We all know what it is like when life leaves us exhausted. The ache in our very bones lets us know we might have overdone it. And there is a weariness of the heart which comes when things are too much. This is harder to soothe, for the mind had a mind of its own and can forbid entry to the spiritual wellspring.
Two examples. She came to see me - a shadow of her former lively self. Sleep evaded her and she worried about everything. His situation was no better. His days a nightmare, his nights of broken rest. The situation was obvious. When I studied theology I learned that God never sleeps! I thought, 'Poor God.' Jan gave me a bookmark on Wednesday which invited praying through the night. It concluded, ' God is up all night anyway!
When we feel we have to control everything, we can't trust enough to rest or sleep. If we do, the world might fall apart. The exhausted body. The vigilante mind!
The Divine Teacher offers a way out. Abandon our wise and learned status and gently embrace our inner child. And he humbly invites all who feel overburdened by the need to save themselves, or what is worse, everyone else, to come to his ineffable gentleness and pick up a lighter burden.
The Poet Rainer Maria Rilke reflects on the labouring steps of a swan on dry land. Then,
..... As he lets himself down
Into the water which receives him gaily
And which flows joyfully under
And after him, wave after wave,
While the swan, unmoving and marvellously calm
Is pleased to be carried, each moment more fully grown.
Or for cat lovers, D H Lawrence has this image,
...... a cat asleep on a chair, at peace, at peace.
Sleeping on the heart of the living world
Yawning at home before the fire of life
Feeling the presence of the living God
Like a great reassurance
A deep calm in the heart.