Rest and Relaxation


I am tired.

More than tired. Exhausted.

Again.

Recently I bought a new mattress in the hopes of improving the quality of my sleep. From a shop called ‘Dreamland,’ my mattress promised not only a good night’s sleep, but excellent support conforming to the contours of my body with memory foam insuring enhanced comfort and temperature control. It is guaranteed for years against any disaster- flooding, fire, mites, weevils, rodents, mould, mildew, pet damage- anything except, curiously, attack by wild birds. Why am I still so tired?

My week is full of busyness, caffeine and commotion. I long for the weekends. Don’t we all? Some of us want to rest on these longed-for weekends, but often we are restless, or like me, more than restless, sleepless. Sometimes on the weekends, we crave excitement- usually something to do with exciting the senses, leaving us not only unsatisfied, but wrung out, hung over, bloated, bad tempered, broke, more deluded.

Can we not abandon these unpeaceful minds and find what we truly desire? How are we going to do that then? Could the answer be meditation? Finding both restful calm and virtuous stimulation in the form of mental awareness every day. ‘Meditation,’, as Geshla tells us, ‘is a virtuous mental action that is the main cause for experiencing mental peace in the future.’ And what is rest but mental peace? And what is the future, but the weekend?

Even if our meditation is not going well, we are still creating the causes for inner peace tomorrow, the next day, or the day after that. Currently our delusions give us no rest. We are living in a state of almost constant anxiety and discomfort no mattress is ever going to fix.

‘If our mind is peaceful,’ Geshla explains in Transforming the Mind, ‘we shall be free from worries and mental discomfort, and we shall experience true happiness; but if our mind is not peaceful, we shall find it very difficult to be happy, even if we are living in the very best conditions. If we train in meditation, our mind will gradually become more and more peaceful, and we shall experience purer and purer forms of happiness. Eventually we shall be able to stay happy all the time, even in the most difficult circumstances.’

Why wait for the weekend? Be happy all the time.

One of the sources of my own tired state of mind is tension. Tension is literally a pulling strain, yanking us in opposite directions. Currently this tension is arising from wanting to mix my mind with Dharma, but still finding myself trapped in the ordinary world. Through meditation, receiving blessings, relying on Buddha, Dharma and Sangha and reducing my dependence on ordinary appearances and conceptions, I am trying to ease the strain.

Sleeping better already.