Blockages to pure relaxation

Relaxation is the key to feeling good but learning how to relax is a tricky business. You could try to relax right now but it's not so easy - things get in the way. These things are generally intractable thoughts (anger, wanting, aversion, etc) or the idea that you should be doing something else. (Buddhism wraps these blockages up as the five hindrances). However, they are thoughts that lead us down a garden path that never ends.

These thoughts block relaxation and we feel impossible to stop them but this is just an illusion and a cognitive distortion. In fact, they end very quickly if we gain the right perspective and turn our minds towards something more wholesome. The general sequence goes something like this:

- we are stressed, we realise we are stressed and we cannot relax
- we take some deep breaths
- we consciously turn our mind to focus on breathing
- we breathe in, we breathe out, we rest in between
- we feel the mind pulling us away, we feel tension in the body supporting it
- we breathe in, we breathe out, we relax with it
- the mind will try to pull us away, it is kind of a habit
- we may count each breath
- we relax into the body using the breath to open up a space
- we feel the breath entering our body from head to toes
- we breathe in, we breathe out, we relax with it

That's how it begins. Holding our mind on breath until we are ready to relax into it. Then the pleasantness arises and we are ready to deeper.


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