BE YOURSELF

A Guide Book to The Art of Relaxation
I by
Israel Regardie
A
HELlOS
BOOK
1965
Copyright © 1965 Dr. F. 1. Regardie
Published by Helios Book Service (Publications) Ltd.
S The Square, Toddington, Nr Cheltenham, G10s
Printed in Gt. Britain by Thaxted Printing Co. Ltd.,
21 Town Street, Thaxted, Essex.
Over twenty-five years ago, while in practice in New
York City, former patients requested that I make a report
in writing of. the techniques of relaxation that I had been
using. In public lectures, private.class work, as.well as in
the consulting. room, I had taught several thousands of
people the rudimentary techniques of releasing their
muscular and emotional tensions. I gave this process the
significance of improving physical and emotional efficiency
in every-dayliving.
For a moment or two, it is interesting to reflect on the
complete about-face that life sometimes imposes upon one.
Early in 1937 I had completed my own didactic psycho-
analysis in London. Prior to that I had been taught
several relaxation techniques based fundamentally on those
publicly expounded by Eeman and taught to me privately
by 'Oskar Kollerstrom, B.A. (Cantab.). During my practice
of psychotherapy, there would often appear patients for
whom a short-contact therapy seemedmost advisable, even
imperative. Gradually, then, the relaxation techniques
re-emerged and became part of my clinical armamen-
tarium. As time progressed, I gradually discontinuedtheir
use. In their place, I used straight hypnotic suggestion,
then hypnoanalysis as described by Wolberg, short term
psychotherapy as enunciated by French and Alexander
on the one hand and Bertrand Frohman on the other.
Eventually. all these. left me greatly dissatisfied. so far as
concerned the personality re-structuralization of the
patient. I returned to more formal psychoanalytic therapy.
but gradually introduced dynamic addenda. about which
I have written elsewhere.
It was inevitable then that the vital biological approach
of Wilhelm Reich shoUld.appeal to me. As .1. learned
more about his vegeto-therapy, so-calledbecause it involves
the re-activation of the vegetative or autonomic nervous
system. it seemed as though I were obligedtoretum to
my earlier approaches. These. as indicated above. revolved
about helping the patient to relax. Naturally. there were
enormous differencese .based primarily on fifteen years of
active experience in analytical psychotherapy.
While therefore this rendition of 1938. is not wholly in.
keeping with my present•. more dynamic. approach. yet it
still is very interesting to me. And I hope it will. be to
others who have yet to embark on the clinical and evolu-
tionary road that life has opened up to me. It is therefore
left unrevised and unedited. in: practically the same form
that it had several years ago.
F. I. Regardie.
.. Be yourself!"
This seems silly to you? You can't imagine being
anyone else?
Well, you're right, of course. You can't be someone
else, but you can be considerably less than your true self.
You can quite unconsciously be apeing another person
altogether-c-one for whom you have had much love or
admiration. Or, alternatively, you may be inhibiting your-
self out of fear of life, or from a lack of knowledge of how
to live. In such event, the real "you", whatever that
actually may be, is prevented from obtaining creative
expression. This state of psychic inhibition in itself is
productive of quite serious tensions in the spheres both
of body and of mind. They are tensions of which, more
likely than not, you have no direct awareness.
It is through the impact of two opposite yet comple-
mentary forces that this involuntary tension gradually
comes into being. For instance, there is on the one hand
the dynamic tendency of self, or vital energy within, surging
upwards and outwards all the time, seeking an opportunity
to expend itself or find adequate expression in the external
world. On the other hand, there is the effort upon the
part of your own rather apprehensive ego to prevent the
upward and outward surge of this dynamic instinctual
creative force. After all, consciousness is a thing born
from and trained by the restricting and peculiarly inhibit-
ing nature of modern social organization. And, as well
you know, life and present day society look askance at
the unmodified expression of . the instincts regardless of
9
the particular plane upon which they seek manifestation.
Large families-e-as manifestationof thisforce on the sexual
plane-eare. denied .people. nowadays. There is the
important factor of economic pressure. There is also tile
risk of. social and ostracism because people prefer
to look upon such things as old-fashioned and out-moded.
