A type of block that requires specific attention and which is common in almost all people, is muscular stiffening, namely, maintaining the muscles in a continuous state of tension. Such an attitude increases the blood flow in the muscles involved in this tension with a consequent increase of the volume of the muscle mass. This is an unconscious attitude that is a consequence of the need to get ourselves noticed by others. There is nothing wrong in the need to be noticed itself, but for long periods, this attitude becomes a habit, crystallizing consequences that become harmful to our balance, and our physical and psychic health.
Briefly, instead of being fluid, we become stuck, and this attitude reflects itself in our emotions, thoughts and views about all and everything. This is not needed in a work for inner development and it’s also non- productive for the primary aim: to get ourselves noticed by others.
In order to release these tensions and correct this attitude, what is foremost is the discipline of conscious relaxation which is a part of the practice of self observation, at least as has been taught to the author of this post and to those who follow the practical work under direct supervision in the groups to which the author belongs.
It’s a well-structured and deep work of constant personal verification of the condition in which we find ourselves. We can’t describe this process in a post because of its complexity and for the reason that a conscious relaxation in many fields differs from individual to individual, so what could be useful for me could be useless or even dangerous for you.
But, as always, there are some common points through which we could describe a practical approach even if this description is superficial and all but thorough.
Before describing the above mentioned practical approach, it would be useful to spend some words to explain briefly some aspects of the beginning practice of self- observation as practiced by our group. Every human being is composed of three main fields – a mental, an emotional and a physical. We’ll speak here about the physical field. The observation of the physical field implies three main aspects on which the practitioner should focus his attention: the maintaining of a correct physical posture, releasing of the unneccessary physical tensions and the seeking for kinesthetic aesthetics, therefore, an aestethic related with the movements.
Even if these three aspects of the practice are interconnected with each other, in this post we’ll limit ourselves to a brief and general description of one of these aspects of the physical observation: releasing the tensions.
As mentioned in previous posts, observation requires attention, and attention requires energy – more energy than we could imagine at a first glance. Attention puts us under “stress”. It is tiring and this can be testified to by everyone who has attempted similar practices.
In order to be attentive, we need energy, so we have to gain it. But before learning how to obtain more energy, we have to learn how not to lose the energy we still possess, and the three main reasons for energy dispersion are physical tensions, negative emotions and uncontrolled flow of thoughts.
As mentioned previously in this post, we’ll limit the argument to the physical tensions. Indeed, they belong to the coverage of physical attention, the first mean we use to develop a sober practice of self -observation, attention and presence.
We know through experience that most people do not notice how much physical tension they have during the length of a whole day; also, they are unaware of how much energy is spent through them.
So, the best gym to train ourselves to become attentive, to observe and, of course, in this case to release physical tensions, is every moment of our daily life.
Here’s an example of such a kind of attention:
I am sitting on the chair and writing this post. A shoulder…. no, now I notice both shoulders are slightly risen up (through maintaining the shoulders in this unnatural position, I spend too much energy). I detect the tension and try to relax the shoulders. After few minutes, the shoulders are again risen up, and this means that I have lost my attention and the postural habit is re-introduced. I relax the shoulders once more, but this time I have also a foot contracted, so I relax it. Now, I maintain my attention on the foot so that it would remain relaxed, but in the meantime, the left shoulder rises up. I swear against my lack of attention and try to establish an attentive balance between my shoulders and foot, but the effort is so high that the stomach became contracted. I release this tension and, once more, in the meantime, my posture is hunch-backed. Now I could renounce, to tell to all theories about being to go to hell and decide to live as I have lived up to now. If I’ am lucky enough and smart, I’ll renounce this mechanical reaction and persevere.
Learning to become relaxed is a fundamental skill in a work for self development and, of course, the art of relaxation can’t be limited only on our physical field, even if in this case we limit the argument on it. What must be said is that at the beginning, this seems to be a “mission impossible”, something that is far beyond our possibilities. And this is a natural thing, because this requires a huge amount of attention and mental effort. But, if we persevere, all our efforts will be remunerated.