Shuba’s Weblog

Journeys of the soul…

relaxing into what is…

on May 27, 2009

My yoga teacher Sue once mentioned in class : ‘relaxation does not just happen automatically. it happens when you notice where you hold tension, and release’. wise words.

Somehow, we think of relaxation as a state, that is elusive in the real world. that relaxation is a bubble bath or a walk in the park with no cares. yes, relaxation is those things. but it is also possible to relax in the middle of the real life when things are happening, even stressful situations. As I am learning, this means checking in with the body periodically and releasing in those spaces which feel tight.

This journey started for me about a month and a half ago, when I came across these words in Buddha’s beautiful sutra on loving kindness and how to be : ‘…unburdened by duties..’. It made me ponder, what does it mean to be unburdened by duties ? does it mean not to have duties? or more likely does it mean, to have duties, and yet carry them out in a way that does not feel like a burden.

It is easy to feel burdensome when we carry out our responsibilities in the every day life. we do so much! and yet, we forget what it is to be unburdened by them. to stay connected to the underlying thread that we are alive. yes we have responsibilities, and that is because we are alive and we participate in this world.

I love these lines in Mary Oliver’s poem called ‘Invitation’ on goldfinches:
‘believe us, they say,
it is a serious thing

just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in this broken world.’

If we can remember this, we can be joyful with our duties. feel connected to what we do, by remembering why we do it. And this remembering comes with noticing where we are, our intentions and relaxing into it. as our body relaxes, our mind becomes more easeful. As we practice this moment-to-moment awareness, it starts getting easier to relax.

And sometimes, we do feel burdened. then we come back to the practice. we notice. and we ask why, with a compassionate heart. and most often than not, it may be that we are overwhelmed or tired. and we acknowledge and do what is necessary to feel as unburdened as we can.

As the goldfinches say, it is a serious thing to be alive. may we cherish being alive and having duties and being unburdened with them.

with love towards our duties, S

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4 responses to “relaxing into what is…

  1. gypsy says:

    i enjoyed reading this. your yoga teacher was so right about relaxation as releasing constricted muscles, and tension in the body. i’ve been in this process for year or two, and am still learning to release. it’s a beautiful thing for work on release and one day there’s no more tension in a particular area. i have discovered muscle tension in my eye area (i appears that i was squinting from the inside), ears (I’ve had a hearing impairment for about 15 years and have not given up knowing that the hearing will return 100% – and it has about 70% so far) and generally in the muscles in my head. i am finally able to release the eye muscles for long periods of time and am feeling a tremendous sense of accomplishment. the relaxation is improving my blood circulation and relieving ankle swelling that used to plague me in warmer temperatures.

    i also love the description on being “unburdened.” It reminds me of what it states in my favorite book, A Course In Miracles, which urges us to “do nothing” meaning to allow God to “do” through you. how unburdened a feeling that could be. i’m glad i found your site.

  2. gypsy says:

    oops, i meant it’s a beautiful thing “to” work on muscle release. However, I did fail to say the most important thing, and that is the method of releasing is breathing. I’ve been learning focused breathing for about 7 years and it is one of the most glorious processes that exists. of course, no breath – no life. learning new ways of breathing – more life! and what an awesome experience more life can bring!

    • shub50 says:

      Dear Gypsy,
      thank you for your beautiful words. the breath – it never ceases to amaze me, how simply focusing on the breath can bring so much joy and healing in one’s life. thank you for reminding me yet again of the power of breathing and being present!

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