Moreover•. if you happen to have artistic Or' creativeabiIi-
ties/no, .1lla.ttet bow well or and developed,
how much sYlllpathy and assistance can you .expect.• from
those about you? Very little. 1 wager.
In, a few words. you......most.of you reached by this little
book-are. not being yourselves.' A conflict is beingwaged
within your own heart and mind, The first result of this.
is. that you are ina state of nervous and muscular tension
from which. you are unable. tofree or
not-,-even when you are resting or sleeping... Sec()ndly.
because. of this. you are•wasting an enormous amount of
energy and power which.soeasilycouldbeemployed. in
far more satisfying or . creative directions, Very. briefly,
because of this •inner confiictresulting In neuro-m.uscular
tension. you find that you are unable to relax. Do you
question·this?;· .
Consider. then; the perfect power for rest in all animals.
Lift up. a 'sleeping cat. You will see how perfectly relaxed
she is in every muscle. That is not only the way she sleeps.
but the way she acts. rests. and relaxes. .No matter how
great. or how intense the activity. when she stops she is
able to drop every .muscular tension. So it is with all
animals. .in rare cases where man has tampered
with them sufficiently to interfere with the true order of
their lives.
Watch a healthybaby sleeping. Lift one of its armsoits
leg. or its. head. Youwill find each perfectly relaxed and
free.. You can-even hold .it on your .curspread.hands, and
the whole little weight. full of life, and gaining new power
through the .• 'perfect . rest, .will give itself entirely. to your
10
hands,; without one .particle of tension; .. This•• therefore,
should serve as your ideal of rest. .Were you (lbleto "undo"
yourself as completely as. the cat. and baby dos :and lose
yourself in a state ofdeliberate, cOnsciously-induced relaxa-
tion. this tension. would disappear by itself.y-ou would
then. be free and healthy and well; you would be-s-yeurself,
Let's try an experimentsyouandI together. From-this
you 'will readily be able to .realize whetherotnot what I
have to say applies to you. It is not-my intention to be
dogmatic; you can prove everythingIsayor suggest. . Lie
flat on your back. either on the carpeted floor or on abed,
The former is preferable-for the soft .. bed. will yield.
whereas it. is you who should. yield: Havea friend nearby
to aid you in this experiment. The experiment can and
should be reciprocated; Remain quite still for a few
seconds with your eyes closed. trying your utmost to relax
your entire body.
Let your friend who is standing on your .right side, take
hold of your right leg under the.ankle. Ask him t o r ~ i s e
it six or seven inches.jn the air at an angle of about
forty-five degrees. and drop it. Repeat this movement
several times.: This accomplisheds . let your friend raise
your leg by the ankle, in the air. Before dropping it. let
him place his other hand under the knee. If the right .
handis holding.theankle. let. the left hand be placed in
the hollow space back of knee. in what is technically
known as the popliteal space. Remove the right hand.
The probability is that your leg will remain flexed or
extended in mid-air. It may take you.some seconds to
realize that you are holding it there. The leg is unsup-
ported because your friend's hand has been removed. and
in reality it is but the thigh which is being supported; The
only conclusion to be arrived at is that your leg muscles
have become involuntarily tense.
Now it is obvious that energy is required to tense
muscles. If your muscles are flexed or tense without your
n
conscious knowledge or intention, just think of the 'vast
quantity of energy. with which you are prodigal; energy
which, in short, you are wasting. Of course, if you are
one of those unusually lucky people with an inexhaustible
store-of energy and are very vital and dynamic, it does not
really matter very much. Actually, however, there are not
many of these individuals. Most of us today, in the hectic
rush of modern life, need to conserve our vitality. You
and I need every ounce of the energy that we have in order
to live and work and enjoy all the wonderful opportunities
that life has placed before us in such a profligate manner.
Since we in this country' understand things so much
better if we are given statistics, let me try and give you a
few significant figures and facts which may assist your
understanding. The body, like a locomotive, is primarily
a machine. It is a complex mechanismwhich is capable
of transforming the locked-up energy implicit in food, into
the dynamic energy of work and motion. A considerable
amount of energy obviously is required to carry on even
the internal work .of the bodily mechanism of which we
are not even aware.
