Tag Archive | Relaxation

Still your waters

Every breath you take, every step you make, can be filled with peace, joy, and serenity. (Thich Nhat Hanh)

Still your waters. (Josh Waitzkin)


Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I still my waters? How do you go from stormy waters to still waters?”

“When your waters are stormy, that’s the best time to practice. That’s the ultimate stress test for whatever technique you’re using.

The best technique I’ve found involves breathing and a mantra.

Stilling your waters = Deep Breathing + Mantra

The mantra is key to the process. Its purpose is to slow down and distract your mind.

“What mantra?”

“The mantra can be one meaningful word that you say with each breath. (eg Love)

Or it can be two meaningful words, one on the inhalation, the other other on the exhalation. (eg Peace, Joy)

Or it can be multiple meaningful words, one with each breath. (eg your central values)

Play around, experiment. Do it every time you need to still your mind. The measure of success is how quickly you manage to do it.

This is the core of the practice. However you can add a few more little things to make it more powerful.

You can add a smile with each exhalation. This relaxes the muscles of the face which helps you relax.

You can make it a practice of Self-Love and Active Love.
Express Love to yourself and your beautiful BodyMind.
Bring to mind a person that is dear to you, or someone you’ve learned something from, and send them Love.

You can associate the practice with one of your Heroes, and bring them to mind whenever you practice.”

“Who did you associate the practice with?”

“Thich Nhat Hanh.

His teachings and way of being deeply resonate with me. Whenever I think of him, I bring to mind the title of one of his books, and smile:

Peace is every step.

Only I’ve added another line to it:

Peace is every step.
Peace is every breath.

On Self-Mastery

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What is Self-Mastery?”

“What does it make you think of?”

“It makes me think of Willpower and Self-Control.”

“We could say,

Self-Mastery is Discipline.

The capacity to do what needs to be done regardless of how you feel about it. (Positive Willpower)

The capacity to keep your impulses in check and delay gratification. (Negative Willpower)

Discipline is one essential aspect of it.

Now, think what happens when you’re facing a perceived threat in the environment.”

“Your sympathetic system kicks in, which shuts down your prefrontal cortex (cortical inhibition) and triggers the Fight-Flight-Freeze (FFF) mode.”

“To be able to function effectively in this situation requires the capacity to calm yourself down, relax, and regain control. 

Moreover, in the words of George Leonard,

Relaxation is essential for the full expression of power.

“Josh Waitkin has a similar one:

To turn it on, learn to turn it off.

“Same thing.

The better you can turn it off, the more powerfully you can turn in on.

So we could say, 

Self-Mastery is Relaxation Mastery.

This is another essential aspect of it.

And yet another essential aspect of it has to do with emotions.

Most of our failings are due to the incapacity to deal with emotional discomfort

Unpleasant feelings subtly shape the trajectory of your life. Certain things trigger unpleasant feelings, so you avoid them. What you avoid is not the things themselves – they’re neutral –, but dealing with those unpleasant feelings.

The outer obstacle is an illusion. The inner obstacle is all there is.

Your capacity to deal with unpleasant feelings narrows or expands your possibility-horizon.

We could say, 

Self-Mastery is Emotional Mastery.

“Reminds me of a quote by Karla McLaren from her book The Art of Empathy

When your emotional skills are poor, people won’t meet you. They will meet your emotional reactivity and your problems with whichever emotion has arisen.

“That’s my life story.

Only now that I’ve made Emotional Mastery the central focus of my life have I begun to understand it and get better at it. So many people never do.

I still have a very long way to go.”