Many people come to me for ways to use meditation to help them with relaxation.
Stress and anxiety are huge realities for a number of them and seeking a way to relax is an understandable aim. Usually I give some starting techniques to introduce calm.
Soon after I will begin to develop these and suggest ways to deepen their meditation practice. There is an enormous power available through meditation and I have always believed that relaxation is only a single starting response. However, as I have deepened my reflection on this I think that relaxation can actually benefit us in ways that aren’t usually considered. The effect is actually similar to that of a meditation session.
This might seem obvious but it is possible to achieve some of the benefits of a structured meditation session by simply relaxing properly.
This doesn’t even have to be relaxing in the typical way although that is fine as well.
The key, in fact, the secret to this relaxation process is to allow the mind to quiet and for your thought processes to slow down.
Once you can get into a state where your inner dialogue doesn’t hold you in its grip, you will actually start to feel fairly content and upbeat. This is true relaxing. Not fighting, not struggling but developing an acceptance about the way things are.
You get into the place where you are allowing yourself to enjoy life as it occurs. In the moment, you are aware and not seeking something else. It sounds a lot like a meditative state but you can achieve it by just allowing yourself to really relax.
You might find that you can relax whilst working hard on something, or playing with your kids, or even watching a movie. The point is that you take an intentional break from worry and judgement.
Think about the things that you like to do that absorb you and that you find relaxing and find more ways to bring these into your weeks and into your days. It doesn’t matter how long you get to do this, any full relaxation is better than none and will benefit you as you build on it.
Keep choosing to do some relaxing things and don’t think about what others think or about what you should be doing. Pretty soon you notice that you are not so bothered by the need for approval and are more interested in enjoying what is going on for you now.
When we organise sounds with silence we have the beginnings of rhythm.
The nature of the spaces between the sounds will determine a regular rhythm or something we would describe as arrhythmic. Something that we describe as rhythmic would have a certain degree of predictability about it, it wouldn’t feel unexpected as it unfolded.
Sounds played with a recognisable periodicity create a cycle that feels balanced and a movement that engages us into a groove. Rhythm played in this way is infectious and satisfying.
Our connection to rhythm comes from our physiology. We move and function through a series of balanced actions that flow and cycle in regular rhythms. From our heartbeat and our breathing to the way we walk and move. Our arms and legs swing with balanced motion and we can create changes in pace through rhythmic shifts.
When we are healthy and well we are harmonically rhythmic beings.
Just imagine how unpredictable our existence would be if our organs and muscles worked in an uncoordinated almost random fashion as they functioned. Life would be a struggle to say the least.
The world around us is a rhythmic symphony. On a subatomic level everything vibrates at its own rate. This vibration is rhythm and the universe vibrates in rhythmic harmony.
On a wider level the tides, moons, seasons, and sunsets follows a balanced set of cycles. We may have labelled them with our own classes of measurement but by their nature they follow broad rhythmic patterns. The universe is polyrhythmic.
The rhythms around us and within us affect us in three important ways:
Physiologically – As the rhythms within your body change you experience the physiological effects of that change. An increase in heart rhythm will trigger a series of corresponding change to breathing rate and other organic cycles as they change with it.
Psychologically – The brain generates its own rhythmic patterns of activity as brain waves. Typically grouped into four classes: Beta, Alpha, Theta and Delta they correspond to different levels of brain activity from high to low. By immersing yourself in a particular rhythmic stimulus it is possible to change your brain state as the wave cycles shift to match the stimulus. This is how many relaxation audio programmes work.
Behaviourally – From the rhythmic lulling of a baby to the aggressive drums of war rhythm can cause us to alter our behaviour patterns. Equally powerful are the trance rhythms of the shaman which can shift our state of consciousness and awareness.
We can explain the power of rhythm through a phenomenon known as entrainment. If you take some time to observe couples walking through a park or city centre you will see its effect. As people walk side by side you will notice that their steps fall into a synchronous rhythm.
It’s difficult to walk next to someone and pace with a different rhythmic cycle.
Entrainment happens when two rhythmic events are close to each other, there is a coming together and a matching of rhythms or vibrations. It is the nature of harmonic rhythm and explains how easy it is to get absorbed by rhythms and grooves. As an audience we can feel the pull of the time and entrain to it.
By creating specific rhythms to lower brain waves and physical rhythmic rates we can use rhythmic entrainment as a therapeutic tool to entrain a more relaxed state into the mind and body of the listening audience.
We can use rhythm to create harmony and to create relaxed and effective states of being in ourselves, in others and in the world.
Everyday the media is full of new stories that demonstrates even more the depths that people will sink to in their time on our planet.
I’m not going to list them. That will just reinforce my experience of them, the laws of attraction happen in both directions both positive and negative. I’m out to change my experience of them.
