Would it surprise you to know that a calm relaxed state is everybody’s natural condition?
This is the inspiring message from so many mystics and sages throughout the ages. So what stresses us out so much? Unrealistic goals and expectations. Having too much on your plate. Whether it’s you putting the pressure on yourself or your work or your family. Communication helps to renegotiate these pressures to help make them manageable and achievable. In the mean time it is vital for our health and well being to take a break from the expectations which are always in the form of thoughts and return to a natural state of calm.
Without relaxing our bodies can over load with stress hormones causes damage to cells, muscles and organs. Without relaxing our minds will be in a constant state of fight or flight which can lead to chronic anxiety and other mental health issues. In short without a good dose of relaxation every day you could be doing your body and mind irreparable damage.
Meditation is fast becoming the number one way to deal with stress. Detaching from thoughts and relaxing is closely associated with the Buddhist mindfulness skill of being able to ignore thoughts and to focus your attention. Letting go of being caught up in thoughts is the start of meditation and the beginning of returning to the natural state of relaxation. In fact there is a natural joyful bliss just being able to detach from thoughts and focus on the present moment. Which allows our minds and bodies to heal and return to a state of equilibrium.
Many people go on holidays to relax but that can turn out to be just as stressful as our everyday life. Planning a holiday, constantly judging your experience and feeling like things could be better can ruin the holiday experience. A saying from Alcoholics Anonymous states that “wherever you go, there you are” which just means you take your troubles, worries and your mind with you wherever you go. You cannot go on holidays to escape your mind, to truly escape your mind and thoughts you must learn to meditate.
It is our thoughts that disturb us the most as Eckhart Tolle says:
“It is never the situation that causes suffering it is our thoughts about it.”
Therefore learning to have a new relationships with thoughts is vital according to Buddha and a major skill learnt in meditation. As Buddhist teacher Sharon Salzburg says:
“We suffer because we take our thoughts seriously.”
In the guided meditation below I guide you to use slow long breathing and focussing on the breath with an ancient Buddhist mindfulness technique of repeating to yourself ‘breathing in’ & ‘breathing out’ as you do so. This is very skilful way to neutralise your thoughts but at the same time channel them into something that doesn’t cause stress or anxiety. This is an ancient Buddhist method of mindfulness and relaxation and it works exceptionally well for beginners but is also a fundamental training in mindfulness which everyone can benefit from.
This Buddhist technique of simple mindfulness can also be utilised through-out the day when thoughts or stressful emotions become too much; detach from your thoughts and take a few deep conscious breaths repeating to yourself breathing in breathing out and you can quickly return to a calm and naturally relaxed state.
I invite you to try this meditation in a sitting upright position, this helps to also stay alert and not fall asleep, and find the perfect balance of relaxation and alertness. As Buddha advised you don’t want to be too relaxed or too tense but find the perfect balance is the key to mindfulness meditation. Buddha said the perfect balance of mind is like a guitar string; it cannot be too tight or too loose. A great meditation posture has many benefits and reflects the grace and power of an inner peace.
Relaxation is just the beginning of where meditation can take you. Once you learn to detach from thoughts and settle your mind in a calm and natural way you can then slowly begin to realise the incredible depths of awareness and your potential to radiate love and openness from a natural state of presence.
Please Enjoy This Guided Mindfulness & Relaxation Meditation
Guided Meditation by Chad Foreman
Chad Foreman has been teaching meditation since 2003 and is determined to bring authentic meditation practices into the lives of millions of people. Chad is a former Buddhist monk and spent 6 years living in a retreat hut studying and practising meditation full time. He is now a fully qualified meditation teacher with the Australian Institute of Meditation and has designed a unique 21 day meditation challenge to guide people gradually from the basics of mindfulness and relaxation to profound states of awareness. Click Here to learn more about the 21 Day Meditation Challenge.