Monday, March 7, 2011

Spirituality Simplified

It seems to me that all of spirituality can be summed up in one word: relax.

That's it. That's all the scripture you need. You don't need the Tao Te Ching, the Bible or Qu'ran, priests and sages, insense, candles, beads, techniques, or exercises. Or maybe at some point you do (I'm no expert), but at least not for starters. Just relax. That's it. All the words just get in the way. Make it seem like there's something to do.

There's nothing to do!

It may take some time, stilling the body, letting your mask of tense muscles in the face, the neck, and wherever open up again. It may take some practice, learning how to let your brain settle into those theta waves. But meditation seems to me the only (and here words fail me) "activity" that is founded not in practicing something, but in practicing nothing.

(You might say you are practicing attention, because obviously attention is key to meditation; but I think of it this way: Relaxing is like ceasing to stir up the waters of attention; the waves get smaller and finally stop, and the water remains, and now you can see deeper through its glassy, unroiled surface).

So just sit down an just really groove on the word, follow every implication. Get into it deeply. You can go a long way with this as your only practice.


  1. Since this followed your "Do Something" post, perhaps you should have called this
    "Don't Just Sit there, Do Nothing."

  2. Relaxing is a good, but like anything else, it's not an end-all be-all. There are many times in life when relaxing would be the worst thing possible (e.g., if a vehicle is hurtling toward you at great speed).

    For moi, the one word I tend to use is harmony (or balance).

  3. Good one, Baroness :D

    TRT, I said spirituality, not life. Perhaps I should have said meditation, but what I was getting at was any "inner alchemy" or practice. To me it seems to all amount to a way of relaxing deeply and completely (and not in the sense of going limp, but of having no unnecessary tension).

    I think it was clear enough I wasn't talking about not getting out of the way of a bus.

  4. But spirituality can't be separated from "life." How we view the cosmic part of the world or ourselves informs the things we believe in and how we act.

  5. But just because you're rooted in the cosmic doesn't mean you have to walk around like a fool, and get hit by a bus. There's obviously a difference.

  6. Let's say that someone believes that this life might be an illusion (they could be correct or not -- who knows?). So, seeing the bus hurtling toward them at a high rate of speed, they might decide a) the bus is an illusion and not try to get out of the way; b) everything is an illusion, including life and death, so they may or may not try to get out of the way; or c) maybe they instantly change their mind to decide that everything is real, so they make every effort possible to get out of the way or, if they want to die, they try to get hit.

    My point is that our spiritual beliefs impact on how we react to life, in general.

    As I wrote in my initial comment on this thread, I agree with you that the ability to relax generally is a good thing. Where I differ is that I don't think it is a blanket prescription.

  7. I have seen some martial artists who are extremely relaxed --but alert -- and could probably stop a hurtling bus because they are well prepared. To be very aware, you must be very relaxed, I think.