The so-called basal metabolism test is one way of
measuring how much energy We Consume in vital bodily
function. In reality, it measures your ability to inspire
and utilize oxygen. Since all bodily functions depend upon
oxygen consumption, it is thus possible to estimate whether
you function too rapidly or too slowly; if your engine burns
enough fuel or if it burns too much. For example, in a
resting man the heart utilizes about, 10 per cent of the total
energy intake in forcing the blood through the circulatory
system. The diaphragm, and chest muscles, in order to
maintain the movement of oxygen through the ,lungs,
consume some 20 per cent of'.the total body energy. Here,
remember, in only two of the several partial physiological
systems of the body-the circulatory and respiratory
systems-c-you consume practically one third of all the
12
energy you have at your disposal. Ten per cent is utilized
in the work of digestion and assimilation of the foods you
eat, as well as in glandular action. About 35 per cent is
used in the rapid, rhythmical muscular contractions by
means of which bodily heat is maintained. Twenty per
cent to 30 per cent is consumed in other vital work
of excretion, reparation, reproduction and other vital
functions.
The set of facts involved is significant. Even when in
a state of complete rest, as much as one-half of the total
body. energy expended may be traced to nothing but
muscular tension under the stimulus of worry. fear.
nervousness. or excitement of any kind. as well as other
emotional activities. This form of energy.expenditure may
be increased to many times the normal amount. This
explains why a person becomes tired. even to exhaustion.
simply by waiting and doing nothing.
For example. have you noticed how you react when
you go to a dentist's office? The waiting-roomseats three
or four other people. This may mean a delay of about
an hour before your turn arrives. Nothing could be
simpler than to sit down. pick up one of the many maga-
zines that you expect to find in such a room. and wait
quietly. Instead. at the expiration of the hour. you feel
utterly exhausted; Why? Because you have not sat quietly
reading but were anticipating in your imagination the
entire ordeal in the dentist's chair. Imaginatively. you are
already in the chair enduring the tortures of the damned.
It has been emotionally the equivalent of several visits to
the dentist. With your mind. so active. you have placed
yourself in the chair. every muscle quivering with nervous
energy. in a state of acute neuromuscular tension. After-
wards it becomes very difficult to "unlax" and get rid of
these tensions created by anxiety and anticipation. Here
we have ample reason why a worried person or even a
harried animal. cannot be made to gain weight. It
13
emphasizes the importance of complete rest as a favorable,
even necessary factor, in increasing the body weight.
The ability to obtain complete rest is an art which, in
spite of'. all their brilliance in the many fields of profes-
sional, scientific, and commercial endeavor, few people
have mastered. Only an. individual here and there has
somehow retained from childhood the happy faculty of
immediate relaxation. Rarer still is the individual who,
having lost it in the turmoilof our modern,. busy life, finds
it again in the acquisition of a deliberate technique for SO
doing. Unusual though the discovery of this. technique is
amongst the people we meet in every day life, it is abun-
dantly clear that. this rarity must be overcome. If you
cannot relax and rest properly in order to give your nervous
system the needed opportunity to recoup and recharge
itself, you might just as logically throw your dinner, for
example, out of thewindow to the dogs. You would get
no nourishment this way. Similarly, by being unable to
relax, your body is deprived of the opportunity. to assimi-
late food andextract the necessary energy.
Throwing your food away, as I suggest above, would
be no more senseless than the ridiculous way in which
most of us try to sleep or rest now. We wonder why we
remain fatigued and exhausted after hours in bed. Yet
this is the common experience of a good half of our
population, certainly in the larger cities. As Annie Payson
can wrote. in her work, Power Through Repose, which is
considered one of the great classics, but now unfortunately
out of print, "Few who pretend to rest give up entirely
to the bed, a dead weight, letting the bed hold them, instead
of trying to hold themselves on the bed. Watch, and
unless you are an exceptional case (unhappily there are a
few such), you will be surprised to see how you are holding
yourself on the bed, with tense muscles; if not all over,
so nearly all over that a little more tension would hardly
increase the fatigue with which you are working.
