A Sabbath Subject: Rest
Because I am composing this on Sunday, I wanted to make this offering centered in a Sabbath theme: rest.
When our brains are so busy taking in stimulation and processing information, not to mention generating thoughts and managing the whole lot of our existence, our minds need a break sometimes. We know when we sleep we step away from being fully conscious. And we know when we numb out to distract ourselves we are just delaying the need to “deal with” the content in our heads.
But what can we do to both be present with what’s in our head AND fully conscious of it in a way that brings rest?
We can meditate.
We can do a “thought download.”
Meditation can be a means of centering, a reminder that as long as we are able to breathe, we are alive, we are okay. We can picture our lungs literally taking in air infused with oxygen, then zoom our “mind’s eye” out to seeing ourselves meditating in the room we’ve chosen, zoom out still to see the house or building in which we are existing in the moment, and zoom further still to see the town, and eventually out to our state, country, continent, world, and galaxy. God sees it all. And He is sustaining your breath (Mosiah 2:21). Even with overwhelm pending, you are safe, and in this moment, all is well. The big picture reminds us of important and restful truths.
A “thought download” is a tool I learned from a great teacher. It simply is a method to stop “indulging” in the idea that there are infinite issues pressing upon us.
When you write them down, it demystifies the quantity and makes it all more bearable. Instead of “I have billions of things to get done today” after writing down a to-do list, you can say, “I have twenty-seven things to do, and I will star the ones that need to be done today.” Huge difference.
Another example is saying “I am so stressed out” whereupon you write down (download) all the thoughts you are having that feel burdensome or overwhelming–until you can think of no more. And now, my friends, you will see that there is not an infinite number of stressors; there are sixteen. And you can take them one-by-one and make a plan.
Quantifying pulls the plug on the myth that our finite, mortal capacities are no match for the infinite problems we face. It comes down to numbers. Write down what is swirling around up there in your heads, and then say a prayer, take a breath, and rest for a while. That list will be there when you decide to tackle it, and with your faith engaged (Matthew 11:28), the Lord will be with you when you do!
Happy Sabbath. I hope one or both of these tools comes in handy. Keep calm and rest on!