Author Topic: Relaxation: The key and why it's importance is misunderstood.  (Read 21534 times)

Normal Andy

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Re: Relaxation: The key and why it's importance is misunderstood.
« Reply #25 on: December 08, 2014, 08:01:30 AM »
I keep hearing that 'a bit of stress is good for you.' - I don't agree with that personally but it's undoubtedly good for business...

One of the mistakes I made when relaxing and considering awareness was to become a little Nihilistic with the idea of being empty. I let thoughts be there and drop away, the same with feelings and sensations but could never quite come to terms with the 'nothng' that was left over- there was something missing(!). After reading and listening to some ideas on the nature of consciousness, I realised that the 'nothing' was my awareness that was left over when I had nothing left to identify with. Nothing/ It had been there all the time. Identifying with nothing allows me to try and connect with the space that is around me- there is a whole lot of nothing around and I guess the reason I had never really noticed it before is because it's very hard to notice something really still.

I have work to do with letting that idea drop away too (I'm still aware that I'm visualising 'consciousness' as a big globey sort of object expanding around me to help me on my way), but it was really nice to feel like I had connected to a very calm and relaxed place for a little while- and I have managed to spend longer there over the last year or so.

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Relaxation: The key and why it's importance is misunderstood.
« Reply #26 on: December 08, 2014, 11:48:26 AM »
I have tended to find recently a level of enjoyment or pleasure from a relaxed approach which is free of stress. This doesn't seem forced.

In regards to the "a little stress is good" comment, I can appreciate how that might be the case for someone lacking motivation or self control. But if you're the sort of person who's capable of knuckles down and getting on with whatever is in front of you then stress is of little beneficial use.

Normal Andy

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Re: Relaxation: The key and why it's importance is misunderstood.
« Reply #27 on: December 08, 2014, 12:09:14 PM »
Yes I agree- stress in nearly all the forms I have experienced is never a liberating experience. In fact it seems to slowly curtails the creative experience that comes from relaxed fascination and encourages submission to authorities and institutions who have no real right to be dictating your life to you.

The suggestion is that people need a little 'stressing' and pushing around in order to fall in line and behave properly and achieve your objectives. I wouldn't do it to myself...

Just A Simple Guy

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Re: Relaxation: The key and why it's importance is misunderstood.
« Reply #28 on: December 08, 2014, 12:49:38 PM »
Perhaps this is a simplistic approach but I don't try to contemplate or identify with the space of awareness. The phrase that works best for me is 'rest in awareness'. Beyond that I find any attempt to further pin it down detracts from its inherent serene nature. I guess it's simply being. Nothing more and nothing less.

Jeremy

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Re: Relaxation: The key and why it's importance is misunderstood.
« Reply #29 on: December 17, 2014, 02:37:43 PM »
I've always known that life is suffering. And why wouldn't I? The anxiety, the depression, the manifold indignities I experience every day...

But I really, really know that life is suffering when I first started to watch my breath. This was about a year ago. There is a point during exhalation when there is a feeling of suffocation for lack of air. This feeling is what makes you inhale again. It's when I saw that even breathing is unpleasant that the totality of suffering became apparent to me.

Middleway

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Re: Relaxation: The key and why it's importance is misunderstood.
« Reply #30 on: December 18, 2014, 02:58:03 AM »
I've always known that life is suffering. And why wouldn't I? The anxiety, the depression, the manifold indignities I experience every day...

But I really, really know that life is suffering when I first started to watch my breath. This was about a year ago. There is a point during exhalation when there is a feeling of suffocation for lack of air. This feeling is what makes you inhale again. It's when I saw that even breathing is unpleasant that the totality of suffering became apparent to me.

So, how do we get rid of this suffering? Stop breathing? Jump off a cliff?. Or simply accept the suffering and let go? Life is happiness too. There cannot be happiness without suffering and suffering without happiness.
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

bram

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Re: Relaxation: The key and why it's importance is misunderstood.
« Reply #31 on: June 18, 2015, 03:56:25 AM »
I'm pretty okay with the translation of 'suffering' or at least 'unsatisfactoryness' for dukka, because sooner or later we need to come to terms with the fact that samsara is not a continual flow of pleasurable experience, and what we take for pleasurable experience is actually causing us to suffer more.

