Your Brain Needs to Rest Beside Still Waters

Our brains can be so busy that it can feel like a concussion, but we can help the brain recover by finding some still waters to rest next by.

When I wrote the first draft of this post, I was sitting next to a small stream. There wasn’t much water flowing through it because it is summer and we haven’t had a good rainfall for over 60 days.

But still, the trickle provided life to many. There were some Kokopu (a native New Zealand fish), some birds that would refresh and wash, insects sipping, and tree roots merging with the waters. The water was also being pumped out to beautiful gardens and orchards. Water troughs were being kept full for thirsty horses.

Now I was being replenished. I invited my self to be still and listen for the stillness of the flowing waters. Something outside of my control.

However, just 20 meters away from this little stream was a busy road. There were moments that all I could hear were cars and trucks carrying people to their day’s work, school, and busyness. Then quiet would return, and the sound of still waters would flow to my ears.

We need still waters

Do you have a place where you can listen to water?

Perhaps its a stream, or the lapping of waves on a beach. It could be a water fountain in a garden. I have seen a small water fountain in a waiting room and thought how relaxing it was to watch the movement and listen to the flow.

In Psalm 23 David the shepherd writes

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
    he restores my soul. Psalm 23: 1-3

David didn’t write ‘still water.’ ‘Still water’ can be dangerous water. A place where weed, algae, and all sorts of nasties can grow. A good shepherd would not allow his flock to drink from stagnant water.

David uses the word ‘waters’ implying a movement of molecules of water. There is a flow, even if it is unseen. Under the surface, there is a current. When it comes to an obstacle, it moves around and over.

The water flows over little rocks and pebbles and creates sound waves that reach out for ears to hear. There is a rhythm, a wave vibration, an unpredictability to the music.

Concussion recovery

Our brain is both strong and fragile. In sports such as Soccer/ Football, Grid Iron, Rugby, even my beloved Cricket, blows to the head can cause long term damage to the brain.

Then some suffer concussion through knocks and bumps. A fall, a car crash, a walking into a piece of timber on the back of a truck, which is what I did yesterday. Ouch and bruise and pain.

What about the concussion injuries on your soul and heart that you have experienced throughout your life?

I was reading an article the other day about concussion recovery. It gave five pieces of advice on how to rest your brain

1. Take time off work and/or school.
2. Focus on one task at a time.
3. Limit yourself to easy chores.
4. Get in the passenger’s seat.
(No driving)
5. Relax with comfortable, simple hobbies.

They were encouraging the reader to avoid activities that required demanding mental processes, such as reaction time, memory, or multitasking. It was an invitation to sit by still waters.

Accessing the waters

I want to have more refreshing moments in my life where I can recover from the concussing effects of cell phone notifications, political debates, and being on the road above the stream.

I want to sit with the water of life.

Anyone who is thirsty may come to me!
Anyone who believes in me may come and drink!
Jesus John 7:37-39

Anyone who drinks the water I give will never thirst—not ever.
The water I give will be an artesian spring within,
gushing fountains of endless life. John 4:14

To get to that stream, I had to climb a fence, push through some trees, and find a patch in time to sit. There was intentionality in seeking the water.

What can you do?

I don’t know where you live. You might live in a place where accessing free-flowing water is quite easily achievable.

Perhaps you live in a place where it is dry and arid and flowing water is challenging to find. You might like to listen to stream from an App on your phone or get a small water fountain for your home.

I would encourage you to pursue listening to the still waters and allow them to flow around the circuity of your brain. You won’t be short-circuited.

Mental health is ... finding time to sit and rest by the still watersClick To Tweet

Quotes to consider

  • Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee. Confessions by Augustine of Hippo
  • In the inner stillness where meditation leads, the Spirit secretly anoints the soul and heals our deepest wounds. John of the Cross
  • The brain takes its shape from what the mind rests upon. Rick Hanson

Questions to consider

  1. Where are some ‘still waters’ nearby that you could go and be still?
  2. What is the resistance you are facing when you think about the idea of being quiet and listening to the trickle of water?
  3. What is the noisy traffic in your life that maybe concussing you?

Further reading

Do you Have People who Invite you to Rest?

It’s Time For You to ‘Give it a Rest’

How to Grow the Practice of Stillness for your Mental Health

Your Mental Health needs an Oasis Rest Routine

 

Barry Pearman

Image cc: Oscar Nilsson