In Christian theology again and again, for centuries it has been asked 'what do Angels do in heaven? ' This is an important question for people who are goal oriented... What do Angels do in heaven? Nothing is there to do! Somebody asked Meister Eckhart, "what do angels do in heaven?" He said "what type of a fool are you? Heaven is a place to celebrate. They don't do anything... They sing and they dance and they simply celebrate."
The 11th century mystic Tilopa says - "Do naught with the body but relax; shut firm the mouth and silent remain; empty your mind and think of naught"
So what does relaxation mean?
Relaxation is to be at home with yourself, at peace. How can you "trying" to relax, be at peace?
I was reading a book a few years ago. The title was "you must relax....!" I couldn't understand why this 'must' as the 'must' is 'against' relaxation? The moment we say 'must'.. then relaxation becomes an obsession. You have to... you must do this posture and lie down and suggest to your body from the toes to the head etc.. Why 'must'?
Relaxation comes only when there is no 'must' in your life!
There is no book that can help you to relax - unless you read your own inner being and then relaxation is not a must..relaxation is an absence..absence of 'pressure'.
It must not be misunderstood, you still take action…but it is a spontaneous and alert doing, a response. Action is an overflowing of energy. Action is in this moment. You "do" and you also remain relaxed.
In his latest book, 'The Journey Continues', the modern day Yogi Sri M's Guru says, "The key to clear thinking and problem solving, is an 'alert' but 'relaxed' mind. Concentration or focus is not tension. On the contrary, concentration is possible only when the mind is relaxed but attentive."
Similarly, setting goals in itself is not wrong. You can't run your business or lead your team without goals or targets. The point here is... How can you concentrate or be alert or go after your target with a sane mind, if you are all the time worried/unsettled about your goals?
So 'drop' more and more strenuous efforts from your mind, of trying to do this or that. Go after your goals with joy and ease..the results may be definitely better. It's like the time when we give up remembering a particular word because we have exhausted ourselves spending hours trying to remember it and the moment we let go of the search, the word suddenly pops up in our head out of nowhere...effortlessly.
So how do you 'drop' the effort?
It is possible that you may end up making 'dropping' itself an obsession. Then dropping becomes an effort and it may stress you out further.
This has happened to many monks and spiritualists: dropping has become their obsession now. They are continuously doing something to drop it - renouncing all work, engrossing oneself in just prayer, mediation, yoga, this and that. Watch carefully be observant... See how you start one activity to drop another...its an obsession.
Understanding is the only discipline. Understand or be observant and suddenly, in the middle of the activity, if you become aware, the tension will stop. And that stopping is what Mystic Tilopa says, "Do naught with body but relax".
Morning is the best time for this observation, though over a period of time it becomes a 24X7 habit.
Here are a few thoughts on what you can do to have a wonderful start to an effective yet relaxing day...
1. To begin with, get up a little early so that you do not have to start the day with unavoidable demands from your loved ones or your mobile phone. Just try to get up at a time when you can have at least 15 mins of 'me' time.
2. Secondly, the foremost observation, the moment you get up in the morning, is to see what's going on in your mind. Just observe without making any plans for the day or judgements...and be with the thoughts
3. Try as much as you can to NOT pick up your phone, laptop, newspaper, a project or even a conversation with anyone. Don't even try to watch that spiritual channel on TV, it may be trying to convert you into something you are not or you could ever be :)...Just observe...Watch! Just be. Don't try to 'do' anything. Just listen to the morning sounds...the breeze, the birds...walk out into the nature if you can...absorb the morning and feel your thoughts.
4. Lastly, periodically 3-4 times a day or whenever you can remember, get your attention to your breath and take a couple of deep breaths with a smile...and observe if again you are stressing yourself out with a 'must' in your head. This will certainly calm your nerves and give you a fresh perspective.
So to me there are two types of persons: the goal seekers and the celebrators. Already there is too much... You are breathing and you are alive and you have consciousness...there are flowers and birds... the sun is there...celebrate it. Then suddenly you relax, then there is no tension, there is no anguish. Then the whole energy you carry becomes gratitude...a prayer. Then, meditation or yoga will be more relaxing. Then service to mankind will be an overflow of love...an offering. Then leadership will not be stressful...it will be an act of learning, growth, service, joy and more.
Life is great just the way it is. Celebrate it! Only then we can really create wonders and give everything our best. Only then we can engage ourselves in meaningful work, which gives great results and makes us 'happy' too.
Success & Joy
Other Article: A little while ago I had made a solo journey into the Himalayas to understand why these monks and swamis wander there for peace and enlightenment. Here's another article on my learnings - 8 Lessons from my 8 Day Solo Journey to the Himalayas!
About the Author (Ashwini Sharma)
Driven by his interest to support people from all walks of life achieve greater success, clarity and purpose, Ashwini made a conscious decision to give up an exciting corporate career to venture into an initiative called A Brighter Life, which supports people's personal and professional growth by helping them tap into their true potential.
He is a Management Graduate, a Certified Executive Coach from Marshall Goldsmith, USA, Life Coach, Facilitator and a speaker. Ashwini is a Kriya Yogi, which is an ancient science of Self Mastery by Paramhansa Yogananda - Autobiography of a Yogi fame. He is also a Certified Inner-Child Therapist (Dr. Lucia Capacchione's process) & a Family Constellator (Psychologist, Bert Hellinger's process)
Ashwini integrates Marshall's 'effective and proven Coaching Methodology' with his own, years of pursuits in Self Mastery & corporate experience.
Prior to venturing into A-Brighter-Life, Ashwini was the Founding Member, COO & Business Head of HomeShop18, India's first 24 hour TV and digital commerce platform. Ashwini was also a part of the founding team and Business Head of The Jewellery Channel, London, UK - a live virtual retail platform for precious jewellery. Both HomeShop18, India and The Jewellery Channel, UK are now market leaders and multimillion dollar companies. Ashwini started his career with Coca-Cola India and worked there for nearly a decade in various sales, marketing and business roles.