Many people meditate to improve their health. It is an excellent practice for that purpose. HOWEVER, one can derive much greater benefit if they are very relaxed in the process.

Wait a minute, aren’t I relaxed when I’m meditating? Are you, or are you working so much to stop your mind from racing that you are not even aware of whether or how much your body is relaxed. Furthermore, why must we sit in such an uncomfortable posture? As for me, a person who has a skinny butt, I’m awful sore when I sit cross-legged on the floor. It hurts and I’m not relaxed. Does it have to be this way?

I got fed up with the so called rules of meditation and I decided to figure it out for myself. I wanted to be healthier, with a lower level of stress hormones and blood pressure and I wanted to feel less anxious and more present. In essence, I wanted to be healthier and feel more relaxed and happy. Trying not to think, while uncomfortably seated cross-legged on the floor wasn’t getting me there.

Why not learn to deeply relax first? Wouldn’t it be easier to then learn to meditate after I was already very relaxed? That made a lot of sense to me. It also allowed me to learn a much faster and easier way to move into an extremely deep meditative state. In the process it became clear that the more profoundly relaxed I became, the deeper I was meditating. In fact, focusing on learning how to deeply relax is all one really needs to do, as meditation becomes so much easier and more pleasant after learning how to physically, emotionally and mentally relax and switch off the brain.

Really, isn’t that a goal of meditation? Turn off your brain and simply be what you truly are. Sit in stillness and allow what you seek to find you. While you’re waiting you may as well be relaxed. I’ve found that by relaxing to the point where my brain is essentially asleep I have entered that state. Why have we made this process more complicated than it needs to be? No matter, we needn’t maintain the myth that deep meditative states are any different than profound states of relaxation in which the brain has been rendered silent. Although it also is of great benefit if one’s spiritual self is also much more integrated with the physical body, a topic for another day.

In addition, when my body is as relaxed as when I’m asleep, my blood pressure is much lower, as are my stress hormone levels. I am not anxious and if I maintain awareness I can be as mentally present as I choose to be. In doing so I can realize what it feels like to be this relaxed and recreate this feeling state during my normal waking state. By learning deep meditation in this way I can insure that I have maximized the health benefits that so many of us seek when we begin to meditate.

Meditation, relaxation – they are just words. What are you attempting to accomplish?