February 26, 2009
I’m convinced that adequate rest is the most important factor for our health and well-being. We’re a culture of “doers” and so we might think of exercise first. I’d say exercise is a close second to rest, but being well-rested is the foundation of everything — our physical, psychological and spiritual well-being. Being well-rested means getting enough sleep at night, and it means taking breaks when you need them during the day. It means not pushing yourself until you’re over-tired.
With this in mind, it’s surprising that it’s taken me this long to create this new podcast episode “Deep Rest Guided Meditation”. Even though many of the meditations will help with getting rest, this meditation goes further with it. The whole focus is to rest completely — to let go of everything going on in our lives and allow the whole system to get a deep rest. Just beginning the meditation with that intention starts the process in motion.
It’s so easy to overlook the importance of rest, even though it’s essential to absolutely everything we do. Most of us have a sleep deficit. Most of us don’t get enough rest. If you have to wake up with an alarm, you are probably not getting enough sleep.
To suggest that you get enough sleep and enjoy the luxury of being really well rested is quite a radical thing to do in our culture, and yet with enough rest you’ll not only feel better, but make better decisions and get more done. Sleep deprivation accounts for all sorts of accidents and mistakes.
Hopefully you will come out of this meditation feeling more rested and refreshed, but there is also the possibility that you will feel even more tired. That’s because of the accumulated fatigue under the surface. We tend to override that fatigue in our rush to get things done. When you relax in this meditation, you may begin to notice just how tired you actually are. If that is your experience, find a time when you can do the meditation and have extra time to rest afterwards. Try to get more sleep.
I promise you that getting enough rest will not mean you get less done! I know when I’m well rested, I can be more creative and productive, not to mention enjoying things more.
February 16, 2009
In a very interesting, enjoyable blog post, “K” describes her experience with our meditation podcast. Her post is fun to read, and it raises a lot of interesting questions. First of all, she begins by saying “I am not what you would call a spiritual person”. In view of this, she was surprised to find herself listening to the meditations. That raises the question as to whether only spiritual people meditate, or whether meditation is necessarily associated with spirituality. And then, of course, there’s the bigger question of what spirituality, or being spiritual, means. At one point K asks “Was I actually meditating?” (when listening to the podcast). This brings up yet another question — “what is meditation?” These are all interesting questions to explore. My feeling is that asking these kinds of questions can lead to worthwhile self-discovery.
One thing I loved about K’s post is that her bottom line was that whether or not meditation is spiritual and whether or not she is actually meditating — “there’s no way I’m giving it up”. For whatever reason, regardless of whether what she’s doing is spiritual (as a supposedly “non-spiritual” person) and regardless of whether what happens as she listens to the podcast is meditation, she likes it. And isn’t that what really matters? There are so many ideas about meditation and what it is to be spiritual. Often these ideas can become stumbling blocks that keep us from what we are really looking for. They can become “shoulds” that get in the way.
I’d love to hear from you — how do you define spirituality and meditation? Do you consider yourself to be a spiritual person, and if so, why? What makes you spiritual? Do you feel spirituality and religion are one and the same, or are they two different things? Do you feel you have to be spiritual to meditate? Do you feel that meditating makes you spiritual?