14
"The spine seems to be the central point. of tension;' it
does not give to the bed and.rest there easily from end to
end; it touches at each endand just so far alongfrom each
end as the man or woman who is holding it. will permit.
The knees are drawn up, the muscles of the legs tense, the
handsand arms contracted, and the fingers clinched, either
holding the pillows or themselves.
"The head, instead of letting the pillow have its full
weight, holds itself onto the pillow. The tongue cleaves
tothe roofof the mouth, the throat muscles are contracted,
and the muscles of the face drawn up in one way or
another."
1 do not want to burden )OU or terrify you with fearful
descriptions of tension or with sets of useless figures. But
it is urgent to emphasize this matter of bodily activity or
metabolism using up vital energy. It is upon this one con-
sideration, that my entire thesis depends: the absolute
necessity for relaxation.
If so much of Our own substance and energy.. is being
constantly. expended. because the demands of modern life
are: so exacting, exhausting, and wearing, we must have a
simple technique which predisposes toward an easy relaxa-
tion of our faculties. It must be able to relax both our
bodily functions and ourselves generally, in order that a
speedier recuperation of vital function be established. The
technique I propose to delineate here does precisely this.
It is very simple. All unnecessary and complicated details
have been eliminated so as to render it usable by the
average man and woman, who, like myself, have obliga-
tions to render to life and family.
The little experiment suggested almost at the outset
should have shown YOu how urgent is your need for relaxa-
tion. Try two Of three more little essays in this direction,
and see how much your body not. only requires it but
actually desires it
I say "desire" advisedly. After a few seconds of this
15
posture. lying fiat on your back. you will experience such
a comfort, such an exquisite sense of relief-yes, relief-
that you will actually heave a series of very deep sighs.
It is as though an enormous weight were taken off your
chest and your mind were lifted of a terrible burden. You
will feel light. almost gay and happy.
Your body needs relaxation. If these vital metabolic
processes delineated in the foregoing paragraphs are to
continue adequately and satisfactorily, none of this
precious energy must be wasted in unnecessarily tensing
muscles that are not being employed. Why are those
abdominal muscles taut just now? Those shoulder and
neck vmuscles, why should they be rigid as, whilst
reading, you lean your head against the wing of your club
armchair? There is no need to do this at all. You must
now begin to learn something of the gentle and invaluable
art of relaxation.
A few minutes, once or twice a day. spent in relaxation
will work wonders. You will eventually come to realize
that you should have done this long ago. Carry out your
experimental work with a friend or someone living with
you; someone who too would like to learn how to relax.
for then you can work reciprocally and be a help to each
other.
Lie down on something hard, a wooden bench or on a
rug-covered floor. There you will be confronted by the
psychological crisis which is so desirable. You will find
the floor so thoroughly uncomfortable that you will soon
become aware of the tautness and tensions of your own
body; and consequently, make the effort toward eliminating
them. In my own practice 1 find a good hard bench (like
a massage table or a diagnostic bench) with only a mini-
mum of padding or cushioning, is most effectual in order
to teach the subject.
Here you are then, lying down on a hard surface. Take
a few very deep sighs, the sort of sigh you would heave
16
if your heart were breaking. At once you discover a
certain degree of loosening-up occurring. If the diaphram
and abdominal muscles relax, the greater part of the
muscles and tissue supplied by the involuntary nervous
system, too, will loosen up with it. Lie quietly like that
for a few seconds, observing yourself all the time. Become
familiar with. the body; learn to notice what the body
feeling is like. In all probability, you have never had any
awareness of what your own physical body feels like. Of
course, we all know we have two arms, two legs, a heart.
liver. and lungs. and so forth. There have been occasions.
no doubt. when indigestion has made you aware of stomach
discomfort. This sort of awareness is pathological and
unhealthy. Once the cause is eliminated, once you over-
come the symptoms of indigestion or billiousness, with it
vanishes the awareness. All bodily activities sink back
once more into complete unconsciousness .where they
rightly belong.
During the process of relaxation you learn to recognize
the distinctive physical sensations that accompany your
body. Your body is like a friend or marriage partner
with whom you spend your life. You live with it. eat with
it, relax with it, sleep with it all your life. Such being
the case, you may as well learn its whims and caprices,
its peculiar tendencies and characteristics, learn to accept
and humor them; learn to co-operate and work with them.
