For those of us presently in a stressful environment, I would like to review some of RTC’s methods for controlling our reaction to stress. Unfortunately, from time to time most people are confronted with unavoidable stress. Our body’s nervous system has very efficient systems in place for self-preservation. Our survival was predicated on these very old ingrained automatic responses to perceived danger. Nevertheless, stress takes its toll, which includes many physical and emotional consequences.
Our consciousness controls our mind, which in turn controls our body. You can take steps to reduce stress’s effects by enhancing your consciousness’s control of your mind. You will be healthier, as well as be able to think and react more calmly and clearly in times of stress. We will use abdominal breathing with guided imagery as the medium to enhance this consciousness-mind link.
We must revert to breathing the way we all did as infants. When we inhale, our belly should become fuller. Imagine water pouring into a basin. It fills from the bottom to the top. We should fill our lungs with air the same way, from the bottom to the top. This allows for using maximum lung volume of air and also initiates a natural relaxation response while exhaling.
The following exercise will graphically demonstrate abdominal breathing. Lie down flat, in bed or on the floor. Place a book on your stomach. Slowly inhale, and consciously try to make the book rise. You are distending your diaphragm, allowing your lungs to inflate. Exhale, and feel the book lower. Practice this exercise for several minutes. You now understand the concept of abdominal breathing, which we will use during the RTC meditation below.
The RTC relaxation meditative technique may be practiced anywhere, anytime. However, in order to gain mastery of this technique, begin by practicing in a quiet room for 5-10 minutes every day. After a few sessions, you will have the foundation and confidence to effectively do this in times of stress. Sit in a comfortable chair in a quiet room. Breathe in an abdominal breath, and as you exhale, slowly think in your mind, “relax, relax, relax.” Feel the stress leave your body as you exhale, imagine steam escaping from a boiling tea kettle. At the same time, a heightened awareness and a clarity of thought flows in, taking the place of the stress flowing out. Inhale. Feel the energy flow into your body. Exhale. Feel a sense of calm wash over your body, accompanied with heightened awareness. Internalize these feelings. With each breath you are evolving your brain, forming new neural networks. Practice this for 5-10 minutes once or twice a day. After a few days practicing in a controlled environment, start practicing it a few breaths at a time randomly. For example, do the meditation while in the shower, eating breakfast, going for a walk, driving to work, exercising, sitting at your desk, or at your computer. Whenever you are breathing (which I hope is all the time), you can practice. This simple technique will open the door to self-mastery. Be safe, and may we all experience peace.