From violence to peace. From fear to love. From hatred to compassion.
I’ve decided that I will only allow in those things that I want. That means news, that means stories online and in print. I’m only open to the vibration of the things that I want.
Vibrating With The Laws of Attraction
This is how it works, it’s a rule… a law. An event happens. It’s reported across all the media channels across the globe. We consume it, it surrounds us.
We worry. ‘That’s terrible,’ we say. We huddle together in fear at the outside world and scary circumstances.
We send out vibrations of that experience and more of those kind of experiences resonate and begin to happen. On a global scale we can attract the vibrations of some serious shit thanks to all those lovely laws of attraction.
Good news is, we can also attract some vibrations of some awesome good.
Good is what we want. It’s not a judgement, it’s just what each of us wants.
I said you can attract it and I mean it.
Think about it. What consumes you each day? What are you surrounded by? Stories of things getting worse?
Self fulfilling prophecies for you to enjoy.
It’s just temporary. Don’t think that because you’ve had a lifetime of bringing what you don’t want that you have to stick with it. It’s just an indicator.
Change thanks to the laws of attraction
Now you can change it. You can take control by only allowing what you want into your thoughts and into your experience. Become a creator and not just a reactor.
You could even go one step further. I had an idea on this, one of those ideas that fills me with hope.
I want us to turn off the news. I want us to globally agree to take a day off from reporting and observing what is happening in the world of circumstances. When we catalogue what is, we get more what is. Information overload.
Instead we turn off the news. We can make it a global holiday, a day away from generating vibrations of what we don’t want. Because not everyone knows how to do this and get back the control of their life.
We turn off the news, let the journalists spend some time with their families or their hobbies.
We breath in the relief of no new atrocities. We don’t experience them, they are not there.
And then the next day we fill the newspapers of stories that nothing went wrong.
Rinse and repeat until we get better at it.
I was telling a story at a dinner party and someone interrupted.
They took a bit of a dig at me. And smiled.
What happened next lasted for days. Really.
‘How could they belittle me like that?’ . What am I supposed to say?
What is this raw emotion and where does it come from?
You want to control your emotions? Good luck with that. You can’t control emotions and if you think you can then they will end up controlling you.
Like a pack of wolves they will steal you away when the darkness falls.
You know this already.
You see emotions are an important part of our life. They are useful in signalling to us if something isn’t working for us or needs changing. Emotions are like our inbuilt warning systems.
Feeling emotions is a natural part of the awareness of living. They can set the thermostat of your day-to-day experience. If we are generally living in an attitude of fear and worry all of our decisions are impacted by that state.
If, instead, we take an outlook of joy and love we will find that the world opens up in front of us in an entirely different way.
This is the path to peace and joy.
But emotions can and will change, sometimes from moment to moment. The problems start when we forget to really feel the emotion and let it play out, instead of trying to suppress it.
This is futile.
We attempt to cover it over and stuff into a mental sack labelled ‘Emotional Baggage.’
You have a choice when you feel a strong emotion. You can either release and let it go or add it to your emotional baggage.
The trouble with emotional baggage is that keeping it suppressed and under control takes a lot of mental energy. Hiding our emotions leaves us with very little dynamic spirit to do anything else.
I recently read a terrific summary of how to release emotions. If you find that the same emotions are coming up for you time and time again then you are not releasing them, they build up and start to dominate your thoughts.
Here’s how to clear them:
- Ask yourself if it’s possible to let go of this emotion.
- If it is, then ask yourself if you would.
- If you would, then ask yourself when is the right time.
The way to release the emotions is to say Yes, Yes and Now!
Holding onto emotions like resentment or jealousy harms nobody but yourself.
Perhaps you think you’ll pay them back by staying annoyed with them for a bit longer. Well, the only person being affected here is you.
You need to release it.
Once you release an emotion you will feel lighter as you let go. As you practice you can release emotions as they happen.
Feel them and let them go.
If you are finding it difficult to find time for meditation then you are not alone, often it is a struggle to find space for any kind of meditation in your life. Like all things, it is only once you establish an action as a habit that it starts to feel vital to your day. These ideas can help you cut down the distractions that pull you way from your time to just sit and be.
Turn off the computer, email, social sites, and funny cat videos. It is amazing how tempting this technology is and how much it distracts us. Please wait until you’ve read the whole of this article though
2. Turn off the television
Another of the great time killers. You can always catch up on that episode of ‘Elephants That Ski’ but if you miss your meditation session, it’s gone. This is a great way to begin to learn about becoming aware of what you do with your time, moment to moment.
3. Get a timer
Okay, I’m not saying we get so obsessed about time here, it’s just that when you raise your awareness of how you are spending time it opens up vastly in front of you. Using a timer is a great way to establish a committed meditation practice. Get a timer, set it. Sit. 5-10 minutes. It’s enough.