The body will do the same for you. You will be surprised
to find what a good friend, what a faithful, loyal servant,
your body can be. During these experiments watch your-
self and watch your body. Be keenly observant when you
relax. You will enjoy it after a while. It is actually an
introduction into a new world. This new world, however,
is no new continent, no strange intriguing field like elec-
tronics or mechanics, or even the films or the theatre. This
new world is only you. You will discover that you never
really knew yourself. You have been all your life a
17
B
stranger to yourself. No outsider is needed.. to introduce
you to this intriguing stranger, Make the effottand the
introduction takes place, automatically, . When· you come
to know yourself well and familiarly, you will be grateful
to have learned this art of relaxation.
These, then, are: the first preliminary steps; ,Lie down
on some. hard surface. ,·This· makes you aware of how
unrelaxed you are. Heave a few deep ,sighs., from deep
.down in. the abdomen. .These steps. will .go',far toward
ensuring the induction of some degree of real. loosening
up. Moreover, you .cando this by yourself.
In order to make as clear as possible the steps involved
in this technique, I shall describe atypicalsessioll with a
patientwhom we'll call Mr. A. '
Mr. A had undergone.a. thorough physical examination
in an effort· to find out why he was always tired, why he
had no energy, why his nerves were on edge. Theexami-
nation had shown him t8 be ill perfect physical condition,
with no organic qisorder,· When it was suggested tohitn
that. he•• was always tired. because he never'. relaxed. he had
been scepticaL. But he continued to be tired.iand-hed
finally decided that it couldn't do any harm to look into
this matter of relaxation.
So nowhe was lying on my treatment table, waiting.for
me to show-himwhatI was talking about.
"Sigh:' I suggested.
"What?" His tone was bewildered.
"Sigh. Deep sighs, from way down in your abdomen}'
He obeyed, somewhat self-consciously. "Now close your
eyes," I said. "Stop watching me; forget about the pictures
on the walt Closeyour eyes and just think about howyou
feet"
He closed his eyes, and drew another sigh. for good
measure.
"I'm going to pick up your right leg by the ankle," 1
said, "and then let go of it. Don't try to stop it ftom
18
falling. Just loosen up the muscles and let it drop!'
Several times I picked up the right leg, and let i t f ~ l 1
heavily to the table. I did the.same with. the left leg.
After I had. done it repeatt;dly, Mr.. A asked, in, some
surprise, "Is this all there is to relaxing?" ...
"Oh, no. this is just the,beginning."l picked ,up his
right leg again, but instead of dropping it, I put one hand
under hisi knee, a couple otinches up on the thigh, before
1 removed my other hand from his ankle. Instead of
clroppingatthe knee, the leg remained rigid, extended at
a 45 degree angle. After a moment Mr. A opened his
eyes. "What's the matter?"· he-asked. "What are you
stoppingfor?"
I .indicated. the rigidly, extended leg. "Why are you
holdingitup?"I asked. .
"I thought you were holdingitup." He, started-to-bend
his knee, but I stoppedhim.
"No, I don't want you to use muscular energy to force
it down. What I want you to do is withdraw nervous
energy from those·.fi1usclesby thinking. It's involuntary
tension that's keeping that leg up in the air. As soon as
you become conscious of it, it ceasesto beinvotuntary,
and is then under your control. It is involuntary tension.
allover your body, that's been keeping you tired. Now
let's try the other 'leg."
I picked up his left leg, slipped my hand under his
knees, and then let go of the ankle. The left leg began to
bend at the knee. "You see," I said encouragingly, "how
qujckly you're learning to relax'i. What you j u ~ t .learned
from your right leg. you've begun to apply to the. left one.
As a matter of fact.the whole secret of successful relaxa-
tion is nothingbut self-awareness. Once you become aware
of thesetensions, it's within your power to eliminate them.
to ceaseto waste energyby keeping your muscles uselessly
tenser
Mr. A. laughed. "I can certainly think of better ways
19
of using up energy. What about the rest of me? Can you
take the kinks out of my back and shoulders the way you
haveout of my legs?"
