What is Relaxation?

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Relaxation is the most sought after yet a rarely found thing. And the harder we try to relax the worse it gets. No matter what we do nothing seems to be working. All our efforts to relax seem to push relaxation farther and farther away from us in distance; and the more distant it is, the faster we run; and the faster we run to get it, the further it goes on slipping away from us. We try to procure every possible circumstance so that relaxation can flower but it never does. And unless we are relaxed, life is a burden. So heavy that we feel crushed. Then living is like plodding through muddy waters, not floating on a serene river.
What is relaxation? And why is it so hard to relax? It seems really very surprising that we cannot relax, we cannot just be. Broadly speaking, there are two kinds of people in the world: workaholics and idlers.
Workaholics are busy bees. They are always busy. They just can’t sit silently, quietly. They want always something to engage themselves in, always keep themselves busy somewhere. This is a kind of addiction.
Workaholicism is an addiction. But such people are revered in the society, they are highly respected. They become icons, role models and we are encouraged to follow them. But workaholicism is compulsive. People try to make a virtue of an addiction. It is no good. If you meet workaholics, they are tense, always strained, always fidgety. They can’t even sleep because obviously one who is busy all the day must be needing to do something even in the sleep also because sleep then for these workaholics is a waste of time. Eight precious hours to be lost in such an unproductive thing as sleep.
Now, the Idlers, the world is too full of them. They do nothing at all. To them everything is just a job and they want to just finish it anyhow. They cannot enjoy anything at all. And whenever there is a chance, they would like to escape. So everything for them, even their profession, their relationships, they are just jobs. Somehow they are fulfilling their responsibility. In a way, they are similar to workaholics and in a way, they are just the polar opposite of the workaholics.
Similarity between these two is that for both of them, work is a problem. Workaholics are obsessed with work. To them, it is a kind of addiction. And idlers are afraid of work. But in both cases, work is the root cause. Work is the trouble. One loves to work, the other hates work. But neither can detach himself from work. So, relaxation becomes impossible for both. Neither can relax because both are haunted by the idea of work and relaxation is doing nothing at all.
So, what is relaxation? Relaxation is between Workaholicism and idleism. It is the middle path. It is between hyperactivity and inactivity, it is samyak activity, right activity, balanced, neither too much, nor little, just as much as is needed. One is not obsessed with work neither is one lazy. One does as much work as is required and enjoys doing it. Whatever is entrusted to the person, he does it and he does it willingly, joyfully. That is the criterion. Relaxation can be attained only when one does something joyfully. Relaxation comes when one is able to get into work and out of it as smoothly as possible. Then one does not run away from work nor is one bound to it. This balanced approach alone can bless us with relaxation.
Relaxation has everything to do with here and now. In the present moment is relaxation. When one is away from the anxieties and fantasies of the past and of the future, one can relax. When one takes courage to be here, in the moment, one can relax. Our inability to be here and now is the root cause of whole anxiety. And one who is anxious can never relax.
A workaholic is someone who is away from the present although he appears to be very active in the now moment. But this very activity means his approach is futuristic. He is trying to reach somewhere. For example, just observe: one person is running and another is sitting, both are doing running and sitting in the present moment. But one who is running has an aim, he has a goal and he is running to reach there. So this runner can be likened to the workaholic. And what about the one who is sitting? He may appear to be relaxing but he may be simply an idler. So the runner is running into the future, trying to reach somewhere and the sitter is no better because he is not in the present moment either; he is simply asleep. He is lost. He is unconscious. And one who is unconscious cannot be in the now.
Remember, whenever, whatever we do promises us a future joy, something that may be a burden right now, but promises us that somewhere down the line, there will be joy. Then it becomes a mirage. Remember, whatever we do, if that action cannot give us joy in the present moment, it will never give us any joy in the future too. It is like if you are running in a direction which is wrong, so if the first step is wrong step, the hundredth step too would be a wrong step. It is not going to lead us anywhere because the path is wrong. And when the path is right, every step is a joy. Paradoxically, this too will lead you somewhere. That path is also going to take you somewhere in future. But remember, you are not in a hurry, you are enjoying it. Wherever you reach, you will enjoy. This is the very criterion. This is how we decide and this is what determines and ensures whether we live a relaxed life or not. I repeat anything that promises us a future joy is just a delusion and if we have chosen the right path, we will still be moving, contrary to the idler, we will still be moving but not running like a workaholic.
In nutshell, relaxation is between sitting and running. It is smoothly moving or rather we can say it is not moving, it is floating. Just allowing life to take us wherever it wants to. It appears to be something very insensible but it is the greatest thing one can do when one can allow life to take care of oneself, when one can allow the whole existence to function through him. One who is able to relax knows that one does not have to run because there is nowhere to reach. At the same time one does not give up work, does not become lazy, he simply lets go, he just floats.

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