Each 'Choose-day' we will investigate the process by which we can reassess our activity and interaction with the world of plurality and become more congruent within our personality.
We are reading "Tips for Happy Living - jIvnsUÇai[ /jiivanasuutraani", by Swami Tejomayananda (Guru-ji). Choose-days writings are here to prompt deeper thinking on the choices made on a daily basis and seek to provide prompts for raising the standard of one's thinking and living. This text composed in format of Sanskrit traditional teachings, speaks directly to this purpose. As ever, the full text may be obtained from CM Publications - or your local centre (see sidebar).
The text now moves into chapter 4; 'Workable Tips'. Having talked about the need for 'success' in a societal sense, as well as at the individual level, there are those who are going to cry, 'is not hard work the most important factor in gaining success?" The reply is;
Vishraamam vinaa parishramo na karaniiyas-tathaiva cha kaaryam vinaa vishraamaH ||1||
Do not work without taking rest, and do not rest without doing any work.
All living beings have an inbuilt 'programming' to balance work and rest. The most industrious insects such as bees and ants will still take time to recuperate energy; dogs and cats know how to rest alertly. In the human species, as with majority species, this exists too and like most, the activity tends to take place in the daylight hours and the rest in the dark hours. There are many studies which have proven that darkness offers the living beings the optimum respite.
However, the arrival of electricity and, therefore, the extension of 'light hours', has altered greatly the diurnal rhythm of nature. We indulge in all manner of activity after the sun has dropped below the horizon. The artificial lifestyle takes its toll on our body and our mental state. More and more individuals find that their coping mechanisms have been compromised, energy levels are less, moods are often less than bouyant and thus work efficiency is low… all due to lack of adequate and appropriate rest. Despite this, people push themselves, they use stimulants such as caffeine, alchohol, sugary foods - some will resort to drugs. Many end up with ulcers, various forms of '-aholism', stress and burnout. We hear of younger and younger people developing disorders of the body normally considered 'age disease'; diabetes, blood pressure, heart failure.
Yet how many will truly say they are happy on a daily basis? Proper happiness, not the temporary sort which is obtained from pursuits or behaviours which are disappointing or damaging in the long-term.
Some people just don't know how to rest or relax in a manner with true health and well-being benefit. They are by nature restless and agitated. They are not happy unless doing something. These are the people who are so tied in to the goings-on of the world that they sleep with the mobile phone by their bed and, even if they don't pick it up, will be disturbed by the arrival of messages or calls during the night - mostly of no importance at all. There are others who have some sense of guilt at being caught resting; still others are of the opinion that they can only be called 'productive' if they never rest.
Work never gets 'finished'. The very nature of work is to be always there to pick up. If we keep trudging on thinking we can only rest when the work is done, we will never recoup. We pay a physical, a mental, and ultimately a cost to our very 'beingness' for not taking adequate rest.
That said, there are those who are all 'rest, no work'. Inertia reigns. Pure laziness and lack of interest in being part of the general productiveness which provides for them as well as other members of society. Gurudev had a favourite saying; "if you rest, you rust!" He was not referring to appropriate recuperative rest, but to the sitting back and not taking action where action is needed. Not to use one's body, mind and intellect is likely to result in their deteriorating in ability and thus not being able to produce high levels of return when we do try to use them.
Therefore, work as you should and to the best of ability and expertise, but not at the cost of appropriate rest in order to maintain the machinery that is this amazing vehicle for our spirits.