"Certainly. The 'kinks' come from nothing more than
a perfectly useless resistance to the pull of gravity. Here,
let me show you how it works in your hip muscles."
Grasping his ankles with one hand, I raised his legs..slid
the other hand under his knees, and let go of the ankles.
The lower leg dropped, his feet were flat on the bench-
much the position one .assumes when propping a book
against the knees while reading in bed. Jput One hand
on his feet, to hold them still, and with the other gave his
knees a slight shove to the right. They moved an inch
or so, then stopped when I let up the pressure. "See
what I mean about resisting the pull of.gravity?"
Mr. A. considered for a moment. "You mean my knees
ought to tumble. right over?"
"Certainly. There's nothing to stop them except the.
tension in your hip muscles. Now that you know the
tensions' there, you can relax it. Let's try it again." Once
more I gave his knees a slight push to the right. There
was a momentary resistance, then they tumbled over quite
loosely. "You see howsimpleit is?"
He grinned; "Yeah, nothing to it. After you know."
1 pulled his knees up again, and pushed to the left. This
time they responded immediately. I moved them up the
center again, and separated the knees. They fell outward
to their respective sides. After I'd repeated this several
times, the tenseness in the heavy, powerful muscles of the
thighs and hips was completelygone.
Straightening out his legs, I took hold of his right hand
and shook it gently, up and down and sideways. Then
I .rested the elbow on the bench, and held the forearm
straight up by the finger tips. I removed my hand. The
forearm remained extended inmid-air. Politely I inquired,
"What are you pointingat?"
20
Mr. A.. glanced at his arm and grinned again. "Same
old thing, eh? No wonder I was tired." As he spoke,
his forearm dropped to the bench with a thud.
"That's more likeit." Lreached across him and repeated
the performance on his left arm. Mr. A. watched, and
the tension went out of the left arm a great deal faster
than it had with the right. "You see," I said, "It's just
a matter of knowing when your muscles are tense. When
you know it, you can remove the energy that's tensing
them, or not, just as you wish. Energy used in keeping
muscles tense when there's some good reason for their
tenseness isn't wasted energy. But when you use up
nervous energy keeping muscles tensed without even know-
ing they are t e n s e ~ t h a t ' s a pretty stupid way of using up
energy you need for other things, isn't it?"
I lifted his right arm by the finger tips again. and
because of the conscious relaxation. it fell immediately
when I let goof it.
"It feels like three sacks of flour, now," Mr. A. com-
mented. "My upper arm and forearm and hand all feel
heavy and loose, when you let go."
"That's the way they should.feel," I answered. "Now,
I want you to shrug your shoulders-one shoulder at a
time."
He tried to obey, but both shoulders moved together:
"One at a time," T repeated. "Half a dozen times with
each shoulder."
After a short .struggle he succeeded in breaking':the
habitual co-ordination that made his shoulders move simul-
taneously. After he had loosened them up somewhat by
this method, I helped him by gripping each shoulder and
moving.them up and down, one at a time, with consider-
able vigor. Then I pulled each shoulder, alternately,
toward me, away from the bench, andreleased it quickly.
His body dropped heavily back to the bench, his head
waggling. After I had repeated the movement several
21
times witheach shoulder. the· waggling of.the head became
more pronounced. indicating that the neck muscles were
relaxing more and more. ..
Mr. A..heaved a sigh of contentment.. "It's amazing:'
he said. "how quiet and poised I feel inside. That nagging.
nervous feelingis practically gone." . . ..
I nodded.."To mymind, that's the test of true relaxa-
tion.. •• But .: this is only the beginning. We're going to
attack another set of tensions. now."
With my finger tips. Llocatedthe top of .the h i p s ~ t h e
bone called the ilium.. Then I slipped my fingers off its
uppermost point. the crest near the anterior superior spine.
downward to the right side of the fleshy and muscular
part of the abdomen. and pressed on it. not too heavily.
I repeated the same process onthe.Ieft side. Press and
release. press and release.-severaltirnes. Then. with the
flat of my hand. I pressed gently into the abdomen just
above the regionof the navel; Immediatelys ' the muscles
under my hand contracted.. "Does that hurt?" I asked.
