The art of relaxation

Yesterday’s article reminds me of something fundamental!

In Patricia’s guest post of yesterday, she wrote about Chloe, her dog,

Chloe was born knowing. She knows about joy. She knows about living a life in balance. She knows about forgiveness, trust, exuberance, a passion for learning and the power of a good nap.

I was speaking with Jon Lavin a few days ago about the effect of anxiety on memory.  Jon confirmed that as we get older even low levels of anxiety can play games with our mental focus.  He described what many of us know – of walking into a room, for instance, and suddenly realising that you didn’t have a clue as to why you had come into the room!  In a very real sense anxiety is the body’s manifestation of fear.

Jon went on to say that practicing ‘letting go’ for a couple of 10-minute sessions a day is wonderfully therapeutic for the mind.  In fact, when Jon was a guest author for Learning from Dogs he touched on the subject of fear in a post almost two years ago to the day; Dealing with the fear of the known.  Indeed, I’m going to reproduce that article in full – here it is,

Jon Lavin

Can we ever conquer fear?

In a recent article I discussed the fear of the unknown, linked to the down-turn, redundancies, etc.

Per Kurowski, a great supporter of this Blog, posed the following question. “Great advice… but how do we remove the fear of what is known?”  A simple, and slightly flippant answer would be, “Develop a different relationship with it.”

What I’m saying is that when we are facing the known, and I’m assuming that it’s something unpleasant, our choices are limited. It’s going to happen, so the only thing we can do is change the way we view it.

This brings us back full circle to developing a different relationship with it. Let’s take the word, ‘fear’.

All fear is an illusion, walk right through“. I heard Dr David Hawkins say on a CD. Granted, a great trick if you can do it!

Here’s another description of fear: Fear = False Evidence Appearing Real

Fear is generally future-based. We tend to use the past as a learning reference to inform us of what to be afraid of in the future. So human beings live their lives trying to predict and prepare for the future, limited by their past experiences.

Unfortunately, the only way to work with fear of the known is to live in the present!

Our whole society is geared up to look into the future. We are forever worrying about or planning something for the future.

To begin focussing on the present, try this.

Simply, to start off, become aware of the breath and sensations in the body. This will slowly start to remind us to be present, or embodied, in our own body. Problems, fear and spiral thinking, often at 3 or 4 in the morning, are generated in the mind. Thoughts occur randomly, although we call them, “Our thoughts“, and refer to, “Our mind“.

By dropping out of the thought processes into the awareness of our breath and our body, the noise stops, even if only for a moment.  Here’s the rub: So very few people in the world will have even the slightest inkling what these words mean!

If more of us got used to coming out of the mind before making an important decision, and simply sat with the question for a while, the answer would probably present itself.

This will probably raise more questions than it answers but that’s not a bad thing.

By Jon Lavin

Difficult to add anything to that very sound advice save to try it out yourself, and if you own a dog or have one as a friend, just look much more closely at how he or she behaves and remember why this blog is called what it is!  Or as Trish wrote,

Chloe was born knowing. She knows about joy. She knows about living a life in balance. She knows about forgiveness, trust, exuberance, a passion for learning and the power of a good nap.

Ah, the power of a good nap!

Puppy Cleo enjoying a good nap!

7 thoughts on “The art of relaxation

  1. Thank you for this timely reminder. There is so much fear, and fear-mongering out there, yet we can only do the work we need to do if we move through the fear, and act out of love.

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  2. Paul,

    The example given of walking into a room and forgetting what you going there for is not necessarily fear driven, it is also an example of being in a natural trance where your mind is so focused on something else you forget what you were doing.

    Anxiety can indeed cause forgetfullness. Nancy once sent me to Sears to pick up a mail order package and I had to wait in line to pick it up. When it came my turn the lady behind the counter barked at me “what are the last four numers of your telephone number?” Well on a good day I might be able to remember my telephone number but the last four digits, never. I just froze with anxiety and finally I just blurted out four random numbers which she looked up and said there is no package available for that number and I just slinked out of there with my tail between my legs.

    Lee

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  3. Nice post Paul. Fear of the known can be as scary or anxiety ridden as the unknown. Put the two together and you have a recipe for an extra dose of fear. I know answers are within us, most of the time anyway, when we don’t know what to do. I learned that many years ago, and then I abandoned what I had learned. I was wondering the other day, after finding some crystals that are over twenty years old, when I lost faith in the way I believed. I spent years in a meditation center, as well as reading and studying with a spiritual teacher. I guess, you’d never know it these days. I worry so… Returning to family, trying to find a way to relate, I may have let go of myself. Turns out, this didn’t do me any good. I feel like I have to start all over again.

    I also know that some situations require us to either take a different view or suffer with worry, but it is surely easier said than done. My son’s illness is certainly one of those situations. I take ten steps forward, and a hundred backward in that regard. This is because I get burned out as a caregiver and my only options for help are professionals who have not shown to have my son’s or his family’s best interest. I think if I had community and help, finding my true Self, the quiet mind, the place of peace where there is not good or bad, would be so much easier. I regress.

    I know this is a long comment, but I want to share something. My son and I were recently staying in a hotel (because of a crisis so anxiety was high) –he went swimming. I sat by the pool. Only one other person was there. He was on his mobile, not paying us any attention. My son began walking slowly in the water and laughing loudly to himself, the latter of which he does a lot. At first, I saw only beauty. I saw a person who can experience the fullness of life in ways that most of us can’t get close to doing. I saw a person in the moment. Fear set in. Fear of what others would think, and not even the man on his mobile, but of the people who might judge my son in the future, after I’m gone. Now, isn’t that really messed up? The beauty I saw was in my heart, but my mind took over and the experience surely didn’t feel good.

    Thanks for the ear, and as always, your very good posts! Will check out your links.

    Peace and Blessings,
    Michelle.

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    1. Thank you for sharing those thoughts of yours. I’m going to reflect further on what you have written before saying any more but will say just this; your self-awareness is to be admired! Paul

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