knowing, growing, becoming
Let's say you have followed the last few blog entries and you have explored your unique path to relaxation and feeling within deeper than ever before. Is that it? Going inward has its rewards but I believe what I wrote in the blog entry, "Rainbow Thunderbolt". That was about the opportunity we have to participate, interact, explore, create and co-create.
Paradoxically, stress can make us more resilient and limitation can give rise to creative innovation. Freedom of expression is a primal urge in the human spirit and now we have had time to focus and perhaps re-prioritize. What kind of impact do we want to have when all this is over? We will have more problems to solve than ever. Let us practice creativity right now and have a little fun with it.
Now that many of us have been urged to stay inside, boredom may arise. It's kind of interesting that we are in a situation many adepts go through great lengths to ensure: isolation. There is a time honored tradition of using this circumstance to explore the inner universe. Deep attunement to your body and mind may not be your natural habit. However, once you begin to turn your attention to nuances of breath, motion, thought, sensation and emotions with an interested observer mindset, you may be surprised to find the constant flow and change within relative exterior stillness. A key is to study yourself with appreciation and gratitude for your precious existence. Another is to understand how much we effect others and others effect us during this time.
Next, we might begin to understand that our inner flow is very much like the outer flow of nature....constant change. There is one big difference though, that is so unique and primal that it may go entirely unnoticed and remain in the background. The you that has been You your entire life is always there experiencing. That simple Awareness we take for granted is touched yet in some way also untainted by life, it just IS. It has been described to be like the empty sky that is unaltered. Emotions, thoughts, sensations and perceptions are like the clouds that come and go.
As you observe your current body mind experience, allow yourself to sink into deep appreciation, give yourself permission to celebrate your unique existence, allow your flow to shimmer, shift and dance within. Feel the mystery of life without labeling anything. A great Zen Master I met called this "Don't know" Mind.
Sometimes we try too hard and obscure the thing we want to achieve, especially when it comes to relaxation. There is a maxim in Qigong which says, "energy flows where attention goes". So you can direct your mind to any part of your body and you can feel more aliveness there if you focus properly.
You want to learn a "relaxed focus" not a "tense focus". We tend to associate concentration with tension but one of the biggest keys in Qigong, Taijiquan,
Internal Martial arts and meditation is to learn this tuning of your instrument, "not too tight, not too loose".
Another useful tool is to focus on something else and allow relaxation to be the by-product. For example, if you try to relax, you may mentally tense more by being too vigilant with your level of tension but if you watch the rising and falling of your belly or your breath or your thoughts, you may notice more relaxation at the end of your session.
How do you create the experience of relaxed expansion in your body? You get to discover your own unique methods. Does imagery work best? A bubble or balloon expanding, a flower opening over time, dough rising in the oven? What works for you?
Maybe a visceral sense is your key. Is it the sensation of ease and comfort from soaking in a hot tub or the sensory feast of landing in your favorite paradise vacation, walking carefree on smooth sandy beaches as pristine, azure waters beckon? Remember the feeling of looking forward to a week of frolicking, rest and adventure as your whole body is flooded with that.....AHHHH!
Perhaps you are more auditory and a big fan of ASMR videos. It could be that nothing soothes you like the rhythmic flow of water or waves, the sound of a rainstorm, wind or a crackling fire with crickets in the background. What is your niche?
Memory can be accessed for all visual, visceral and auditory cues. NLP teaches that you can creatively mix and match anything you've experienced or can imagine, to create a strong imprint on your consciousness.
The more you can relinquish the need for self-defensiveness, the easier it becomes. You want the "rest and digest" cascade of healing hormones and not the "fight, flight or freeze" physiology. Fear activates the latter.
The less serious or rigid and the more playful or experimental you are in your approach, the more success becomes a by product of not being afraid to make "mistakes".
Try this one: You are soaking in a hot mineral spring with the sound of a tropical waterfall in the background. In a magical moment, you catch a glimpse of a rainbow shimmering through its spray. Exotic birds are chirping sonorously. Flowers are in full bloom. You marvel at their texture and vivid colors as you deeply inhale their intoxicating aroma. You body melts into a deep feeling of release. A long awaited moment of perfection! You allow yourself to sink deeper and deeper into bliss. Spontaneously, profound gratitude fills your heart.