We all need to rest.

It is a fundamental need of the human body.

Some of you have probably heard this phrase:

“I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”

To which, I’ll reply: “Then you’re going to be dead a lot sooner!”

Sleep and rest have been denigrated in a culture of hyper-productivity.

What’s the point of all that productivity?

The many responses people give eventually boil down to a vague sense of okay-ness in the future.

Of course, the future is never here. So the average Western person is exhausting him/herself to get to something that they never can get to.

And that means a whole lot of people badly need to rest.

Overloaded, Stressed, and Burned Out

A lot of people are chronically burned out and stressed?


They aren’t resting.

It is important to appreciate that rest is a broader term than sleep. Rest includes parts of your waking day where you are literally

doing nothing.

You are simply being where you are without trying to get to the future or avoid the past.

Simply staring off into space is actually a very necessary part of letting our bodies and brains unwind, process emotions and ideas, and otherwise take things down a few notches.

Part of rest often includes meditation.

How to Meditate

A lot of people find themselves challenged by meditation.


Their bodies are stuck in “doing-mode.” They’re so over-active that they’re struggling to sit still and rest. This really should be easy. Since it is not, we know there is a problem.

And let’s be clear:

Constant doing is destructive to mind, heart, and body.

The lack of rest is undoubtedly a player in many Western ailments, and the need for continual stimulation shows how much a person is addicted to movement.

Why do we have to keep moving?

We’re really unhappy.

Stimulation Addiction Culture

Adrenaline junkies, news junkies, and so many other forms of addiction have become common. It’s so common that it seems normal.

The term “junkie” is a term used for drug addicts, but it is fitting here. We’re not being subtle when we call someone an adrenaline junkie.

That’s not a good thing!

But as usual, many people are afraid to go within to see what they are running from.

Many people are afraid of stopping.

Why? Because they’re going start

to feel


It’s a sad truth that people are in such physical and psychological disrepair that they don’t want to know how they truly feel. Instead, our society has gone out of its way to create a vast number of stimulating experiences to help people distract themselves.

As such, people stimulate/distract with:

  • Movies
  • Music
  • Television
  • Social media
  • News
  • Endless texting
  • Work
  • Endless projects
  • Sex
  • Relationships
  • Children’s outings (parents can and do get lost in their children’s lives)
  • Vacations
  • Spiritual highs
  • Outdoor expeditions and adventure sports
  • Drugs, and so much more.

Stimulation does a great job to mask what is going on inside, but that just makes people ignorant to the damage that they’re doing to themselves and others. Usually, a lot of people know they’re doing damage when they’re honest with themselves.

The Stimulation Detox

I often have people come to me after a vipassana or other long vacation or retreat event where a person detoxed from stimulation only to be thrust back into the loudness of every day life.

They’re shocked.


Then they go back to their old behaviors.


For one thing, it’s what is readily accessible. For another, their deeper attachments and issues did not get resolved by the vacation/spiritual retreat. They just went through phase 1: the stimulation detox.

For some people, that’s uncomfortable, but doable.

For others, it’s Hell on Earth.

Which is why, we only want to do it ONCE.

The stimulation detox isn’t hard, but since most people are so over-wrought, we have to take you down gradually.

Here’s how stimulation detox can work:

  1. Notice all the ways you stimulate and keep busy. You can use the list I put up above, but you need to be honest and write your own list. Figure out what is ACTUALLY NECESSARY.
  2. Remove one of those forms of stimulation for a week.
  3. Remove the second form of stimulation for week two.
  4. Remove a third form of stimulation for all of week three while not adding in the previous ones.

You get the drift.

Continue on until there is no unnecessary form of stimulation. Then find a way to take a break from the more necessary kinds (like driving–driving is VERY stimulating).

See what you actually feel like.

Try this New Spiritual Tool: A Regular Media Free Day

Facing the Boredom Block

One of the big objections to rest is that the person


Don’t be dissuaded here. This is the start of detox. Irritation and impatience are likely to come next.

As always, the spiritual path is here to help.

What Is the Spiritual Path?

Breathe and come back to awareness. Watch the increasingly irritated and upset ego. Watch what it says in your head. Write it down.


Ego nonsense struggles to justify itself when written down.

Working through the boredom block and then the irritation and impatience objections often lead to realizations and breakthroughs.

If not, it just leads to rest and the natural rejuvenation of being stimulated less, but probably not totally at rest.

High Baselines of Agitation

Some time ago, I wrote a post about emotional baselines. These are ways that we get used to experiencing ourselves. They feel normal to us.

Engaging Your Baseline Emotional State

If we drop a stimulation and agitation baseline below our normal (let’s say it is a 5 out of 10 going to a 4), we tend to feel suuuuuupppper relaxed. You can feel dreamy and unfocused, but really, you’re at a lower level of relaxation than you habitually live at.

Sometimes a person’s spiritual awakening is like this–they dropped out of a chronically high baseline state of fear. Now they are experiencing a slightly more natural way of being. Their brain is no longer so stuck in fight-or-flight, so it has more blood and oxygen freed up for the thinking part of the brain.

Realizations start to seem like they’re everywhere!

Spiritual Revelations and Realizations Roll Through You

What happened?

You calmed down.

But this experience is invisible until we slow down long enough for the body to notice things have changed.

Furthermore, we want to stabilize our emotional baselines at their natural state. When we normalize, we don’t feel dreamy or unfocused or other experiences when we first break through.

We just feel like us.

And that process of detoxing from stimulation and stabilizing at a more natural baseline state



Make Time to Rest

The point of this post is simple, but profound.

It’s important to make time to rest.

This includes your general life and your spiritual work.

Every now and then, I run into a spiritual work-a-holic who thinks they’re going to work out every ego attachment today. They’re exhausting themselves, and they can’t integrate what they have resolved.

Integration requires rest. Grounding requires rest.

Getting Stuck and Incomplete Spiritual Awakening Integrations

And only you can make that time.

If you make the time to rest, a whole new world and a whole new side of yourself can now open up.

Spiritual Self-care and Rest After Processing

Understanding What Happens When You Sleep (John Hopkins University)


I'm a spiritual teacher who helps people find freedom from suffering.

1 Comment

  1. Brilliant post, Jim, and so pertinent in the crazy pace of modern life. Time literally feels like it is speeding up. It is surely unsustainable.
    Your words remind me that, as a professional, I need to heed the advice I give to my clients and take time out for myself. And do it more often!
    Being ill with Covid this week has been a blessing! I’ve had time to sit back and simply BE (and enjoy reading great articles like this one).
    So thank you!

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