Relaxation Part 2 – The Infinite Onion Bit

Photo by Delmonti

In my previous post, I made a promise I did not keep. I talked about our addiction to relaxation triggers, but..

I did not mention the infinite onion

In this post, I will rectify my transgression. I will deliver.

I’m going to tell you a really cool thing.

You may or may not have experienced it yet. If you haven’t don’t worry, it’s not like telling you how the Sixth Sense ends. I can’t possibly ruin it for you, because when it does happen to you, it’ll be something so cool that nothing I could say could possibly ruin it for you.

So… you’ll be practising your taijiquan form, or your standing meditation, you’re slipping into the zone, everything is becoming crystal clear, it’s all slowing down, and then…

Some part of you lets go

You’re not sure what’s let go, but you know something has, all by itself, has loosened its limpet grip on some other part of you.

And it feel soooo good

You’ll have passed through one level of tension, let go of it and moved down into the next, deeper level of tension where you’ll go through that really cool process all over again.

It’s like an onion you see. You have many layers of tension.

But here’s the nub of it. The miracle of nature that is you has more dimensions to it than simply the physical.

Tension manifests in the physical, mental and emotional

Bear with me, I’m not being deliberately metaphysical. To justify that statement, I have prepared a little case study.

You’ve had a hard day at work and you’re getting ready for bed.

Argh, my back’s stiff and so are my shoulders.

Yup, so many hours at the desk slaving away with the mouse in one hand has stiffened you up, all that not moving around and you’ve got a back that’s stiff and shoulders that won’t roll. It’s the stuff that we’re all familiar with all that physical tension of locked and tight muscles.

You get into bed anyway, turn out the light..

And lie awake blinking at the ceiling. Your brain is whizzing

That presentation wasn’t up to scratch, you were pissed off with the boss when you put it together. It was sub-par and he’s not going to be happy. Oh, and there’s the shopping list you need to make. Do we need more milk? Doesn’t the lawn that needs mowing and little Alice needs new shoes, and Byron has to be taken to swimming lessons tomorrow. Must take a look at that really cool Taijiquan site. What was it called? Something-pedia?

The brain, is still clinging to all that, and it’s creating mental tension, constant chatter in the head is the mind’s way of manifesting that tension. It’s not going to be a physical sensation.

No matter, sooner or later you’ll get so tired that you’ll fall asleep right?

OH MY GOD! That presentation I sent to the boss!

You were bored, upset and feeling undervalued, so for a laugh you replaced every instance of “Gross Domestic Product” with the childish and inane word “farting”.  You meant to change it back but forgot due to the unfair amount of stress and pressure.

You can already see your boss spitting venom, his portly frame resonating like a lava lamp to the sound of his baying for blood.

You’re feeling stressed.

That’s emotional tension getting its hooks into you. That “AAARRGHH!” emotional response is the beginnings of this tension, and anyone who is a chronic worrier, will know that it can go on for extended periods of time.

So.. if I’ve convinced you that tension can manifest in three dimensions, it’s time to introduce the “infinity” bit.

The human body is in a constant state of flux

Your body is constantly changing, physically, mentally and emotionally. With all these changes happening, you’re constantly letting go of tension, and building tension in these three dimensions.

So whenever you peel off one layer of tension, another will always await you beneath, because there are other ways you have been storing tension, and when you let go that bit, there’s the tension underneath that layer and so on. There are an infinite number of layers.

There you go.. relaxation is like an infinite onion

What regular practise of taijiquan helps you do is constantly let go of tension in whichever dimension you’re building it up on. Think about it as a maintenance on your tension valves. As tension builds up in the physical realm, you relieve it, and then if emotional tension builds up, you can help let go of that too.

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