Time To Relax
The tense lady said,
“I have no time to relax.” She was thinking in terms of lying down for
half an hour to listen to a relaxation tape. She had things to do,
crises to try to resolve. She had no half an hour to spare in her day.
Her comment brought to mind Mahatma Gandhi, who once said, "I have so
much to accomplish today, I will have to meditate two hours instead of
one." The time spent in meditation, for Gandhi, was not a deduction
from the amount of time he had available to do things. It was an
investment in clarity and calm that would allow him to maximize his
effectiveness. It was a sly comment, no doubt spoken for effect. With
it, Gandhi bypassed the logic of a statement that one is too busy to
We busy people
are probably too busy to exercise too. Who can take an hour and a half
out of their day to exercise as some experts recommend? Fortunately,
recent health research found that all the little bits of exercise that
one might accumulate during the day contribute to fitness. A calorie
burned walking up stairs at odd times during the day is as good as a
calorie burned at the gym. (We are talking here about activity level
contributing to fitness. Aerobic fitness and strength building are
When it comes to
relaxation and meditative attention, we might take a similar view.
Throughout the day there will be opportunities for relaxation. They
might not come in long spans of time, but if you are alert to them,
they will be there. Whenever you have to wait, you have a moment to
relax. Sitting at a red light, waiting for a bus, waiting in line at
the store, waiting for a web page to load, each is an opportunity to be
more mindful, to release tension, to let go of extraneous mental
activity, to breathe consciously. Whenever you can become aware of
impatience, you have an opportunity to practice mindfulness. Wherever
there are popular magazines lying about to help you pass your time, you
can find a place of repose.
There is always
time to relax, because relaxation is not the opposite of activity.
Ideally, when we act, we do it in a relaxed way. Movement can be quick
and powerful and still be relaxed. Pushing open a heavy door, we can
throw ourselves against it and wrestle it open, or we can use our
bodies in the manner of a Tai Chi practitioner in which the push is a
full-body, graceful and relaxed movement, but strong and infused with
power. With that relaxed, focused energy the door moves more easily.
life can be if we relinquish our addiction to tension and use our
opportunities to be relaxed, calm, and alert.