I recently came across Sariputta’s elaboration on the First Noble Truth, which starts like this:
Now what, friends, is the noble truth of stress? Birth is stressful, aging is stressful, death is stressful; sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair are stressful; association with the unbeloved is stressful; separation from the loved is stressful; not getting what is wanted is stressful. In short, the five clinging-aggregates are stressful.
And it struck me that stating it like that, with stress in place of dhukkha, creates an interesting confluence of meanings. In a way, searching for an ending to stress makes a lot of sense. A simple way to approach this is through relaxation. If we let go of all our striving, the pent up tensions that live in our mind, then any remaining stresses are things we should try to treat with meditation.
One by one these things should fall away when you expose them to insight and to truths such as impermanence and interconnectedness. You end up deeper and deeper in relaxation, with fewer and fewer stressors on your mind, with the ease of letting go creating a kind of meditative atmosphere.
It strikes me that I have been working on this for quite a few years, going back almost to when I first started learning Buddhism. Encounters with fears, with the three poisons, with different motivations, a lot of it comes back to stress and relaxation, just learning to relax at various levels.
Living is stressful, the Sufi say, 'Die before you die'.
However what do Buddhists r' Us offer?
If we meditate, it is a slightly stressed posture but a relaxation (letting go) in that duress/stress.
And I stress, meditation is our key relax and breath away, yogic practice ...
Relax, it is All Buddha Mind
I just did a nice group meditation on Facebook with Tara Brach and many others. It was a nice feeling. I usually think of meditation as letting go into space whereas she was saying notice awareness and the change and community were very peaceful and enjoyable to explore.
@Jeffrey I've been doing Tara's meditations on Insight Timer. I really find her guided meditations helpful
Led meditations are a great way in to silence. I too find Tara Brach an adept leader of helpful meditations.
I found it an interesting saying and so ran it through a search engine, you do get all sorts of responses, everything from the blogs of Sufi psychic mediums to books people have written to Rumi. The Sufi’s do have a certain something, but the only thing I have connected to strongly has been the poets.
“Total relaxation is meditation”
...is to take a breather from self obsession/self-absorption..