The Riddle of Rest - More To That



Jul 25, 2023 • 3 min read


The Riddle of Rest - More To That

Rest is a concept that has been contemplated and explored throughout history. From ancient Daoist philosophy to modern neuroscience, rest has been a subject of curiosity and study. And what these diverse sources reveal is that rest is not simply the absence of activity, but a state of mind that transcends the daily hustle and bustle of life.

Neuroscientists are now finding evidence for what the Daoists have known for millennia: that in any given moment, the mind is engaged in a tug-of-war along two fronts. The first front is the mind's tendency to aimlessly wander, allowing thoughts to bounce around from one point to the next. This uninhibited manner of thinking is a natural state of the mind, and it is through this wandering that creativity and new ideas can emerge.

On the other hand, the mind also has the ability to fixate on one specific thing, ignoring other sensory inputs and directing all attention towards an identifiable object of focus. This focused state of mind is crucial for accomplishing tasks and achieving goals. It allows us to block out distractions and concentrate on what needs to be done.

Interestingly, these two seemingly opposing states of mind are both essential for rest. Rest is not just about relaxation or taking a break from work. It is about finding a balance between the wandering and the focus. It is about allowing the mind to flow freely without the pressure of self-worth tied to productivity. Rest is when you can let go of the thoughts about what needs to be done next and simply be present in the moment.

In our fast-paced and achievement-oriented society, it can be challenging to truly rest. We are constantly bombarded with responsibilities and expectations, both from others and from ourselves. The pressure to prove our competence and worth often overrides the need for rest. We feel guilty for taking time off or not being productive.

But true rest is about doing things that have nothing to do with furthering our place in society. It is about finding activities that bring us joy and fulfillment, regardless of their practical value. It is about embracing the emptiness of mind and allowing it to prolong whenever we encounter something beautiful.

A still lake is often used as a metaphor for a still mind because it flows without intention. The currents softly rise and fall, without aggression or resistance. Rest is about embodying this stillness and understanding that our self-worth is not defined by what we produce. It is about accepting ourselves as we are, without the need for external validation.

So how can we incorporate more rest into our lives? Here are three actionable pieces of advice:

  • 1. Prioritize rest: Make rest a priority in your daily life. Set aside dedicated time for activities that bring you joy and allow your mind to wander. Whether it's taking a walk in nature, practicing mindfulness, or engaging in a hobby, make sure to carve out time for rest.
  • 2. Let go of self-worth tied to productivity: Challenge the notion that your worth is determined by what you accomplish. Remind yourself that rest is essential for your well-being and creativity. Embrace the idea that you are enough, regardless of how much you achieve.
  • 3. Create a restful environment: Design your physical and mental spaces to support rest. Create a calming and clutter-free environment in your home and workspace. Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and meditation to cultivate a restful state of mind.

In conclusion, rest is not a luxury or a sign of laziness. It is a fundamental need for our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. By embracing rest and incorporating it into our lives, we can cultivate a state of mind that allows us to truly thrive and find fulfillment. So take a moment to pause, let go of the need to prove yourself, and embrace the beauty of rest.


  1. "The Riddle of Rest - More To That", (Glasp)
  2. "【優れた経営者の条件】(2/3)ほんの一部の経営者だけが備える「5つの力」 楠木 建 氏|Rakuten BUSINESS INSIGHT", (Glasp)

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