• July 9, 2017

    Have you experienced second wind phenomena? You are running. The running requires effort; it’s a bit of a struggle. You think about how happy you will be to get to the end and stop. You may imagine a cool drink or flopping down on the ground, task completed. This is such drudgery….and my side is beginning to hurt…but you continue.

    And then, the unexpected happens. Running is suddenly effortless, a pleasure. You feel that you could run all day. The pain fades away. You enter into the running, no longer separate from it as something you are analyzing, you are runner and running, one movement. This is the second wind of running.

    All spiritual practices have the possibility of second wind phenomena, when the practice becomes effortless and real. Perhaps the most important is relaxing the body. I am always asking you to relax the muscular tensions of the body, the tensions that are not required to sit up straight. Unless you are very practiced, being able to immediately sense and release unnecessary contractions, you will obtain a limited response and then the tensions will snap back.

    Can you continue to attend to the body, noting the tensions and releasing them? If you do, you may find that you attain a certain momentum of relaxing. Releasing one tension exposes another which in turn is released. One tension supports another. Also, one release supports another. The process is incremental. Suddenly, the body relaxes more fully and continues in a state of ease, supported by an unintended shift to more rhythmic breathing and pulse.

    What are the secrets of second wind? First, knowing if I have resistance. Is there a part of me, a little voice in my head, a mental image, sensation or a physical impression, which prefers some activity other than relaxing? Often, resistance is simply the continuity of my previous state or engagement which wants to continue with its own momentum. I must deal with this first. Resistance can be recognized and released.

    Second, recognizing my impatience. My efforts to relax most often fail because I am impatient. I want the result, I want to get to the end, before I have really begun. I may try to reproduce the sensation of relaxing so I can move on to the next stage. Can I find the movement of impatience in me and release that?

    There is virtually no end to the process of relaxing. You may find that the deepest meditative states are simply more perfect relaxation.

    There is also second wind of attention and second wind of presence. We may discuss those at our next meeting.

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