Mr..A. shook his head. "No. Should it?"
I smiled at the question. "No.it shouldn'thurt. But
Lcouldn'trell, when those muscles tensed up. whether it
was because I was hurting you. or whether it was just
defense mechanism-an automatic attempt on your part
to protect the soft parts of the body by tensing the.muscles
that shelter them. It's equivalent .. to the mental attitude
that many people have.toward-Iife-c-an attempt to escape
pain •by enclosing themselves in an iron- wall of defence.
It's an admission offear-or at least a lack .of courage,
Remember•. always. that. pressure will only hurt if Y0\,l
resist it. .The more tense you are. the more pain is felt
from the pressure. That's a general principle that can be
applied to a good many aspects of living."
Mr. A. nodded appreciatively. "I get your point there.
I'll tryto keep it in mind." He paused a moment, then
observed. •"Golly. I feel good." He breathed a deep.
22
contented sigh,
I laughed. "You sound more as though your heart were
broken." .
"Yeah,l!l1oticed that--""I can't seem to. keep from $igh-
ing.It'safunny thing, though-s-every time I sigh, I feel
that much better. Sort of quiet, inside."
1 nodded. "I've. been wondering if you'd noticed that.
It's an excellent symptom, for each. sigh, besides being an
expression of relaxation, cop.tributes toward a deeper
relaxation. The more you. sigh, the quieter .you'Il feel."
"It's .almost as' good as being asleep," Mr..A murmured
drowsily. "Better, . in fact, .because. when I'm .asleep I
can'tappreciate ho:o/ good it feels."
"You haven't any heart trouble, have you?" I asked.
"No. Why?"
"Because if you had, I'd skip this part Qf. the technique."
I placed my hands on his ribs,just under the breasts, then
exerted a slight pressure ashe exhaled. Maintaining the
pressure, I said, "You've probably never realized how
completely flexible and mobile your breathing apparatus
is'""'-the lungs, themselves, the chest, the rib cage. If one
part of the mechanism is prevented from. moving, .another
part will move instead. Emotional tension and other
inward difficulties make 'the whole thoracic cage ·stiff and
inflexible. Have you noticed what's happened to your
breathing.since I started this: pressure on your ribs?"
~ ' Y e s - ~ l seem to be breathing exclusively with my
abdomen-s-and a few moments ago, whenyou were leaning
onmy stomach, 1 was breathing with my collar bones."
"That's exactly what 1 was telling you-e-lf you prevent
one part of your breathingapparatus from moving, another
part will move instead. When you breathe abdominally,
the. chest muscles, temporarily unused, must relax. .When
I place my .hands in the middle of your chest and press
gently.downwards, this. calls your attention to the tensions
of the chest muscles-and as you have found out•.aware-
23
ness of tension is all that's necessary to eliminate it. Now,
we've just about finished with the loosening up--we'll give
your head the last touch."
"I thought you fixed my neck up when you were doing
my shoulders," said Mr. A.. "Anyway, it feels good now,"
"Well, we'll check on it. anyway." I lifted his head,
slipped my other hand under it to protect it, and used the
same technique rd. used on his legs-and dropped it.
Rolling it gently from side to side. I raised and dropped
it several times. The stiff. awkward movement that indi-
cated resistance and tension. disappeared rapidly. I stepped
back from the bench. "How do you feel now?"
Mr. A. stretched luxuriously, and didn't even bother to
open his eyes. "As though my body were a comfortable
place to live in, for a change, instead of a heavy, aching
burden I had to drag around withme,"
At this juncture the patient quite often goes fast to
sleep. It is best to let him do so. It lasts for a few
minutes and is most refreshing. It is as though the relief
induced by the elimination of gross tension is too much
to be borne. and sleep logically develops. Again. we may
say that all through our lives there is such a complete
identification of mind and body that we are unable to
conceive of ourselves as apart from the body and its
activities. When obvious bodily activities cease. because
of false associations we imagine ourselves too as ceasing to
exist, and lapse forthwith into the unconsciousness of
slumber. Whilst relaxing, no body movements are taking
place. It is as though the entire personality succumbs to
its habitually conditioned reaction of falling into sleep
when there is no activity to keep it focussed. on the outside
world. But this is a reaction which is soon overcome.
