T H E R E S O U R C E A N D R H Y T H M O F R E S T
Selections from the Agni Yoga Series
Presented before the Agni Yoga Society, February 7, 2012
(A talk originally given before the Society, December 13, 1979, by Dean Going, with her comments)
Rest, sleep, leisure time are all part of the cyclic flow of energy, therefore the science of their use must be a part of our consideration and endeavor.
“Soon the machine will enable people to be at leisure a considerable portion of the day. One must ask oneself upon what this free time will be expended.”
“Free time” too often gives the impression of a “play time” separate from the objective of living, instead of being an important part of it. “Let us agree on the meaning of the concept of rest. Around this concept a multitude of false and harmful interpretations have clustered. People have become accustomed to think that rest is inaction; in this way it has become transformed into psychic enfeeblement. Inaction is most corruptive for psychic energy. Each spiritual immobility will fatigue, not regenerate.
“Physicians prescribe rest, quiet, all kinds of inaction, and assume that in a moribund state it is possible to restore strength. But these same physicians understand that weakness and collapse result from violation of equilibrium. Thus, rest is nothing but equilibrium. But equilibrium is a proportionate tension of energy. Only thus is it possible to restore arid strengthen one's forces.
“It is of no consequence whether equilibrium be acquired in desert or city—the main requisite is constant tension. The path of tension is the path of striving, that is to say, the path of life....Let the concept of rest be rightly understood for the manifestation of Brotherhood. Unrest begets aimless bustle.”
We must look, therefore, for a deeper meaning behind the rhythm of rest. The need we feel for rest, for leisure time, may be the urge to change labor, the urge for increasing striving as the resource to start a renewed lift in the spiral of living.
“There is no endless rest. Therefore, do not tarry on one spot; either the shifting will swallow you or you will help the cosmic revolution. The basis of everything is the spiral, and you must understand the essence of the eternal Spatial Fire.”
Infinity I, 8
“The regeneration of the spirit is achieved through striving, not through the monotony in skills which becloud one's mind. Evenness is usualness; evenness is numbness, evenness is death of spirit. Only when the spirit understands its line of action can it set itself into the orbit of the cosmic course.
“Why, then, is the spirit tempered through various exertions? The beauty of the tempering of spirit is contained in the potential of striving. Therefore, when the spirit strives in quest of the Source the evenness of life is interrupted. In eliminating evenness one can attain the unusual. In this, humanity must affirm itself. The entire beauty and creativity of the Lords is built upon the unusual. The aspiration of humanity toward the unusual will give it the understanding of the New, and will advance it toward Infinity.”
Infinity II, 491
“I affirm that a wise change of occupation will heighten the quality of labor.” Brotherhood, 591
These directives in no way negate the need, for rest. In fact we must learn to use the ebb and flow of the tide of energy. The goal is continuity of consciousness, and above all a rhythm in thought control which never loses the spiritual base of operation.
“Read, and consider how many times even Christ withdrew into solitude. Even His Spirit had need of prana. Observe -- the manifestations of each day are full of deep meaning.”
The Call, 370
“By example, you can instruct others in resourcefulness. In every circumstance are contained different possibilities, but the mind must be directed toward the light.” The Call, 264
“While resting it is good to laugh, for the thyroid gland is purified by laughter.”
Illumination, II: I: 4
“As I send you each shield, so you must make use of each moment. Not for a reward and not because of fear do you go forward, but because of a realization of the Cosmic Beauty.”
Illumination, III: II: 4
Our control and use of the resources and rhythm of rest includes sleep.
“Sleep is not understood by science. The idea of rest is primitive. If each action is preceded by a spiritual act, then such an extraordinary state as that of sleep must be especially noted. For almost half their lives people entrust themselves to an invisible world. It is necessary to purify one’s consciousness before entrance into the Sacred Gates.”
“A certain tranquility is required for sleep. The necessity for this transitory state proves to what an extent our organism needs a special striving to effect a change of conditions.”
Infinity II, 401
We must therefore proceed with the science of rest until it becomes a movement in striving.
“Not the prayer ‘rest in peace’ but ‘learn in the space of the Light.’ With all your consciousness remember the problems of evolution. When the striving for repose disappears, then are the Gates drawing near.”
The goal of rest becomes clearer in this statement from the Teaching: “Life rushes by like a waterfall, but not many perceive its motion. Those who yearn for rest regard life as if it were a tomb. What is rest? This concept is an invention of the dark ones. What manifest timidity people reveal when they speak of rest! For them, rest is idleness. This kind of rest is always an earth-bound joy, a joy of doing nothing that is not Ours. Is nature ever idle? We, as parts of nature, are subject to its laws.
“One does not always have to be running. Nor need one choose for oneself a life of seclusion. Even a plant, for example, though rooted, exists in a state of constant activity.”
Agni Yoga, 268
“The Teaching of Agni Yoga demands continuous ardor. Sometimes respite from outer fiery manifestations is needed, but the inner flame is never extinguished.”
Agni Yoga, 414
“Let us end the holiday and begin labor. Let us determine what to do. To act. In this eternal action is Our holiday. But you, following Our example, should act without distress. Resolve to act in calmness, bearing in mind that Our spring flows through you incessantly.” Illumination, II: III: 17
Change of pace, change of labor, change of place, all are advised as a part of the resource and rhythm of replenishment or so-called rest.
“I speak about the quality of travels. It is necessary to assimilate the knowledge of how to travel! It is necessary not only to break away from home but also to conquer the very concept of home. It would be more precise to say that one should broaden the concept of home. Where we are—there is home. Evolution casts off the meaning of home as a prison....
“I wish to see you moving over the face of the world when all natural boundaries, because of their multitude, are erased. How can we fly when pinned by a small nail! Reflect upon the need of travel for humanity.”
New Era Community, 93
Does this not suggest a change of concept and practice of rhythm in order that the resource of time be utilized to the fullest in the spiral of perfectment?
“Let us begin a new period. It may be called 'earthly homelessness.’ One must cast aside all past considerations and rush into a desert of boundless stillness, where thunderstorms and whirlwinds entwine one under a radiant dome. Amidst the storms a new raiment will be woven.”
Ilumination, III: IV: 12
“He who understands the significance of unceasing labor, he who strengthens himself by concentration on Hierarchy, he who discards complicated formulas in order to transfer concentration to the heart, shall understand the essence of the future.”
Every moment, whether we labor or rest we carry the essence of the future.
“Whether I am hurrying on or motionless, still I am striving. Whether I am learning or giving out knowledge, still I am striving. Whether alone or in a crowd, still I am striving.”
New Era Community, 180