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The Relaxation Response


I think it is safe to say that we live in a relatively fast-paced world. As comedian Brian Regan points out, there are instructions on how to microwave your pop tarts (if you don’t have the time to put them in the toaster oven)! Jokes aside, the impact of our rapidly changing environment on our minds, emotions, and bodies is real. Without noticing, we have become a culture that is plagued with anxiety, attention deficiency, and hyper-tension. Simply, we are stressed.

Understanding that our culture is probably not going to regress to the technologies and pace of the stone-age, how can we cope with, and even thrive in this rapidly changing, frenzied society?

We have to take a step out of it and re-charge. It is similar to a NASCAR race. The cars are zipping around, revving their engines, and going as fast as they can. However, without the pit-stops, they cannot complete the race. They will run out of gas, burn through their tires, or even spontaneously burst in flames. This is not the result that we are looking for.

So, how do we get pit stops in our lives? We need to create them and they need to be rejuvenating, or, effective. Many people have objections to being lazy or “wasting time.” As comedian/actor Jerry Seinfeld (who has practiced Transcendental Meditation for forty years) points out, it isn’t about time management, but about energy management. While creating his Seinfeld series, he would spend twenty minutes while others took their lunch break, and would meditate to “re-charge his batteries.” He said that he could not conceive accomplishing what he did without the much needed benefit of meditation.