Tension manifests in the physical, mental and emotional
Bear with me, I’m not being deliberately metaphysical. To justify that statement, I have prepared a little case study.
You’ve had a hard day at work and you’re getting ready for bed.
Argh, my back’s stiff and so are my shoulders.
Yup, so many hours at the desk slaving away with the mouse in one hand has stiffened you up, all that not moving around and you’ve got a back that’s stiff and shoulders that won’t roll. It’s the stuff that we’re all familiar with all that physical tension of locked and tight muscles.
You get into bed anyway, turn out the light..
And lie awake blinking at the ceiling. Your brain is whizzing
That presentation wasn’t up to scratch, you were pissed off with the boss when you put it together. It was sub-par and he’s not going to be happy. Oh, and there’s the shopping list you need to make. Do we need more milk? Doesn’t the lawn that needs mowing and little Alice needs new shoes, and Byron has to be taken to swimming lessons tomorrow. Must take a look at that really cool Taijiquan site. What was it called? Something-pedia?
The brain, is still clinging to all that, and it’s creating mental tension, constant chatter in the head is the mind’s way of manifesting that tension. It’s not going to be a physical sensation.
No matter, sooner or later you’ll get so tired that you’ll fall asleep right?
OH MY GOD! That presentation I sent to the boss!
You were bored, upset and feeling undervalued, so for a laugh you replaced every instance of “Gross Domestic Product” with the childish and inane word “flibbly”, meaning to change it back but you were stressed, and you forgot.
You can already see your boss baying for blood, his portly frame resonating like a lava lamp with his bellows.
You’re feeling stressed.
That’s emotional tension getting its hooks into you. That “AAARRGHH!” emotional response is the beginnings of this tension, and anyone who is a chronic worrier, will know that it can go on for extended periods of time.
So.. if I’ve convinced you that tension can manifest in three dimensions, it’s time to introduce the “infinity” bit.
The human body is in a constant state of flux
Your body is constantly changing, physically, mentally and emotionally. With all these changes happening, you’re constantly letting go of tension, and building tension in these three dimensions.
So whenever you peel off one layer of tension, another will always await you beneath, because there are other ways you have been storing tension, and when you let go that bit, there’s the tension underneath that layer and so on. There are an infinite number of layers.
There you go.. relaxation is like an infinite onion
What regular practice of taijiquan and standing mediation helps you do is constantly let go of tension in whichever dimension you’re building it up on. Think about it as a maintenance on your tension valves. As tension builds up in the physical realm, you relieve it, and then if emotional tension builds up, you can help let go of that too.
All you need to do is practice. You cannot really “try” to let go of tension you just have to let it go by itself, so Taijiquan and Standing Meditation works on letting go by distracting you so that you unconscious mind can let go of the tension and allow the rest of you to relax.