Peace Upon Peace newsletter theme october november 2014
~ Peace Upon Peace Some people think deep rest is taking a break from life. This is a fundamental misunderstanding of rest, meditation, and life. Resting deeply can mean recovering from an unsustainable way of living--of acting, working, communicating, thinking, perceiving, and being. But we do not "do" rest as that thing that then allows us to continue living unsustainably. Rest is not a break so we can get back to burning out. I remember being surprised when someone said, "Oh, good, deep rest--get out the eye pillows!" Now, I am not into eye pillows, but they do apply the gentle pressure that is said to reduce stress hormone levels in an over-activated alarm system in body and mind. But, anyone who has followed deep rest where it leads knows that meditation through deep rest does not keep us perpetually at the spa. Meditation through deep rest brings us out of the ongoing anxiety of taking "small mind" as the center of what we are. Meditation through deep rest brings us into the stream of aliveness, where the dams of our small agendas burst. Life sustains itself. Courage and calm, responsiveness and joy happen by themselves, and we can go along with what emerges. A.H. Almaas writes that, as "ego" dissolves, "basic trust" allows a 3 kinds of willingness to unfold. He says first we are willing to let go--"the death of the old." Then we are further willing "to settle into simple being," "just to be present, which is a sort of realization itself." Third, he says, we are willing "to allow things to develop spontaneously and naturally the way they want to develop, ...[with] trust that wherever things take you will be okay." (pg. 26, Facets of Unity) I would add that, in practice, it helps to notice and give room to 2 kinds of peace--an "Aaah" and a "Hummm." The "Aah" is the letting go. We relax in body or mind. And it is good to notice that it feels good. Or we notice we do not need to obey inner pressure. Aaah. We realize the little tight mind is never going to feel full or enough, but there is fullness or okayness anyway. Good, the "ego" anxiety or sense of wrongness can live within a wider sense of peace. Our alarm system calms down and we feel relief. As we let go of what is not alive or life-sustaining, we learn to drop our physical-mental addiction to stress and disconnection. We are not stressed out for no reason. Peace. The "Hummm" is the power of aliveness. In moments of crisis, or creativity, or love, or being in touch with nature or the underbelly of emotions, we come upon a power that is beyond us as individuals. Even if we simply relax, we also feel the presence of tremendous force, maybe coming up as if from the belly. Sometimes, looking up at the stars, we feel happily humble. Or, if we think this power is separate from us, we feel overwhelmed and afraid. But as we learn to let this energy move in and through us, we discover creativity, insight, and kindness flowing through the space we thought we were supposed to inhabit and defend. As we accept the power of the stream of aliveness, we learn a second form of peace. Our body and mind learn experientially that there is no need to freak out even in intense, powerful situations. We are not stressed out even if there is reason to freak out. Peace upon peace. Gradually, we find no need to separate the "Aaah" and the "Hummm." Relaxed and powerful, receptive and responsive--no need to take a break from self-sustaining life.