From the Beginning
A few months ago, I posted part one of the Guided Meditations for Beginners series to the blog and to our YouTube channel. This technique involved tensing and relaxing each muscle in the body sequentially from top to bottom to generate a full relaxation. If you have not yet seen this previous post, please watch the video first before moving on to this second practice. You can find the video here.
The Influence of Focus
Now that we have seen that we are able to physically trigger a full body relaxation by tensing and relaxing our muscles, we can now begin to explore the powerful influence of the mind by generating this same state without the need of physical interaction. As I’m sure most people are aware, despite the mind being a non-physical entity, it can certainly have great effect on the physical body depending on how it is focused and what state it is tuned to. We can see this through the experience of anxiety, something I personally have been living with for years. When our mind begins to focus on a negative physical symptom, perhaps even something as minor as a slight headache, over a short period of time this symptom will get stronger in intensity.
There is no physical cause of this, in the sense that something within the body is causing this escalation, but the extensive concentration and worry we put to it creates the physical reaction. In other words, our thoughts greatly influence how our body behaves. Or at least our thoughts greatly influence the way we perceive our body behaves. Things do get quite a bit more deep and complicated regarding the nature of perception, but ultimately we can see that our mind can effect the way we feel.
So this second technique is another simple relaxation process, however this time we will utilise the mind’s capabilities and use this to generate the full body relaxation. We will begin by focusing on the breath to help create a certain level of mind focus and clarity, and will then move on to simply noticing the sensations within each of the body parts from the previous technique. I will then prompt you to simply imagine this area beginning to relax, and if you are able to maintain focus you will find that your body will respond. Of course, this will take practice and you may not notice any effect straight away. Building your mind’s capabilities is like building a muscle with exercise, so you must give it time and consistent repetition before this skill fully develops.