Regular relaxation is more than playing squash once a week and having a holiday once a year.

In the West in the 20th century, disenchantment with materialistic values led to an awakening of interest in Eastern philosophies and practices, which were seen as holistic and humane. The teaching and practice of numerous techniques of meditation, most based on an esoteric Eastern tradition, became a widespread phenomenon.

The Art of Meditation includes six meditations to quiet your mind and open your heart in the midst of everyday life. May these words and practices bring you inspiration, wisdom, and delight.

The simple verses from Teachings From Buddha explore the themes of individual awareness and kindness, wise relationships, and the interconnection of all beings.
At their heart they simply remind us that we too can live with the wakefulness and compassion of a Buddha.
May these words and practices bring you inspiration, wisdom, and delight.

Have a massage. What a wonderful way to feel relaxed!

The following is a relaxation exercise which can be used either as a preliminary to meditation or as an end in itself. Select as quiet a spot as possible and, with or without the playing of a suitable piece of music, lie on a flat but comfortable surface on your back, with or without a small pillow under the head. If the relaxation exercise is intended as a preliminary to a more specific meditation, it is better to sit in a comfortable chair with a straight back. Both relaxation and meditation are usually undertaken with the eyes closed.

Visualise lying in a warm, crystal clear pool in the centre of a quiet forest. Brightly coloured small fish swim gracefully around us and fronds of water plants gently waft in the water. We can feel the sunlight penetrating the warm water and flowing around and through our body. Take the consciousness around the body starting with the toes and feel the sunlight penetrating every nerve and muscle as they relax in the warm water. Move the awareness from the toes to the whole foot, the calf muscles, the knees, thighs, pelvis, digestive organs, heart, chest, shoulders, arms, hands, neck, jaw, tongue, and eyes. At each step visualise the area relaxing in the warm water. This stage should take between five and ten minutes, depending on the degree of physical tension.
For a few minutes become aware of the breathing rhythm. Experience the breathing becoming quieter and slower, with more energy flowing in with each breath. Now change the focus of awareness from the physical body to the feelings. Take the consciousness into the feeling or astral nature via the general contours of the physical body. Become aware of patches of conflict or negative emotions such as resentment, jealousy, greed, anger, hatred, or depression. Very often these emotions are centred in particular areas such as the stomach, shoulders, neck, or other parts of the body. Thus, by following the contours of the body to observe any emotional blocks, we can more easily become aware of emotional tensions.

Do not explore or dwell on any of these emotions, but now visualise the difficult patches flowing down the body and out the feet into the water where they are transmuted by the sunlight into energies of light. Experience the feeling or emotional nature becoming gradually and totally serene, stable, and translucent. This placid state may obviously take more than a few practice sessions to obtain, so if you get stuck at any spot, move on to the next stage. At each subsequent session, difficult areas may become easier to handle.

Now focus the mind and see it as a crystal or diamond able to focus healing energies from the inner self through the emotions and body. Imagine gentle colours of the rainbow flowing through the diamond-mind and creating a rainbow aura of light around the body. For a few moments float in this light and be still, physically, emotionally, and mentally, as you visualise the healing light flowing into the body. The mind can now be allowed to become quiet; if it is found wandering into all sorts of thoughts, just bring it gently back each time to the concept of being a quietly focused crystalline lens.

With the body relaxed, feelings serene, and mind still, stay in this stage for some minutes to gain maximum benefit. Vary this time according to need. When you feel more relaxed and energised, gradually become wide-awake by breathing more deeply and visualise the colours being transmitted into the physical body. Imagine moving out of the pool gradually and sitting amongst the flowers and fernery around the bank. Have a big stretch and feel the firm earth under the body. Sit up, breathe deeply, and take up the next activity of the day or evening, re-charged and relaxed. Do not expect to be totally relaxed or energised after the first sessions.

This exercise can be varied to take from fifteen to thirty minutes, but unless sleep is planned at the end, thirty minutes should be the maximum time needed. Tension robs us of energy while re

Daily relaxation gives us the skills to detect tenseness before health problems begin.

Our energy can be too concentrated or too diffused. Crystallisation means a tendency towards stasis of thought or feeling or both. We become cut off from others and our environment.

Excessive diffusion may give us the experience of being invaded by the world including those around us. The normal boundary between our sense of self and the world becomes too thin.

FORGIVE AND FORGET
To bear ill feelings towards someone else is more damaging to the bearer than the recipient. For your own sake, forgive quickly and freely.

SWING
Uninhibited dancing is one of the most pleasurable exercises around. It distracts even the most committed worrier.

KICK OFF YOUR SHOES

You've been conditioning yourself since childhood to relax this way. It's the first thing you do when you decide to relax - you kick off your shoes.

Kick away and calm down.

CUT DOWN YOUR BREATHING

A deeply relaxed person breathes only 5-8 times a minute. By slowing your breathing down to that rate, you will quickly relax.

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