If we try to focus our meditation on relaxing, then that seems pretty much like just pursuing more pleasure. Of course, relaxation and de-stressing comes in time as a side effect of practice, but not till we realize that our ordinary lives are a never ending cycle of 'unsatisfactoryness'.


Matthew

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Re: Relaxation: The key and why it's importance is misunderstood.
« Reply #32 on: June 18, 2015, 03:16:21 PM »
Hi bram,

You are quite correct - really I am emphasising here the importance of relaxation to practice, the main topic of the forum. Our lives are so cluttered and full of stress that this needs to be cut through for practice not to be imbued with it.

Kindly,

Matthew
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aekmitpatel

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Re: Relaxation: The key and why it's importance is misunderstood.
« Reply #33 on: July 17, 2015, 12:57:27 AM »
One of the most simple relaxation technique I learnt was to close my eyes and focus on my breathing. You can do it for 1 or 2 minutes to start with and then extend the time as you become more and more relaxed. The feeling you get after you open your eyes is amazing.

You just need to focus on your own breathing. Any thought that crosses your mind let it cross. Bring back your focus again to your breathing.

Doing this will give you and idea of how powerful relaxation will be.
One of the 7.1 billion impression on this planet. A small DOT in the scheme of this grand universe. Just want to remain happy in this moment. And spread the message of love, happiness and peace to everyone I meet.

LotusBud

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Re: Relaxation: The key and why it's importance is misunderstood.
« Reply #34 on: September 15, 2015, 09:12:18 PM »
Hello all,
First post and very happy to be here. 

 I learned a little about relaxation via my tai chi teacher and the teachings of the great grandmaster Cheng Man Ching.  One thing that stuck with me about what he taught about relaxation was his definition of tension, which I see as one of the opposites of relaxation.  He said that, "Tension in the body is holding onto something that isn't there".  Simple enough.  So I go through the areas of the body and see or feel if I am holding tension.  Common to westerners is tension in the upper shoulders, upper chest, arms, neck, or back.  If you put your minds eye in these areas you can usually find some tension of tightness.  Letting it go helps reach a truer sense of relaxation.  Hope this helps.  :)

regard, Phil  :)
"A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone."
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Yes2life

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Re: Relaxation: The key and why it's importance is misunderstood.
« Reply #35 on: April 23, 2016, 08:11:08 AM »
For me relaxation is linked to right effort. I cannot force awareness, effortlessly awareness arises as I relax.

Matthew

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Re: Relaxation: The key and why it's importance is misunderstood.
« Reply #36 on: May 15, 2016, 12:16:37 PM »
That's a good understanding Yes2life. When Bram wrote earlier, "If we try to focus our meditation on relaxing, then that seems pretty much like just pursuing more pleasure.", a point was missed really: it's not about focussing on relaxation it's about the right balance between focus or concentration and relaxation: "not too tight, not too loose".
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Laurent

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Re: Relaxation: The key and why it's importance is misunderstood.
« Reply #37 on: July 23, 2016, 03:36:35 PM »
Relaxation is the key to really treading the path of the Buddha, the golden key, the missing key, the misunderstood key.

Why so?

It's pretty simple really. The Buddha is often quoted as saying "Life is suffering", the first of the "four noble truths".

But he didn't.

What he said is "life is stressful".

He then taught how our clinging or aversion to sense objects creates this stress. How our mind and body function to continually keep this stress going. And he taught the way to move beyond stressful living to stress-free living.

The first step in that is relaxation. Relaxation is the opposite of stress. It is the antidote to stress.

If the Buddha had meant life was suffering then the antidote would have been doing pleasurable things - but the Buddha saw that even those things we perceive as pleasurable induce stress.

Many times I have emphasised the importance of relaxation. This week Alex and I met up for the third time since last year. It has been very interesting watching this young guy develop in such a quick time. He is treading the path in a dignified way and navigating the troubled waters of being a teen at the same time. And he is very relaxed with himself, but very present and very real.

