Meditation is a process by which we calm our mind, stop or reduce all thinking, and relax the body to the point where we lose direct awareness of it. The object is to subdue the active, conscious (thinking) mind, rendering it passive and non-active, while entering primarily into the state of the subconscious mind, which is normally the passive aspect of the mind in our waking state, and make it prominent and active instead. In order to enter into a true meditative state, we have to go through a full body relaxation process that utilizes and develops the conscious (thinking) minds ability to regulate the body as the subconscious mind.
Meditation is based on a state of mind that reduces brain waves to the alpha or theta state, which is the optimal state for learning and creativity. This is because the subconscious mind is a passive receptacle for knowledge received from the higher mind which is pure thought as seeded ideas. To relax the body is to regulate brain function and utilize different aspects of our being. By relaxing the body, we simultaneously regulate all of our physiological processes, and work to bring ourselves back into a balanced state, which can be maintained through consistent forms of meditation practiced on a regular basis until perfected and you can do it naturally and instantly. The relaxation process should be practiced repeatedly until it becomes so natural to you, that you can produce the whole body effect instantaneously at will.
To relax the body, follow these easy steps:
- Find a place where you won’t be disturbed or distracted for approximately 15 to 20 minutes (start slow, and build)
- Sit or lay in a position that when fully relaxed will support you.
- Wear loose clothes and remove anything that’s binding or tight.
- Get comfortable by adjusting your body and forming a “closed circuit” by placing your hands on your thighs, or if laying down, across your heart or just below your belly button, and make sure your feet are also touching (keeps the energy circulating in your body.
- Make sure your spine is straight.
- Once comfortable, close your eyes (block out distractions), and turn all of your attention inward, forming only an awareness of what your feeling inside.
- Focus on your breathing, and take a couple of slow deep breaths, focusing on the sensation caused by the expanding and contracting, rising and falling of your chest. Then settle into a normal and rhythmic breathing.
- Set the intention to relax your body.
- Starting with your feet, place your attention on the sensations in your feet (both), then say to them “relax”, and feel your feet relaxing, then say to yourself “my feet are relaxed”. Don’t move on to other parts until your feet are relaxed.
- Then, move up to your ankles or calves, and repeat the same process – intend for them to relax, direct them to relax, and then create the experience of them relaxing, then confirm that they are relaxed. As they relax, withdraw all awareness from them.
- Then move up to the knees, the thighs, and systematically work through all parts of your body – hips, abdomen, lower back, chest, upper back and shoulders, arms, hands, up the back of your neck, scalp, jaw, face, and eyes.
- As you go, periodically scan your body for any rising tension, and relax it again, until you can maintain your whole body in a relaxed state without effort of having to think about it for several minutes.
- Allow yourself to notice how a relaxed body creates a calm, spacious feeling of inner peace, and enjoy being in this state for a brief time.
- Concentrate on the experience of being relaxed, so you can anchor the feeling in your body. By anchoring the relaxed state, and through regular practice, you’ll be able to instantly relax your whole body at will by simply intending it.
- Then, either stay in the meditative state for a while longer, enjoying it, or break state, and bring awareness back into your body, become alert, and become aware of your outer environment.
By mastering this technique, you can learn to regulate your body’s state willfully just by setting the intention, and keep your body in a relaxed state on a routine basis. You can also use this same technique to regulate your state-of-mind anytime you feel stressed, or are having a stressful reaction to something. Always keep in mind that the body and mind exist in a synchronized relationship, and that one can be used to regulate the other one. The mind synchronizes with the body through rhythmic breathing, heightened awareness around inner sensations, and by turning attention inward, closing off all outer stimulation. The body accepts direction from the conscious mind when it’s delivered through good intentions and stated in an authoritive fashion, and doesn’t threaten its sense of well-being in any way. The relationship between the mind and body, as the conscious and subconscious mind, is one of love, friends, or parental. The interaction is always of a loving nature for a common purpose of health, inner peace, and over-all well-being.
Dr. Linda Gadbois
Integrative Health Consultant and Spiritual Mentor