How do we move/act without stress?
At the core of stress free living is the understanding that true relaxation or truly being stress free is not simply going limp, or giving up. In Tai Chi we say "true relaxation" is balancing circumstance and reaction and/or movement and stillness. Physically this correlates to relaxation not being limp, this principle is the first thing you learn in Tai Chi and Yoga, a concept that similarly forms the foundation of all meditation practices. To truly relax and be without stress we must have principles in place to balance the situation. In other words these principles form a sort of "skeleton" to our practice. In martial, physical and psychological practices this framework is the cornerstone we use to accomplish skill. Regardless of the particular practice the ultimate goal is balanced action w/ relaxation. Structure is the foundation of this relaxation, a way to live alongside of stress while still accomplishing goals.
In this post we'll dive into some foundations we can all use to accomplish stress free productive life!
I've done a blog post similar to this one before... In Pillars of relaxation I covered the pillars I find essential to developing an ability to relax in general. In this post I want to expand on that foundation into practically using those pillars so they're not lost in pursuit of our goals. If you want to see the spiritual component behind these foundations I urge you to check out my earlier post on Tai Ji and Spirituality in that post I cover Wei Wu Wei which is essentially the deeper skeleton that these foundations function on.
Three foundations of stress free living!
Correct timing and strategy!
In short correct timing is moving when it's the right time to move. My teacher Dr Tony Zayner once described this as "Don't move until you are full to the brim with all that is needed... at that time one can swallow his cup and use the sustenance for the journey ahead" Correct timing in that context is based on one's preparedness and strength of will.
The second part of this foundation is strategy. Without the right strategy it doesn't matter how prepared you are or how strong your will is, therefore, correct timing must be joined with the correct strategy. We find the correct strategy by learning from those who have gone before us. Master Feeman Ong always said "When you drink a glass of water remember where it came from." This relates to strategizing as much as it does to reverence and acknowledgement. Fill your cup with what has worked for the highly successful few and only after you have practiced/drank it you can streamline and figure what works for you. Having the foundations of past successes and strong proven strategies gives you comfort and strength to trust in your actions.
Acting with trust!
Acting with trust builds on correct strategy, in that, it's easier to trust something proven to work by others. Another way to look at it is that it is far easier to implement something you trust as opposed to something you are unsure of or that you straight up don't have faith in. The other component to this is that ultimately we must trust in ourselves that we can actually accomplish similar results. A great quote to remember in this respect is, "If someone else can do it I can too!" and "If I can do it, it's easy." -Jim Rohn
Detachment from the outcome!
Acting in trust should be extended even to the expected achievements from your actions. Many people spend their entire lives striving for something. In striving for our goals many times we accumulate anxiety, pain, insecurities and various internal + external hardships. Along the travels of life, obstacles are inevitable, but hardship is a choice. It is a choice in that we can choose to listen, or choose to trust in the methods of life. This doesn't mean to discard our goals however it means to efficiently manage ourselves. We can't directly control all of our internal problems, but we can relax into trusting our actions and that we'll pull through. This is the use of correct strategy, timing and trust.
The most important take away is that our personal attachment is a hindrance to achieving the outcome we're striving for. T. Harve Ecker once said "You cannot grow to help the entire world while having a personal agenda."
This attachment to yourself is like wearing a weight vest alongside of ankle and wrist weights while doing everything. It may work, but all your actions will be very sluggish and you'll soon fall behind. Detaching ourselves from our ego is like dropping all the weights.
On the flip side attachment to the thing you're striving for can be an even greater hindrance, the reason being that the thing you're striving for doesn't exist yet... and more importantly will ONLY come as a result of the things you do TODAY! Attachment to your goals takes away the vision of today. Your vision and/or future goals are like a pair of binoculars that allow you to see your future accomplishments, when looking through these binoculars just as real binoculars you cannot see the things around you. This is why it is important to focus on what you can do today, and continue doing in subsequent days to get there. Just as weather predictions the predictions of what you can accomplish in the next hour will be far more accurate than those of the next month, year, etc.
Focus on doing the best you can, not on whether you can meet your own expectations.
"Don't let likes or dislikes get in and do you harm. Don't treat your spirit like an outsider. Don't wear out your energy, leaning on a tree and moaning, slumping at your desk and dozing. Heaven picked out a body for you don't use it to gibber about `black' and `white'!"
Daniel R. Hyde
Licensed Massage Therapist
OIF, OEF Veteran
U.S. Marine Corps
Tui Na, Chinese Massage
Shiatsu, Japanese Massage
Tai Chi Chuan
Kwan Ying Do Kung Fu