He helped me understand this basic aspect of why the BuddhaDhamma is misunderstood so much.

Life is not suffering. Life is many things. The Buddha taught that simplicity, morality and wisdom make for a stress free life, compared to the norm.

Relax. And don't be lazy about your morality/discipline. But relax about that too. Don't give yourself a hard time about it. That is "The Middle Way".

Thanks for the help with this one Alex. It was great to see you again.

Matthew

Sure  :)
I frequently say to people asking about my practice that dhamma is the best relaxation method ever.
It can be comprehended as a full relaxation method leading to liberation of any kind of stress. As you noticed it, Buddha's words can be heard this way.
The english word "relax" combines the two meanings: calm and release.
In my native language, french, things are not so easy. We have "relâcher" for release and "relaxer" for calm but is mostly used for body relaxation. So i have to precise "mental relaxation" to be understood.
But the root of both the words is the same.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2016, 03:42:13 PM by Laurent »

stillpointdancer

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Re: Relaxation: The key and why it's importance is misunderstood.
« Reply #38 on: July 23, 2016, 06:21:52 PM »
That's a good understanding Yes2life. When Bram wrote earlier, "If we try to focus our meditation on relaxing, then that seems pretty much like just pursuing more pleasure.", a point was missed really: it's not about focussing on relaxation it's about the right balance between focus or concentration and relaxation: "not too tight, not too loose".
There's nothing wrong with relaxing using different techniques, but it's not vipassana meditation. I prefer the analogy of a cat at a mouse hole. The cat appears to be relaxed, but is in fact ready to spring at the first sight of a mouse. The balance you talk about is like that, a relaxed tension where you appear lost in the meditation, but if anything needs your immediate attention you are ready to react any time.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Ben-meijer

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Re: Relaxation: The key and why it's importance is misunderstood.
« Reply #39 on: March 26, 2017, 07:41:54 PM »
Dear all,

Yes, our western world is all about stress.
As an EFT-therapist, I know all about de-stressing and de-programming peoples achieve mode, perfection striving, etc. Praticing EFT has taught me so much about emotions, judgements and thoughts, how these interact, patterns of... and how behaviours is so linked tot emotions and patterns. This has been of great help on the way/path, before I met Vipassana.

But, when we look back 200 years, there was less stress and haste. Both then and now, there is suffering.

What Vipassana has taught me, is that the body reacts at a bodily level to every bit of information from any of the sense doors, including the mind (a single thought, is categorized andreacted upon immediately).

And yes. As long as we are slaves to raga an dosha, on a bodily level, or on a psychological level, being caught up in trying to make our life go the way we want, we are suffering. We are running from birth till death. There is no real choice to act or re-act willfully... It is all engrained, we are running programs.

destressing I did long before I did vipassana. I could relax very well and deeply before vipassana. Vipassana allowed me to go the the roots more, and ferret them out. Accepting the vipassana proces allowed me to practice letting go of controll, my real nemesis. In Vipassana you dont choose which sansakara you will deal with now. It just comes up.
And yess, you really need to relax deeply to feel deeply. That all happens when you follow instructions, doesnt it?

My 2-cents worth

savethelastbreathforme

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Re: Relaxation: The key and why it's importance is misunderstood.
« Reply #40 on: November 08, 2018, 05:32:28 PM »
buddha was a charlatan. any enlightened man should be able to see this. his doctrines have functioned as a distraction from the true demons that beset man, such as the world of man. peaceful is the natural state of man, and this is destroyed, deliberately and systematically by other men. the man who says "be relaxed" (in hell), has lost understanding and has instead merely created a peaceful delusion.

I dont know if Buddha was a charlatan or not. But peace was the natural state of us (man), but as you say this has been destroyed by others & ourselves. Seems to my ignorant mind that the Buddha was trying to find a systematic way to live in the world of man.

I had this peace until physical illness hit me last christmas. Suddenly it awoke me to the world of suffering. I dont know if I will have peace again, but I will go on the journey.

Kind Regards.