Relaxation is the foundation of meditation. It is the absence of body mind tension. Meditation is a receptive clear mind. It is the absence of all conditioning: social, cultural, and religious.
Tension and a conditioned mind have taken us away from our natural relaxed body and a clear mind; a mind that can see straight. So we must practice relaxation and meditation formally to remove body mind tension and the mental conditioning.
Relaxation Meditation Techniques
Relaxation techniques – These include progressive muscular relaxation, mental imagery, touch therapies like massage, polarity therapy and reiki. The sauna, stretches and movement also reduce body mind tension.
Depending on how in touch you are with your body, you may hear the body speaking. You might be completely deaf to your body’s messages as you go about your daily activities. Ever notice how when you have an opportunity to become quiet, oh my, suddenly you become aware of the tense shoulder, or the tight calf?
Meditation techniques – Two broad categories are outlined in Managing Stress by Brian Luke Seaward:
(1) Concentration or Exclusive
Thoughts focus inwards using mental repetition, visual concentration, repeated sounds, physical repetition, and tactile repetition. Eyes often closed.
In detached observation, the conscious mind accepts whatever arises from the unconscious mind. One important point is that this must be done without judgment or analysis. This meditation is also called access meditation, insightful meditation and mindfulness. Eyes are usually open.
Relaxation – When you practice relaxation, the parasympathetic nervous system responsible for rest and recuperation is strengthened. Rest after work reduces stress and fosters health. Rest is not sleep. Relaxation reduces muscular tension and relaxes the conscious mind.
Meditation – Mind training increases stability in the constantly moving mind. The witness within comes alive, creating some distance between any potential volcanic activity of fears and desires. Natural qualities of joy and openness are experienced more and more. A meditation practice offers an opportunity to reduce incorrect perceptions of threat. Our world becomes safer.
Both relaxation and meditation reduce the impact of stress. While relaxation addresses the physical body and conscious mind, meditation transforms the content of the subconscious mind and reduces the frequency and intensity of stressors. Meditation brings fearlessness, as well as a greater sense of connectedness with our inner and outer world.
Practice relaxation meditation techniques to get back to the real you and a greater sense of well being.
Source by Heather Greaves