E. O. Hoppe, "Close-up of woman's graceful hands" 1925 from The Life Photo Archive)
E. O. Hoppe, Close-up of woman’s graceful hands, 1925 from The Life Photo Archive)

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”Rumi

I have been intrigued by the question of relaxation recently. The idea of it seems so simple, and yet it is so extraordinarily difficult. If I make a demand on myself to “just relax,” the body reacts by creating more tensions. I seem to have a similar characteristic to that of the onion, that is, I contain layers upon layers which appear in me as tensions. Can I observe them in this moment and accept that this is how I am, that this is the reality of the situation? All this “I”, “Me,” and “Mine” is quite a burden to carry around. How do I empty the vessel of all this unnecessary weight?





Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

April 1, 2010 at 8:39 pm

Nice quote. 😉

And it’s really fitting here. For me, relaxation only comes after I, as Rumi says, have taken down the barriers of tension and resistance I’ve put up against it. Resistance/tension is only there when we’re not aware of it. Once I’m aware of it, I can begin to let it go, breathe it out along with the carbon dioxide and other wastes on my out breath. The tension is no more mine than they are.

Relaxation is our natural state, if we can sink slowly back into it. Or let it seep back into us, like water into a sponge. Either one works. 🙂

Luke Stormsreply
April 3, 2010 at 7:04 am
– In reply to: Ian

Thank you Ian,

You have described this fundamental practice beautifully. In my experience relaxation isn’t something that I can “do”. I see that I need to get out of the way and allow something to appear, that something needs to be dropped instead of added to. There are moments when the thoughts, feelings and the body become more aligned, and this movement towards wholeness allows the appearance of a vertical axis.

warm regards,


April 3, 2010 at 9:33 am

hello luke. when i read this excellent piece, i was drawn to remember one of robert fripp’s thoughts: “relaxation is necessary tension. tension is unnecessary tension.” steven

Luke Stormsreply
April 3, 2010 at 9:38 am
– In reply to: steven

Hi Steven,

Thank you for that quote, I need to write that down immediately in my notebook so as to not forget it. Amazing. He says so much in so few words.

May you have a wonderful Easter,



Nana Joreply
April 7, 2010 at 4:46 pm

That picture is one of utter grace. I think we each possess a secret garden of self which needs just the right conditions to unfurl and relax; light and warmth and watering tears and tender hands.

Sarah Dreply
June 2, 2010 at 11:35 am

This is a great quote, thank you! I love your blog.

I was just talking about relaxation with my husband’s piano teacher. She’s 89 and a truly great teacher. She was saying, “Don’t think about relaxing! Be alert. Be like a cat going up a tree.” I found that helpful somehow.

This quote also makes me think of something they used to quote at the Kripalu Yoga center. I think Swami Kripalu said it: “In the process of love, all that which is not love must first rise to the surface and be burned off until only love remains.”

Luke Stormsreply
June 3, 2010 at 1:07 pm

Thank you Sarah and thank you for sharing that remarkable quote from Swami Kripalu.

August 24, 2010 at 12:46 pm

I think this may serve as great inspiration and help for you:
this is what first brought me into this kind of thing. the text is amazingly easy to read, and you can get the idea from the very beginning. i love your blog, and i linked you on my tumblr, haha your newest entry is amazing.

Luke Stormsreply
August 25, 2010 at 1:35 pm
– In reply to: Self&Sound

Welcome Self&Sound, it’s good to have you aboard. Thanks for the follow and the recommendation. I read the Tao-Te-Ching many years ago, but, maybe it is time for me to revisit this simple, but because of its simplicity, very difficult little book for a Western reader like myself, to grasp.

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