In fact, during sleep the body is flooded with hormones that promote relaxation and slows down all the organ systems. Sleep time is when our immune system has a chance to fortify us and when children grow. Normal sleep cycles also provide the brain an opportunity to process information at different vibratory levels. Dreaming is the inborn and most primary mechanism for dealing with daily stress. Many studies demonstrate that a significant proportion of our physical and mental ills start with our unhealthy relationship to sleep and rest.
I have long been guilty of thinking about who I am in terms of what I accomplish in my days. Resting and being still is not a place that calls to me because I am always so caught up in all that I have to do. And yet it is often this hyperdrive to accomplish that can often mislead me. Time after time, I find after the fact that the things I am compelled to complete would have better left. Leonardo Da Vinci remarked about the need for rest when he said, “Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen.”
Make this one new year’s resolution and give yourself the bold gift of rest. See how long you could sleep and feel what it feels like to wake up rested. Get some distance from the day to day and then, looking back over your shoulder, see if the weight of your responsibilities appear different. Learning how to rest is the source of true mastery and the foundation of everything that is sustainable. Learning to savor stillness and witness ourselves independently from our endless activity will not only feed and nourish our ability to move forward but will likely open us to the joy and satisfaction that is the point of all the doing to begin with.