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SOME MORE ABOUT INERTIA AND RESTING
Yesterday, after a week of restless exhaustion, I fell into a deep state of rest. It was sudden, and unaccounted for. It had to be a gift from the universe. Perhaps it was triggered by a lie-down with my cat, just stroking him, and having him lie in the crook of my arm. However it happened, it is here. I want nothing more to do these days than sit with cups of tea, stare out of the window, or lie in bed, simply lie in that hypnagogic state between waking and dreaming. Even the unmade bed doesn’t matter, nor the few dirty dishes in the sink. I have had six hours of sleep, and six of just lying about.
It is hard to admit this. It is hard to still the critical voice that says, don’t write all this piddly stuff. Nobody gives a shit about your resting habits. It is too personal and self-indulgent. But I am emboldened by my state of rest to defy these voices.
Inertia is a form of rest. When you have had more activity, mental or physical, than you can handle, the body and mind wrest the wages of their labor, their due of stillness. And why not? Stillness is the mother of all activity, the mother from which all comes, and into which all returns.
Artists and writers need more rest because subconsciously and unconsciously, they are always working. Their work is their life, their life is their work. Because of this most artists do nothing other than their art. It is hard for them to hold down jobs. “The true artist will let his wife starve, his children go barefoot, his mother drudge for his living at seventy, sooner than work at anything but his art,” GB Shaw said, in Man and Superman. Artists need a lot of leisure, wide, vast spaces to dream in, un-harnessed times where the imagination roams the fields of thought, grazing at what it will. Like rivers they need to flow unhampered by clocks and obligations.
But even as I write this, the voice of my elders intrudes to make me wonder if I am making an excuse to lie in bed some more, rationalizing my laziness. This tug-of-war between the need for rest and the desire to do and achieve is endless. It is a daily, an hourly struggle. I am often inclined to work when I should rest, and rest when I should work. I still do not listen to the mute messages of my body; I still haven’t learned to ride, like a hawk, the waves of energy and rest. I am torn between these contraries. To master this balance between the two is the work of a lifetime. Yet I have experienced moments, mainly when I am in such a deep state of rest, in which the body and mind, resting and working, being and doing, working and playing, are one; a time and a place where I am not judging my states, weighing and measuring who I am and what I want and what I need; when the doer and the doing become one.
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