Monday, October 4, 2010


The first thing I do when I awake is relax. That sounds odd, but sleeping is not a passive activity. The body's most intense work happens in the early morning hours, as it is replacing worn out proteins. Dreaming is actually pretty demanding and serves to clean the slate (as well as give us insights into the hopes and struggles of the soul). The intensity and clarity of dreams tend to increase until just before waking. You will even notice that your muscles are tight - almost as if you had actually worked to act out your dreams. Do yourself a favor. Begin relaxing into the day as you become fully awake and keep that approach throughout the day. It is the opposite of what you will tend to do, so this will take some conscious effort.

Throughout the day, various stressors come my way. The temptation is to tense up with each one until by late afternoon I am exhausted. You can beat stress to the punch. These days the first thing I do when some problem arises is relax. In short, I fight the monsters of life by not taking them very seriously at all. As they come along I continue to breathe and watch them lose their strength. We usually give more energy to our problems than they give to us. That is one of our costliest illusions. There is almost nothing in daily reality that demands we become upset by anything. After all, symbols and actions only have the power we give them.

Watch your pet. From it you will learn that awareness is about being relaxed enough to see what needs to be done. Mouse in the corner? Go get it with all of your strength and then relax, but most of all be relaxed enough to begin with to be able to notice the sneaky little varmint. Therein lies an animal wisdom lesson. Pets play a lot too. To this day, I still maintain that a Basset Hound has but one question in his head: "How can I possibly be more relaxed?"

Do not confuse relaxed awareness with laziness or passivity. It is quite the opposite. It is the deliberate choice to fight confusion with peace, stillness, and a calm resolve. A clear head knows what to do. A cool head knows the style that accompanies it. You win by not being upset. Most problems are seldom fully solved, but they can all be transcended. "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give you as the world gives. Do not be troubled and do not be afraid." (Jesus of Nazareth, NIV)

Spiritual peace is being still in life's storms. Doing that means ignoring or rising above your own body's habits of response. This takes practice. You get better at it. Life becomes more enjoyable. Your eyes lift to the sky to see sunrays through the gathering clouds. Relax, the storm is coming.

Dale Andrews

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