Rest in Flow

My cliff notes from “Rest in Motion”:

People tend to assume the default state is one of rest, and this assumption brings them suffering when they are not at rest, because they wish to be, or think they should be at rest. With this view, rest is the reward for the achievement of finishing your tasks. Adding new tasks to the the todo list causes suffering and weariness by deferring the reward of rest.

In reality, tasks and work are never-ending.

The goal is not to finish all the work before you; for that is impossible. The goal is simply to move through the work. Instead of struggling to reach the end of the stream, simply focus on moving along it.

The way vacations are marketed reinforces the false idea of relaxation-as-reward, and ignores the fact that people find inaction boring.

The actual reward state is of interesting tasks that involve creativity and accomplishment, that make us feel put to good use, when we balance our workload successfully.

And yet, most people have this model of the world where whenever they’re not resting, *they’re taking damage*.

[emphasis mine; I love this phrasing.] We take damage by yearning for the false reward state of relaxation when it is out of our grasp. This is a big problem in a world of never ending tasks.

We’ve dispensed with obligations [see previous posts in the series] — and so it is nonsensical for rest to be for when we are done with obligations. Rest is important for health and appropriate to balance as we go. Rest is one of the “unending streams that you move through”.

Rather than rest, treat your ground state as being in motion. Accept that you’ll have streams of different kinds of time to manage — including chores, but also including restful activities — and balance how you move through those streams. Focus on a sustainable balance all of the time, instead of binary modes of drain/refill. You’ll know it is a sustainable balance because it feels effortless. This is possible by switching your attitude away from high productivity is hard; I wish I were resting. Switch your attitude to: I seek flow state, and “rest in motion”.

Make sure you’re not taking damage just for moving. If any state of being is going to wear you down, then I suggest that you feel pressure whenever you start to move too fast or too slow. Take damage when your life is too boring and nothing’s getting done, and take damage when your life is moving at an unsustainable pace: but don’t take damage when you’re moving through the streams at a steady clip.

This post is part of the thread: Replacing Guilt Cliffs Notes – an ongoing story on this site. View the thread timeline for more context on this post.