A mandala painted on the ceiling of the gompa at Tushita Meditation Centre

Relax, Release, Return

Earlier this week we attended a short workshop at Tushita Meditation Centre. Cultivating Mindfulness and Emotional Balance with Glen Svenson was a three day event designed to  help students develop their meditation practice and understand how to apply it to daily life.

When you focus on something does your body tense? Do you find that concentrated attention leads to a rigid, tight posture? Do you frown, hold your breath or stick your tongue out when you’re really alert to a task?

If the answer is yes (for 9/10 cats this is the case), then this learning is for you.

That sustained tension over time is a disaster. It will wear you out, run you down and leave you feeling tired, stressed and unhappy.

Here’s a simple way out of it:

First, relax. Relax your attention, come away from the object and let out a deep exhale. And again. Breathe right out. Feels better already, right?

Second, release. Release the tension in your body. The exhale helped relax and release but make a conscious check of your entire body, see that you are free from agitation, stiffness or tension. Stay loose.

Third, return. Return to the task with an alert but comfortable posture and breathe deeply. Spine straight, sit bones balanced and grounded, equal weight in each (i’f you’re reading this at a desk – this means sitting properly in that chair, leaning slightly forward with a straight back). Head balanced perfectly in top of your shoulders with a strong, supple neck. Breathe a few deep belly breaths and let them right out.

You’re ready to commence with your task in alert, relaxed, attention. Be sure to check in every hour (ideally take a break and walk a little to stretch your legs), come back to the task with alert relaxed attention.

Relax, release, return.