Saturday, March 17, 2012

Guest Post - Andrew Cook (Rest 5)

The following guest post comes from my good friend, Andrew.  I first met him when we were both gangly 12 year olds beginning at the same high school, and reconnected with him late last year.  We've both had 'interesting' journeys over the intervening years, so there was lots to talk about!  I asked him to contribute to this series, because he has quite a philosophical bent, and as a practicing Buddhist, is able to bring a different perspective.  Besides that, he's just good value!  Enjoy!!

                 Rest in All Things               
                           - Andrew Cook -                          

It’s been a little while now since Kerry asked me to contribute my perspective on rest and amongst the hectic maelstrom of chaos that is my life, sometimes, it seems as if rest is a far-flung luxury for the rich or lazy…

Having being diagnosed with Bipolar disorder some ten…no twelve years ago now, did provide me with a degree of insight into self and also a key to managing this hectic dance that is my life. Another integral component to this self-management, which came about around the time of my diagnosis, was an introduction to Buddhism and its practice in mindfulness and meditation.
These two revelations came at a time when life had become messy and unmanageable, working shift work, raising children in a blended family, trying to run a business and to manage my own fluctuations in mood and energy levels, along with substance abuse, wasn’t working nor was it restful. It did, however, bring other windows of insight into how I interacted with my world.

Having always been a peaceful, albeit reckless person, with a deep appreciation and love of nature, I moved gently and somewhat mindfully through existence advocating peace, understanding and a good time for all. Yo-yoing through periods of boundless energy to times of lacking the will to live, brought about profound questioning of self and what it was all about. How did I fit into the universe? And why was I this way?

Psychiatrists gave me some insight into why I was the peculiar mix of conradictions that is me; and Buddhism helped me to understand how I fitted into the great scheme of things, and how to work best within the constraints of my own existence.

I found comfort in knowing why there were times when I had the answers to most of the problems of the world (and made efforts to implement them), but then, having cast those thoughts aside I would move to the next world changing activity. During these frenetic times rest was not even a vague consideration,although muscle atrophy seemed a real possibility during extended periods of relentless activity, with little or no food or sleep. This was an exhausting pace to maintain. The dark times brought an abundance of inactivity but none of it restful; just black and sticky, fraught with thoughts that justified the darkness I felt at the time.

Buddhism gave me some simple guidelines for living a connected and balanced life with an understanding of my place as part of all that. It made sense and sort of lined up with the way I’d always viewed things. It was a revelation to discover there were others who viewed and wished to interact with their world as I did.

So I began my practice of mindfulness and meditation.

I met my mind, a place I was often reluctant to be due to the chaotic activity that often abounded or the flailing I was giving myself over something. I met the thoughts that I had and decided to be their master instead of them being mine. They were mine, after all.

So an appreciation grew of self and functioning and through my practice of mindfulness and meditation I have developed a core of calm abiding in being part of all there is. This is my rest and I carry it with me wherever I go. I find it restful to notice a young magpie practicing his grub finding skills whilst waiting for the lights to change. I find it restful to notice the cold, moist ground beneath my feet. I find it restful to watch the Fairy Wrens move through my back yard. I find solace and comfort in my mere existence now and with my oneness with all of this. I find great restfulness in noticing and being part of all this.

This in no way means I don’t get tired or frazzled now. I drive many kilometres to jobs that are scattered about the countryside, and life remains hectic. It does mean I find peace of mind so much easier, which brings me a readily available, restful, state of contentment.

I find rest in all things.

About Me: Having attained 46 successful years so far (even the unsuccessful ones I consider successful, having survived them and believing I've leart or grown in some way) I persist on the South Coast of NSW. Horticultural pursuits and photography are my favoured pastimes/vocations. I will continue to work towards reducing the suffering of all sentient beings. A great lover of coffee and sunrises, I endeavour to notice and savour every moment.


  1. I very much like your use of the term 'mindful' and think it captures this directed intention to make rest in the maelstrom of life. It reminds me of how well it aligns with how I view spirituality generally: a thoughtful love of life.

  2. Hello Andrew.

    Honest, thoughtful and mindful. I too found meditation of benefit.

    Agreed Tildeb.

  3. Heyyy, Andrew!

    Yes, beautiful post - and thank you for being so honest and including so much of yourself in it.

    I believe, along with you, that rest should be found in all things... still working on finding it for myself, though. Sometimes I need to take a deliberate break in order to still myself and find it again, but I get the sense that it is something that need only take a moment. I think the christian view of rest is like this (though there are many who would disagree). Rest is found simply through being "in Him" - something you enter into, rather than a day you observe.


Feel free to leave comments - I love discussion, & diverse opinions! So comment, add your own thoughts, disagree - you are welcome.

Its okay to comment anonymously if you are shy, but I'd much rather know who you are, & always appreciate it when people "own" their own opinions. Look forward to chatting with you :)