One of the things about the cultivation of the Internal arts is that chi doesn’t like to move through tension. Practitioners throughout the ages have had to deal with body/minds, like our own, that are rife with the tensions of living life. Everything from mental tensions to physical tensions the Body/mind seems to collect them. At times it seems that tension encourages more and more tension it becomes so much a part of a person they may even think; my face just naturally frowns, my shoulders are always up around my ears, I always yell at people when I drive. Look at your life and you will see the examples not only in yourself, but in everyone around you. As a matter of fact, it is so unusual to see someone who is naturally relaxed, that they both draw other people to them, and as well annoy those people who are are invested in their own tenseness. I am sure it has been a human condition for thousands of years.
If there is one thing (actually there are many) similar between all of the great yogic traditions of the world, as well as mystic traditions of the world, it is that relaxing and feeling a sense of peace and well being is Very important! People function at their highest, with all of their higher ideals, all of human kindness, and all of their creative faculties when they are relaxed and at peace. So at the base of all of the internal arts that I practice and have learned over the years, is the daily reminder of thoughts and exercises that help bring about relaxation and a sense of peace.
Today I addressed it head on, with sequence from a very old routine, old when written records first appeared in China over 4700 years ago. A chunk called the relax, sink and extend routine. A small piece from a larger routine from Ching Shen Nui Gung a complex, subtle and comprehensive Art who’s primary goal is to protect essential human nature. So indeed this is a very old human problem.
The Idea of relaxing your entire body/mind, was to protect part of your essential human nature. They were not speaking of the laying on the couch watching TV. with Cheeto crumbs on your belly, while drinking a beer, kind of relaxation. They were addressing a full body/mind kind of relaxation that occurs in stillness and in movement. So if you are wondering how to begin altering your life so that it becomes happier,healthier, and more funny. The best place to start is with relaxation. Relaxing your body to a perfect state of strung, like a guitar perfectly tuned. This takes more time and effort than one might think!
By the way, if you are wanting some great meditative sounds while you are practicing relaxation and meditation I highly recommend any of the recordings by Gordon Hempton. Very few people have dedicated their lives to protecting natural silence as he has, ( http://onesquareinch.org) and the care and quality of his recordings are truly wonderful.