I have collected these resources to help anyone learn to relax immediately as one of my building blocks for recovery.
1. Deep breath
This exercise can be done anywhere at any time. All you have to do is focus on your breathing for just one minute. Breath in and out slowly, holding your breath for a count of six as you inhale. Naturally your mind will try and wander, but just try to focus on the rise and fall of your breath and let thoughts go as they arise. Watch the breath as it enters your body and fills you with life, and then watch it leave effortlessly from your body as the energy dissipates into the universe.
2. When relaxed, practice this-
Being present—After you are relaxed, focus on your mind. What are you thinking? Your mind is used to controlling you so you have to teach it to be the servant and not the master. Sit quietly and allow your mind to follow you. Quietness is the opposite of chaos which is the state the mind prefers.
Allow your thoughts to just be. Judging them is senseless. Unless we act on our thoughts, they are like clouds in the sky. Let them drift as the clouds do. Don’t try to change your thoughts. But learn to be present to your thoughts. Look around you and label everything you see—slowly.
1. From Mind Deep by Marguerite Manteau-Rao
Labeling and Counting
Whenever my mind is in too much turmoil to easily settle, I rely on the following two techniques:
1. First is labeling:
It can be as simple as recognizing the arising of a thought disturbance. Or if the awareness is so inclined, it can get a bit more specific: worrying, obsessing, work, boredom, aversion, escaping . . . The labeling helps one take one step back from the content of the thought itself, into the larger awareness of mind activity.
2. Second, is counting:
Breath, steps, whatever the object of our attention, as long as it is repetitive, we can use counting as a way to keep our awareness on its intended object. I have learned to count from one to ten, starting over after number ten is reached. If the mind strays in the middle of the sequence, start over from one again. I try to keep it simple and natural. Letting each number fall wherever it wants within each breath, each step.
2. From beyond karma: “The Basics-9 excellent techniques for developing Awareness”:
Awareness feels like spaciousness.
Awareness is our basic state.
Awareness is innate, which means it is of its own, and does not need thoughts or beliefs or concepts to be. We may call it intuition or wisdom or clear-seeing or joy-peace-love or flow or consciousness or presence or Being.
To be effortless awareness, we have to see through our deep identification with thought and ego.
Observe thought – Be a passive witness of your mind. Observe, without judging or analyzing. Observe thoughts, emotions, and perceptions. Gaps will appear between thoughts, and thoughts will lose their compulsive momentum, and gaps of awareness will expand. These short gaps, repeated many times, is Awareness.
Be a gentle witness to the voice in your head—Watch the voice in the head. Watch it passively without judging it or analyzing it.
Observe emotions in the body—Emotions are the reflection of the mind in the body. When you feel an emotion, bring attention to its sensations in the body.
Direct attention in the inner body—Feel the body from within. Feel life. Start with your fingers—when you keep attention in your fingers, you will soon feel a tingling. This is the subtle energy which gives vibrant life to every part of the body. Feel it, don’t think about it. Bring attention to the body when interacting with others. When you listen to someone, listen with your entire body.
Meditate—If you’ve never meditated, just sit comfortably and quietly, shut our eyes, and watch for five minutes. Some excellent resources for meditation are ARO (free email course), Vipassana (donation retreat), Adyashanti’s book, True Meditation, and the ebook, Effortless Meditation.
Use your inner stop—STOP. Watch what is going on in the mind and the body. Quickly, passively, with a smile, scan your mind and body. Relax and fall back into Awareness, even if it is just for a second or two. Use your inner stop particularly when you are lost in thought, agitated or in an emotional interaction with someone.
Breathe—Here’s a technique from my friend Wendy which is as excellent as it is simple: “ …I…lay down and breathe into every feeling, thought or memory that I am present to in that moment and as I do so, my breath becomes cyclic and full, (the in breath connected to the out breath, out breath connected to the in breath, breathing in the mouth and out of the mouth, (NO BLOWING OF THE BREATH), I continue to embrace all of what comes up (no matter on what level of my being it is coming from) with every breath (regardless of the ego’s objections), whether it be numbness, sadness, anger, frustration, confusion, softness, peace or anything else (You may experience the same feeling coming and going).
There are no distinctions, just embrace what is with every breath till a natural release occurs and a return to a blissful state is yours. Sometimes this can take 30 minutes or so, but other times up to 2 hours. The body may shake, quiver, become restless, very hot or cold, you may become very emotional and cry, feel like you have hit a brick wall or it has hit you, you may feel like you want to bellow. (Make sure all the windows and doors are closed not to scare anyone that may be around.) If you decide to do this process, remember to keep going to you feel the release. You may feel very exhausted after this process, so just sleep when it’s complete.”
Be present—“Be present as the watcher of your mind — of your thoughts and emotions as well as your reactions in various situations. Be at least as interested in your reactions as in the situation or person that causes you to react. Notice also how often your attention is in the past or future.
Don’t judge or analyze what you observe. Watch the thought, feel the emotion, observe the reaction. Don’t make a personal problem out of them. You will then feel something more powerful than any of those things that you observe: the still, observing presence itself behind the content of your mind, the silent watcher.” –Eckhart Tolle
Light up your chakras—Visualize bright light emanating from the base of the spine, and moving up rapidly along the spine all the way up and out the crown of the head. Visualize the light getting brighter and brighter till it lights up the whole body and through the body to emanate out and light up the universe. Straighten up and smile. Try it right now.