Invitation to calm the body and mind; receiving whatever sensations, thoughts, and feelings are present; acceptance.
When we are with others, often the Pause catches us in habit-driven thoughts or emotional reactions. Met with Relax, with acceptance, the habit patterns can be interrupted. Thoughts and urges can be known and considered, rather than acted upon reflexively irrespective of their consequences.
The first layer of Relax invites a release of any tension in the body and mind that we are able to release of our own volition. Common places where tension can be found and released include the eyes, jaw, shoulders, and belly. Examples of tension in the mind include excitement, agitation, reactivity, and clinging to ideas or emotions, along with the activity and forward momentum that comes from living a busy life. We bring mindfulness to those parts of the body where we notice there is tension and, where possible, allow the tension to relax by inviting the body to let go, to not fight or resist, but rather to soften, to yield. We also invite a quieting, a stilling of the heart-mind.
Often tension in the body-mind cannot be fully released. Therefore, the second layer of Relax is to accept—to receive whatever sensations, emotions or thoughts are present, allowing things to be as they are, even if they are not pleasant.
When there is tension, there is discomfort, which can make us less willing to stay in contact with experience, even more so if that experience is unpleasant in any way. The invitation to Relax and accept, can, therefore, increase the capacity to know and dwell with things as they are. Relax sustains mindfulness.