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Invitation to Deep Rest: Five Teachings from the Ancient Vedas

Rest is twofold — there is the involuntary type of rest, in which sleep takes over and we are compulsively mandated to rest by the intelligence of our own being. The other is voluntary, in which we actively pause — actively choose to be inactive. It's good to indulge both kinds of rest: not only sleep, but the kind we employ throughout the day. A rested body and rested mind is a rejuvenated, empowered, and enabled body and mind.

There are different kinds of rest that you can actively choose to cultivate. The first is meditation. This is easier than it may sound: simply close your eyes, and allow your thoughts to come. Rather than engaging with your thoughts, however, you simply become the witness of your mind's activity. As the witness, you are not being active, simply aware of the activity moving through your mind. A few minutes of this each day can do wonders.

While in meditation, you may choose to hold your hands in a mudra, with your thumb and index finger connected, and place your hand on your thigh. When you do that, with both hands, it gives a subtle suggestion to your entire nervous system to rest. Anchored in rest like this helps to cultivate inner divinity.

You may also find deep rest by spending time with Mother Nature. Simply lying back on the Earth and gazing at the blue sky and clouds rolling by is a kind of sacred pause. You may also lie down with your head down in the soil, inhaling the sweet scents of the land, and experience the wonder of grass blades and little insects trotting about their life. Becoming a witness to Mother Nature and her magic brings reassurance, comfort, and a unique safety; and is a deep rest to your emotional being.

Another kind of rest happens by being a witness, watching and hearing, those you love and trust laughing and playing. You need not even participate in the joy to find solace in it — you need only to simply allow for the magic of relationships to heal you and usher you safe passage into your inner being. You don't need the compulsion to chitchat or make intelligent conversation — you can simply BE. I remember as a child lying in the lap of my mother — it was deeply restful to just lie and listen to her and my father talk.

Resting can also be playtime with your animal friends or your animal healers. You may choose to rest with a book, a mantra in the background, or your teacher's words on a podcast or recorded conversation. Simply allowing those words — those teachings — to pour through like a divine shower is rest without needing to jump up and practice. In this stillness, you find your spirituality.

I invite you to a life of REST... which brings us back to sleep. All ease begins with a good night's sleep — it is the anchor up0n which all other rest is built.

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