'Relaxation is the crying need of our age, but what it is and how to attain it are still unanswered questions" Mabel Elsworth Todd 1937
Has much changed since Mabel uttered these words?
What does relaxation really mean and is such a state meaningful or even achievable?. I think that the collective ego of our Corporate Gods wants the little ego of individuals to be so involved in distraction that we choose more distraction as a substitute for real relaxation. If you want to see the collective face of misery then ride the London tube, a seething mass of mental health problems masquerading as life.
Relaxation is a lack of unneccssary tension in repose and in effort. An instant and complete felt sense of ease. It is expedient effort, pure balance, a state that is experienced without having to create it, it arises out of aware activity. When we cease our activity we can be genuinely at rest and ready again for movement. When we are addicted to our life story and are not being aware in the moment it is easy to miss the perpetual opportunity to relax. What comes first letting go or relaxation? or do you have to first relax to get space or do you let go and then experience relaxation?
What is clear to me is that we must to want to relax. We have to be prepared to lose our attachment to tension, our addiction for seeking out trouble. Tension will always attract more tension !
Do we approach our day in a relaxed way, or we are agitated, frustrated and charged up, endlessly looking for the next sugar fix. Food is saturated with so much sugar, preservative, additives thatany normal level of anxiety we have goes off the scale once we consume everyday processed food..
The action to relax is a felt sense experience. To relax is a sensation and a feeling, in essence it is an experience. Move through life at the speed necessary to get things done and leaving room inside for repose. If you are stressed out and brushing shoulders with your breaking point, the last thing you want to do is hit the gym, run home from work or plan a jaunt up Kilimanjaro in some vain effort to create pseudo relaxation or even to placate your own egotistical ideals ( or the ideals of others ) when really it would be wise to discover whether you are relaxed enough to engage in strenuous physical activity at all.
We were not born tense, we certainly experience tension but we do not have to own it or become it because one day it will make no sense at all to hold on. If we can encourage the feeling of relaxation at every turn of events then whatever we attempt to do, we can do in a relaxed way. If we keep some awareness of our energy levels then we will have a better chance to actively relax. Aspire to be relaxed and get used to the experience.
There seems to be a lot of false ideas about how to relax. A relaxing break away. So we jump in our car and we book a B&B in the country only to discover that the roads are so busy and the weather so incumbent that by the time we get through with the relaxing break we need a holiday to get over the stress. This is a false idea that we have to do something else to create the state of relaxation, when what we can do is try to breathe a bit deeper and let our body relax and if the weather is incumbent we relax a bit more. Take a holiday inside yourself, so that you can relax at will.
We can exercise our mind whilst focusing on good posture, gentle observation of breath and a healthy dose of intelligent movement that balances our vital energy/ the life force. We can develop relaxation simply by keeping a natural posture. Yeah, the one we all forget about..
stage one practice : when alone ( in any position, lying down, sitting or even when standing, let your whole skull and face go limp, ( I am doing this as I write, it is out there for the experiencing ) utterly let your face, eyes , ears , nose, lips, jaw and throat relax and notice what happens to the sensation of your whole body, do this for 60 seconds with complete conviction! let the feeling course through every nerve and tissue of your body, this may cause you to spontaneously breathe deeply. Now remember this feeling and recreate this attitude and feeling when you next feel stressed. Catch the moment and imprint the feeling .You do not need to dissolve your face in public, but in private reinforce the feeling frequently.
go well CRC