists the perfection of all wisdom – Pragya Paramita- finding a pace of rest, a stability that is beyond all coming or going.