Seven Ways to Relax Our Struggles

Seven Ways to Relax Our Struggles

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This article explores seven effective ways that can help us relax our struggles. We all struggle, get frustrated with ourselves, our lives, other people. We become disappointed, anxious, full of uncertainty. But why? What’s going on?

There are two helpful ways of looking at why we   struggle:

We struggle with our Mind Movies.

We have an image, a story, about how other people should act, how our lives should be, how we should be … and this image conflicts with how all of these things are. We might also resist changes in our lives, resist things not going our way, which are two other ways we don’t want things as they are.

Our Childish Mind wants its way and is attached to the Mind Movie, so we resist how things are. This attachment to what we want, and resistance to the way things are, causes the struggle.

We struggle with our feelings.  

We might feel frustration, anger, uncertainty, fear, confusion, guilt, tiredness and these are perfectly natural feelings. They are all forms of groundlessness we reflected on in one of our previous articles.

But we don’t want to feel this groundlessness, these difficult feelings, so we avoid them. We try to find solid ground, often through bad habits and distraction. This avoidance of groundlessness is what causes the struggle.

These are both ways of looking at the same thing:  we don’t like the actuality of what’s going on, and so we struggle with it. We are causing our struggle. The good news is that we can let go of the struggle, with practice, and relax into the nature of reality in front of us.

That might mean relaxing into the basic goodness of ourselves. It might mean relaxing into the basic goodness of every moment. It might mean relaxing into the basic goodness of others who aren’t behaving the way we think they should.

In the end, with practice, we might develop a trust in the goodness of each moment, which includes us and everyone else. This is the beauty of working with our struggles, rather than avoiding them. We can see deeper into reality and uncover the love that’s already there.

Related: Gradually Changing Your Life: 6 Days Challenge

Relaxing Our Struggles

We don’t like experiencing difficult feelings (anger, frustration, anxiety, fear, uncertainty) or groundlessness, so we try to avoid the feeling. We seek distractions, food, shopping, drugs, smoking, busyness.  Anything to find more familiar solid ground, and avoid the groundlessness.

This avoidance often leads to more struggles.  It makes things worse.  What if instead, we face the feelings?   Invite these feelings to tea. Welcome them, get to know them. This method will help us deal with everything in life, so it’s worth working on. But, it’s not easy. Let’s see how it works:

Seven Ways to Relax Our Struggles

Develop awareness. 

We often don’t even notice our difficult feelings, our groundlessness, because we’re caught up in them.   The first skill to develop is to recognize that you’re having feelings of uncertainty, self-doubt, frustration, etc. Just notice, and name it. That might be all you work on at first.

Set an intention. 

When you recognize a feeling, try pausing to set an intention for working with this feeling. For example: “I will stay with my groundlessness to be compassionate   with myself.” Or the intention might be compassion for another person.

Invite it to tea.

See the feeling, then welcome it. Despite your wanting to avoid it, stay with the feeling. Be gentle and compassionate with it, as you would with a friend.   Continue to stay with it for a while.

Use gentle curiosity. 

As you’re staying with the feeling, observe it gently, without attaching to it. Give it respectful attention, noticing where the physical sensation is in your body.   Explore it with gentleness. Observe how it feels, what the quality of the feeling is. Is it tightness in your chest, hollowness in your stomach, shooting pain in your heart, pulsing in your neck? Be curious, be gentle, explore.

Relax your struggles. 

Notice that there’s a tightness around the feeling in your body and your mind because you don’t want the feeling. Try to relax the part of your body where the feeling is —  just loosen up, open up, create a little space around it, like a wide-open expanse of field.  Now relax the tension in your mind, as it resists this feeling. Loosen your struggle, relax into what is. Stop struggling, and open up some space.

Look without ideals.

Look honestly at yourself and this feeling, at everything around you, without ideals, without the Mind Movie of how you’d like things to be. Look at the reality, not who you want to be or ought to be, but with compassion at who you are, how things are. Loosen any attachment to your story, to the Mind Movie, and just see what’s there.

Merge into the feeling.

As you loosen up your resistance to the feeling, relax into it, and bring your awareness fully into it as it is …  you can begin to merge into it. You become the sensation.  Only the sensation remains, no resistance to it or separation from it. The “me” who doesn’t want the difficult feeling, the groundlessness, is gone.   And so you’re free from pain and struggle.   You might not experience this right away.  

This is an important method, but we don’t learn it overnight.  We might succeed with small difficulties, and not so much with bigger ones.  We can grow this skill with repeated practice, so commit to practicing with whatever you face in your life, starting by just developing awareness of groundlessness and difficult feelings.

10 Ways How to Overcome Challenges Life Throws at You

  1. Make A Plan
  2. Know You’re Not Alone
  3. Ask for Help
  4. Feel Your Feelings
  5. Accept Support
  6. Help Others
  7. Think Big
  8. Positive Mindset
  9. Don’t Give Up
  10. Work Smart, Not Hard


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