Peter Urs Bender   Previous Page  |  Next Page

      It's not the spirituality of the relaxation gurus, or the spirituality of
meditation. I'm a great believer that to live you need to relax. But relaxing
can come in many different forms. You don't need to sit on a beach, watch
the waves, and feel the wind on your body. Or lie in a field under the stars.
You can do it within the confines of a hectic system. On a stressful busy day,
you can do some deep breathing. You can do it in your car rushing to an
appointment. In the elevator going to the big meeting, you can relax. Or on
the way walking from a demanding boardroom session to lunch.
      In fact, the Zen masters insist that the only way to relax is to do the
job you're doing. For instance, if you're driving the car, do driving. (Think
about all those individuals who try to "do" driving, "do" talking on the cell
phone, and "do" drinking coffee at the same time.) Are you focused? No.
You're distracted.
      The very act of focusing intently, doing jogging for instance, enables
you both to forget about your surroundings and to become more aware of
them. You are focusing on the task you are doing, whatever that task is. That
focus also includes everything around you that you need to assimilate to do
the task well.
      I often think we look at relaxing as something totally different from
what we do every day. By doing so, we lose the relaxation that comes from
focusing on the task at hand. Most think that to "relax" you must practice
yoga or work at a hobby. Or do something very different from what you
normally do. But you can only do yoga or a hobby for a fraction of your day
or week. What do you do the rest of the time?
      You have to sleep to live. The rain has to fall on the fields to make
them green. You have to relax to get stronger. Relaxation is a break for the
brain. But if you focus on one thing at a time you can work and relax at the
same time. You can relax into your work. By doing so you become stronger.
      So let's talk about the first aspect of spirituality called energy. You
can't really put a finger on it, because energy is. Think of a car battery.
When you're driving, the energy in that battery is kept topped up. There's
enough to run all your car systems, with some left over for emergencies.
When your car is parked, the energy is banked. But if you park too long, the
energy diminishes and eventually the battery becomes depleted. It's not an
exact analogy, but for our purposes it will serve.
      Being human means we never stop running. We can slow down or
speed up, but never "park", because if we do, quite simply, we die. The
closest we come to "parking" is to sleep, but unlike the car battery, when
we're idle in sleep we generate energy. Our inner battery is always on
"charge".



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