I've had a couple of goes at explaining contracted and relaxed mind states, and here's where we start putting some flesh on the bones. We observe ourselves getting tense and we observe ourselves getting relaxed, whilst maintaining a sense of distance. I've put some words in my contracted and relaxed states to give a bit of an idea. Being relaxed feels very nice in a multitude of different ways - have a look at the diagram for a few examples of different states that we might get into. On the other hand, being contracted is like putting ourselves through a mangle - although we might feel that the mangle is being applied to us.
So we learn to relax and this leads us to a gateway of bliss, rapture and contentment. The more we learn to recognise these different states the easier it becomes to access them when they arise. In fact, they arise all the time in every day life - we just don't notice them. Once to we get used them, they become our friends. We see them in ourselves and we see them in other people too. We build up a certain kind of synergy towards them.
This is clearly just one half of the equation. We can also observe contracted mental states and build up an observing relationship with them (granted this is a little more tricky because they are so compelling). Then, once we get familiar with these different states, we start to recognise a kind of shifting landscape within ourselves - but I'll leave that for another time.
It's enough to recognise them and see them when they happen. You might like to ask yourself what causes them, and then we might wonder to ourselves "how can I cause bliss?". Where are my bliss buttons?