as reading the way of rest by jeff foster is the closest i ever felt to being in a meditative state outside of meditation, this book might be for you if you’re interested to see whether mindfulness could be something for you or if you just want to broaden your practice.
rest and recharge
how to stay calm and centred when you have big goals, big dreams and an ever growing to do list? when you want to be a part of change and yet – day in, day out – you see how much there still needs to done?
sometimes, all of it just feels exhausting.
well at those times, i might help to take a deep breath and pause.
after all, you can only give to yourself and others what there is to give in the first place.
lately (and by lately i mean the last 50 years or so) it seems that the western world has discovered and promptly adopted the ancient teachings of buddhism to this end to the point of them trending as some sort of cure-all.
which, despite its many scientifically proven benefits (self-care included), it of course is not.
the misconceptions continue : ‘i can’t meditate, because i just can’t stop thinking’.
to which i like to reply with the words of my beloved teacher pamela strasser from how to make life gr8 : ‘the only way for you to stop having thoughts is for you to be dead’.
but as a beginner, your most pressing question (before even the question of what mindfulness actually really is, before booking a course and definitely before starting your own practice) might just be
what could this feel like for me? is getting into this going to be worth it? for me?
long story short, this book may provide answers to these questions.
what the way of rest is about
this book is a collection of 177 vignettes, this is to say
- small texts : ranging from half a page to maybe 6
- in different formats : essays, prose, poems and anything in between
- on different emotions and experiences of life : perfectionism, uncertainty, love, loneliness, sadness, changes and many more.
learning by experience
what makes the way of rest such a perfect book for beginners, in my opinion, is the fact that jeff foster doesn’t tell you all what mindfulness is or isn’t.
his words take you on a journey where he applies theoretical concepts without naming them.
not even once.
and slowly all these concepts that sounded so abstract to me in the beginning started to become something more tangible, more real.
for instance, non-judgement. that was a tricky one for me at first. i have a mind, so i have an opinion. right?
or ‘watch your thoughts, don’t react to them!‘. one thought automatically leads to the next. how can i have one but not respond to it with another?
but by allowing me to read his words, foster allowed me into his mind.
a mind that works so differently from my own. a mind that knows mindfulness well and somehow this allowed me to experience mindfulness in action as practised by someone else. someone with a deep experience of it.
which i found very helpful because it helped shape my understanding of it.
a slow book…
but kid you not! the way of rest is not a book you read in one sitting from the first page to last.
it’s probably not even a book you read in several consecutive sittings.
as such, it sat on my nightstand for the better part of three years. yes, three!
now, a lot of this, i guess, was my overachieving, perfectionist, very literal brain, that needed to understand every single word and sentence. however, some of it was so… abstract.
so i re-read it.
and re-re-read it. so many times.
until it hit me.
maybe these words weren’t written to be understood. or even to make sense. maybe they were written to be felt.
and the feeling shouldn’t be rushed.
so why rush the reading?
… with beautiful words
most of all however, the way of rest is a book with beautiful words and even more beautiful messages.
it reads like poetry that was written with the sole intent to tell you that you are ok.
you are enough.
wherever you are.
whatever you feel.
no matter what happened or didn’t happen.
it’s a book of acceptance, of presence, of escaping the pressures and hassles of daily life.
a respite of beauty and inner peace.
all to remind you of the most important thing of all : that what you need, is already in you. and always has been.
who the way of rest is for
this book is for all those who
- are interested in feeling what mindfulness is like and see whether it could be a good fit for them
- want to deepen their practice and add one more way to learn and feel to their repertoire.
buy the book!
now, it’s up to you.
have you read the way of rest?
if yes, do you agree with my sentiment?
if not, did this review help you to make a choice whether you should read it or not?
please let me know in the comments.