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Relaxation - Living in the present moment


By Rishi Dharmachandra (Gandhar Mandlik ) - Rishi Dharmachandra is a course coordinator at Yoga Vidya Gurukul, he is teaching and practicing yoga for the last 12 years. He was initiated in to Rishi Sannayasa by his Guru Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati.

Relaxation - Living in the present moment

Last month some events made me very angry and I felt that the situation was extreme and unfriendly to me. But later when I was relaxed and my heart beats were back to normal, when my mind could handle peaceful and compassionate thoughts, a new thought came to me. The thought was ?how the same angry mind, is now having opposite thoughts of relaxation and peace, when nothing except time has changed.?

The answer was in the process of relaxation which took place after that stressful event. This took place naturally, without any efforts. Later I felt that if I could avoid becoming angry and remain relaxed, I could have avoided all that negative experience which was disturbing. This negative experience is still powerful as when I remember that experience, I feel stressed. We all encounter similar negative experiences in our day to day life.

Our body-mind complex has these two opposites, stress and relaxation. Stress is energy consuming and relaxation is re-energising. Yoga and ancient techniques keep telling us to relax; maybe to help us conserve the energy for better utilization and progress as a human being.

In Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna tells King Arjun the Science of Yoga on the battleground. The situation with King Arjun is very difficult, he is fighting for his rights and rights of his people but the enemy he is facing, is his relatives and beloved teachers. This war will result in many deaths, so King Arjun is stressed, sad and in pain. He wants to escape the war and is ready to leave his rights. But Lord Krishna tells him the Science of Yoga. The science of Yoga is to reach the balance of mind, thoughts, intellect, emotions which, is the aim of life. Lord Krishna maintains the focus on the state of mind independent of what is the outcome of any action. Lord Krishna advises that loss or gain, pain or pleasure, victory or failure should not affect the state of mind. This is the philosophy of relaxation as per Bhagavad Gita.

Many times, a question is raised why this great philosophy was told on the battlefield / warfront instead of in a peaceful place like a yoga ashram. When the surrounds are peaceful, it is easy to be peaceful, calm and relaxed. But the daily life is not like that, in fact for survival everyone has to struggle and there is always negativity in struggle. One cannot escape this stress and pain in life. But one can learn to have this relaxed state unaffected by stress and pain.

Even when we achieve this peaceful state for some time, the next moment or situation is different and the stress is again there. The relaxed and peaceful state of mind in every moment of life is very important. The awareness of the present moment, independent of past and future, is the subject of discussion in Bhagavad Gita which is the key to relaxation. Our experience of a moment is always affected by negativity of the past events and experiences and is overshadowed by worries and insecurities of the future. If a present moment is carrying a weight of so much of negative energy, how can we remain balanced and relaxed?

For a relaxed state of mind in any moment, it is important to accept the moment or situation, this acceptance is very important for further actions. Many times we refuse to accept what comes our way, and that stresses us, for example - a sudden loss of family member. It is difficult for us to accept this and this creates a lot of emotional stress. Lord Krishna tells Arjun to accept what is coming his way, he maintains that very little is under our control in this world, so the best way is to accept the situation and try to find a solution to the problem, instead of thinking why this has happened to me? Even if the situation is because of my past mistakes, I should have the heart to accept whatever is there for me now.

Expectation is another important aspect which affects the actions at that moment. Last month I prepared for my university exams. While I was studying, the stress of it started affecting me, and it was based on the expectations I had from myself. I was expecting too much, which created stress. This stress also affected the performance in the actual exam, I forgot a few things that I knew and I could have presented better in my papers but I did not because of stress.

Many times we expect something from others and when others do not respond the way we expect, this creates stress and pain, the event that I mentioned relating to my anger last month was related to these similar expectations from other people. If I could have avoided any expectations, the angry and stressful state of mind could have been avoided. The reflection on this event surely made me aware of necessary control and management of emotions in the future.

So the relaxed and balanced state of mind is one of our most important achievements. The aim of Yoga is to maintain this relaxed body-mind state independent of past and future negatives. The action in the present moment should be the reflection of this relaxed and balanced state.

Rishi Dharmachandra (Gandhar Mandlik)