Relaxation is the natural state of our bodies as reported by many mystics who practised meditation to experience the truth of existence and non-existence. But why is it in our modern society, we find it so hard to relax?
The reasons are numerous and they range from having expectations of ourselves and of those close to us – mainly family and good friends. First, we build an image of ourself. The self that needs to achieve and experience a number of things we identify as satisfying in our lives before our lives come to an end. Perhaps we would like to build an image of a successful entrepreneur, or the image of a high flyer in a corporation. Or maybe we hold an image of a perfect spouse and a happy family in our minds, and anyone that threatens to stand in our way in our make-believe image is branded someone annoying or worst, an enemy. This happens a lot in marriages, where most marry the false perception they have of their spouse, thus bringing in numerous unrealistic expectations into the marriage. As the best-selling author of “The Power of Now”, Eckhart Tolle had said:
“It is never the situation that causes suffering it is our thoughts about it.”
Our expectations have activated stress hormones in our bodies, for what we do not like or does not turn out to be what we expect, we prepare to fight or flee from the situation. Stress hormones cause damage to cells, muscles, and organs. Whereas relaxation allows rest for our minds and thus the body, repairing any cellular damage we have created ourselves or from the outer environment,
Therefore, it is vital that we take time to be idle. To be idle means to do nothing, and not even watching the television, reading or going on a holiday. For many people still, do not feel rested despite watching an entire day of Netflix of coming home from their weekend trips to nearby resorts.
True relaxation is the ability to rest within ourselves. Taking a relaxed breath and letting the world and people become what they want to be. In fact, by not wanting them to be other than what they are, we learn to appreciate and become open to accepting things as they are – including ourselves. It is, in fact, therapeutic to love those close to us as who they are. Perhaps they aren’t very desirable in the sense they have a bad habit. They may be suffering from anger or depression. But in recognising and seeing that they are suffering within, thus behaving the way they do, we stop expecting something out of them. We learn to give our loved one’s space so they can discover themselves, while in the process we also discover ourselves – our ability to let things be and to forgive ourselves and others.
Without relaxation, or being aware that we are constantly expecting things to go our way, we are constantly creating stress with the inability to slow down and become aware of our presence in this world.