For the last couple of weeks I’ve been experiencing some significant tightness in my shoulders. Although I’ve done my best to address this through introspection and self-reflection, it seems to persist. In fact, there seems to be this persistent very low grade body tension that I can detect in myself if I focus enough.
This seems to have manifested itself in my recent disposition from yesterday morning, as well as moments throughout the days of the last couple of weeks where the easy-going veneer has been peeling like cheap wallpaper in the heat of my smoldering tension. Yet I can’t seem to pinpoint it any better than the ownership of other people’s issues as I had discussed previously. Whatever personal insecurity is fanning this particular set of embers, it must be hidden below a thick and deep brush pile of the ego’s self defense mechanism.
So I’ve decided this may be a cue for me to reconnect with my regular meditation practice. The meditation has definitely been quite welcome and well needed, but the pervasive tension continues. During my meditative state the aches simply vanish will all other distractions, but when the music of life starts up again and the dance of daily living continues, the neural sidewalks along the streets of the neck and shoulders are littered with protestors picketing against some life condition I can’t seem to recognize, or at least acknowledge.
Perhaps I’m going about this whole thing backwards. If the mind and the body are truly synonymous, why do I always approach it from a position of having to deal with the mind first? What if it’s a case of the tail wagging the dog?
I decided the relaxation couldn’t wait for that one period of the day where I turn inward in stillness and silence. I took a mental scan of my body and found all sorts of little places where I was holding tension. My eyebrows, my lips, my cheekbones, my arms… even my breath. Especially my breath. I simply allowed these areas to release. I asked them to release.
It was an interesting study indeed, because oddly enough, relaxation took a lot of effort. It took constant focus and reminding to mentally check for tense areas that seemed to spring right back to their taut state like a soldier called to attention once mine was otherwise distracted. More so it was a wonderful reminder that being calm, focused, and centered by staying in the moment, being present, and claiming the space is not merely reserved for that 20 minute session of silent meditation. It may even be more valuable to take those moments to be completely aware of body, mind, and self in the most distracting of environments.
The irony of having to work harder at relaxing…