Sleep. It’s vital to our survival; to the healing of our bodies and our minds. For something so natural, so innate, it’s a shame to think that some of us have such trouble falling asleep.
Our minds seem to chatter on and on throughout the day, and they oftentimes can’t seem to stop, even when the time has come to rest our eyes. Our heads are filled with tasks and worries, and this never-ending chatter interferes with what could be the most peaceful time of our day.
The final chapter of Thich Nhat Hanh’s Making Space teaches us how to practice deep relaxation. It’s quite a simple technique, and it can actually be done at any time of day or night – whether alone or in a group. All it requires is focus.
The idea is to practice deep, full breaths as we move our attention throughout our body, smiling at each different part, and thanking it for all it does for us. We oftentimes take these different parts of our body for granted, not realizing that we often mistreat them with the unnecessary toxins we expose them to, whether physical or energetic. And even still, these body parts continue to do everything they can to allow us to stay alive. Let’s thank them for that.
Nhat Hanh suggests to first think about our eyes, and to smile to them. “Still having healthy eyes is a condition for happiness,” he says. “Allow your eyes to relax. Let go of the tension in all the tiny muscles around your eyes. Send love and gratitude to your eyes.”
He then gives us the following phrases to say silently to ourselves:
We can then move our attention to our mouths, our ears, our hearts, our lungs, our feet, repeating the same phrase with each new body part. As each moment passes, we will find ourselves feeling lighter, freer, calmer.
Practicing deep relaxation every day is vital to living the life we deserve to live – one that’s calm, joyful, healthy, and filled with ease and love.
This book has been such a wonderful guide to infusing meditation practices into everyday life. For me, I think the most powerful takeaway has been self-awareness. I’ve become much more aware of my personal tendencies to escape from the present moment, and flee to a place filled with worry and fear. And now, when I catch myself in such a state, I can easily come back to a lesson I’ve learned from this book – stopping… breathing… inviting the bell – and come home to myself, right where I belong.
Thank you all for following along with these posts each week, and a gigantic thank you to the great Thich Nhat Hanh for making his profound wisdom so readily available to us within this book.
+ For those of you who’ve been following along, what has been your greatest takeaway from this book?
This post is a part of our Book Club series, featuring Making Space: Creating a Home Meditation Practice by Thich Nhat Hanh.