Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time. ~Sir J Lubbock
I love the above quote about rest as it resounds in me. In a world where busyness and industry is considered a norm in modern society and upheld as a virtue in the corporate and political world (especially with their propaganda about a “vibrant city”), rest and being still and reconnecting with Nature and oneself is often underrated, yet rest is essential for a person’s soul. We feel connected to the Earth when we are close to Nature, when we can look at the clouds passing in the sky and the greenery of the woods and listen to birds calling and singing in the background. As the verse from Matthew 11:28 goes,”Come to Me (our true self), all you who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Yes, rest is not idleness, because when we rest from our labour and heavy burdens, we reconnect with our true self and find refreshment. Our strength will be renewed and our vision will be sharpened. In the stillness of our heart, we will be able to see better how to prioritise or re-prioritise our “to do” list. When we return to our tasks after resting, we will usually be able to accomplish our goals much easier and faster than if we were to continue working and being lost in a flurry of activities without taking time to rest in the first place.
I usually experience this epiphany when I take about 15 minutes or so to rest from my work in the afternoon and climb the stairs to the office building rooftop. I would then walk around and sit down for a while under the shelter near the ledge and I would gaze at the horizon and watch the clouds in the sky. In that stillness, i would find myself reflecting on what has been done so far, and then sometimes I would recall some important task that I have overlooked earlier as I had been caught up with doing other tasks. By the time I return to my desk, I would find myself completing the necessary tasks, such as replying an email from a colleague or author, or scanning artworks, etc and continue proof reading or photo sourcing in a shorter time. Indeed, we who wait upon the Lord (our highest self) shall mount up with wings like eagles, we shall run and not be weary, we shall walk and not faint. Instead, we shall be unceasingly fruitful, for we are like a tree planted by the rivers and our leaves shall be evergreen and we shall bear fruit in its season.
Oftentimes, resting helps us to be free from worries too because we tend to be detail-oriented and want everything to go as planned and go well with everyone. Yet in our busyness we tend to get caught up with details and before long, we feel stressed out. I experience that from time to time at my workplace, such as when I was not able to find suitable photos or maps online for the textbook for a particular topic, and an hour may pass by with me just sourcing for one photo or map. I wasn’t able to move on with editing the rest of the chapter because I had been stuck trying to solve that problem first. Later when I finally took time to rest, I reflected that I could move on to editing the rest of the chapter first before returning my attention to source for the photo. This will help me stay on track with the schedule, and not allow that one task to delay the project. And sometimes when I focus on editing, and sourcing for other photos, I would chance upon that kind of photo I had been trying to look for. I believe you can relate to this serendipity too – when we look for something, we can’t find it. Yet when we are not actively looking for it, we miraculously find it without trying to look for it.