In 1983, the British band, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, released ‘Relax’. With its throbbing rhythm, slapping baseline and pulsating synth chords, relaxation is not something that readily springs to my mind….
However, as we are all undergoing differing anxiety and stress levels while the present pandemic sweeps across the globe, Charlotte has suggested that, as beginners Yoga for the Afflicted was a little strenuous for my decrepitudinal physique, we should perhaps start instead with Meditation Exercises.
I quite like the sound of this. Meditation is reputedly ‘…beneficial to lowering anxiety and stress, leaving you feeling at peace with yourself, your environment and the whole world…’ The practice ‘…trains you to achieve a mentally clear, emotionally calm and stable state…’.
In principle then, all I have to do is master the suggested exercises, for me to gain enlightenment to a blissful state of happiness and wellbeing. This sounds like it is right up my street! Where do I start?
Finding a quiet spot, away from the television, dog, small child, telephone, seagulls, neighbours music, Xbox Call of Duty and whatever else is currently impinging on my peripherals, proves to be the first of my ‘issues’ with this new-fangled art. Except the practice of Meditation is far from new, as Wikipedia informs me, it has been in existence since antiquity or, as in my parlance, ‘since time immemorial’.
Having retreated, far from the madding crowd, to the serenity of our bedroom, Charlotte and I adopt comfortable positions on the bed and prepare ourselves. I note here that Charlotte is sat sitting bolt upright, propped there, by an overstuffed pillow, while I am flat on my back, with a little blankie over my legs to keep me warm. Charlotte has researched a fifteen-minute session that we can listen to, commencing with ‘…the Hawaiian word for love, affection, peace, compassion and mercy, that is commonly used as a simple greeting but has a deeper cultural and spiritual significance to native Hawaiians, in which the term is used to define a force that holds together existence…’ – “Alo…ha”.
For the next few minutes, we are quietly and soothingly spoken to by our guide who repeatedly instructs us to “…compleeeeeetly reeeeeelaaaaax, compleeeeeetly reeeeeelaaaaax…” Just listening to this disembodied male voice, instructing us to relax, is unnervingly humourous. I am desperately attempting not to snigger, as Charlotte is taking this very seriously and I have no desire to incur her wrath if she were to deem me insensitive to such matters. So as I lay there, willing myself to be still (but shaking with uncontrollable mirth), I eventually realise that I need to concentrate that little bit harder if I am to, in any way near, achieve this state of bliss he keeps banging on about – “feel the bliss, feel it wash over you, compleeeeeetly reeeeeelaaaaax…”
So now with a modicum of self-control, listening to him whisper “letting go, letting go, letting go…”, I begin to relax and feel the tension drain from my prone form – that and the issue of flatulence! It is surely to be expected, is it not? Relaxation equals a lack of retention. In my case, wind! That starts me off again like a jellified blancmange as I wobble and vibrate at high intensity. Apparently though, finding your vibration is all part of this experience. I am well and truly finding mine!
I sneak a peek at Charlotte who is resplendently manifesting calm tranquility as she sits with quiet, sublime poise, while I bask in the blissful ambience of rotten, putrified, gaseous effluence.
He is now instructing us to imagine a colour cascading over us, pouring from our heads and covering us in its glow – mine is yellow – I feel like the Ready Brek kid!
As we are ‘taken under’ by a slow countdown from twenty, I resolve to take this Meditation seriously, but at the moment he clicks his fingers to announce our arrival at the lowest level of relaxation, my throat collapses. Ok, so I start snoring! I am awake though, so this must surely mean that basking in the ambience and glowing like I’ve scoffed porridge for breakfast, expelling noxious fumes and finally now snoring, I am truly, fully relaxed.
It is quite wonderful, so marvellous in fact, that I am finding it somewhat amusing. Enough to make me start laughing all over again! How long will this go on for? Oh, hang on, now he is counting backwards from five. Apparently, at ‘one’ I will open my eyes and feel refreshed and invigorated to carry on with my day.
One! We’re back in the room and back in the world. Being now in a state of blissful compleeeeeete reeeeeelaaaaaxation, glowing, vibrating and soothed from life’s anxiety and stress, I am very happy to successfully recommend these fifteen-minute Meditation sessions as being a very enjoyable, repeatable and worthwhile experience, that both Charlotte and I will continue to do. So with a happy, contented smile, I remove my comfort blankie and…
Carry on Regardless! Alo…ha!