Many of us meditate to become relaxed. It is so common that we often substitute the word meditation for relaxation.
While I don’t discount that we often feel relaxed after meditation, we eventually realize that relaxation isn’t the point of meditation. In fact, the transposition of these terms is perhaps one of the greatest misunderstandings of meditation.
Meditation – true meditation – involves transcending both tension and relaxation. It is the realization that tension and relaxation exist in symbiotic relationship. Meditation pierces through the continuous game we play of pursuing relaxation and avoiding tension (or sometimes, vice versa).
Think about it – when are we most sensitive to tension? When we are in a relaxed state. When are we most likely to seek relaxation? When we are in a tense state. We play the back and forth game over and over in our lives, switching from one to the other, and back again.
At some point however we realize that both tension and relaxation are two sides of the same coin, constantly flipping from one to the other and back again. When we realize this, we stop chasing the other and rise out of the game – at least for that single moment, we’ve transcended.