Repeated experience. of the relaxed state brings with it
24
acclimatization. One becomes accustomed to living in and
with a relaxed frame which is not exhausting its vital
energies in. maintaining unnecessary and useless tensions.
That vital energy, therefore, being retained within, goes
towards heightening and clarifying the mind. Energy must
do something. Energy is defined as that which can perform
work. If energy is not being wasted in keeping your neck
or your abdomen or thigh rigid and taut, it is still retained
within your own system. What happens to the energy
therefore?
In. physics, as I have remarked, energy is considered
very concretely as that which will do work. Now, if you
are relaxed and there is no needless expenditure of meta-
bolic energy, that energy must do something. Hence, the
work it does is entirely psychological in nature and scope.
All your latent abilities and mental powers and faculties
become sharpened. A distinct exaltation must accompany
the process. There should be a. fresh acquisition of intel-
lectual power and capacity. We might liken the pheno-
menon to a process of incubation. The energy remaining
within starts to "hatch" you. Your personality becomes
bolder and more clearly defined. So much so, that other
people may even notice it. You may even be asked what
has happened to you. Especially may people notice the
poise and the repose which you are showing. They will
envy and respect you for it. This will be the most obvious
result from your effort, and this you will find to be
extremely worth while: worth all the effort you may have
expended.
To the method described above, one requiring at first
the assistance of another person, let me add another
method, simpler in a sense, designated for self-operation.
It was worked out many years ago by a brilliant relaxation
exponent, and it is sufficiently excellent to warrant inclu-
sion here at some length. "After the deep breathing, drag
your leg up slowly, very slowly, trying to have no effort
25
except in the hip joint. allowing the knee to bend. and
dragging the heel heavily along the floor. until it is up so
far that the. sole of the foot. touches without effort onyour
part. Stop occasionally in themotion and let the weight
come into the heel. then drag the foot with less effort than
before-so will the strain of movement be steadily
decreased. Let the leg slip slowly down. and when it is
nearly flat on the floor again. let go. so that it gives entirely
and drags from its own weight. It is pedectly free. there
isa pleasant little spring tromthe Impetus.or dropping.
which is more or less according to the state· of health. of
the body. The same motion must be repeated. with the
other leg. Every movement should be slower. each day.
"IUs well to repeat the movements .or the legs three
times. trying each time tomove more slowly. with the leg
heavier than the time before. After this. lift the arm slowly
from the shoulder. letting the hand hang over until it is
perpendicular to the floor. Be careful to think the arm
heavy, a11d the moul'e power in the shoulder. It helps to
relax if you imagine your. arm held to the slroulder by a
single hair. and that if you move it with a force beyond
the minimum needed to raise it. it will drop off entirely.....
"After the arm is raised to a perpendicular position, let
the force of gravity have it ... first the upper arm to the
elbow; and then tne forearm and hand. so that it falls by
pieces. Follow the same motion. with the other arm and
repeat this three times. trying to improve with each
repitition." .
The same result for the head and body can be procured
by rolling from side to side a few times.
In my own professional practice. the first experiment
in relaxation goes no further than what has just been
described; the testing Or proving of tension. This I call
the first session's work. When the patient comes a second
time. the same procedure is gone through. but very quickly.
If the tensions are severe. as is often the case; the whole
26
period is devoted to a repetition of proving, and no new
work is undertaken. Three or four sessions are often
devoted to the same process. When I find that tensions
ate very largely eliminated, the patient is ready to go
forward, and we begin to work out a plan for the next
phase of deepening or' heightening the awareness of a
relaxed body.
As we stated in the foregoing, the second session is
begun by repeating the acto! testing the condition of the
muscular tensions, making.certain that the grosser tensions
have been completely eliminated. For example, if an arm
is raised, it should drop easily and dully when my restrain-
ing hand is removed. If the abdomenis gently prodded,
Ldo not expect to. find a rapid reflex tension in that area,
etc. We test similarly, hands, feet, chest and abdomen,
neck and shoulders. All are relaxed. The patient is lying
quiet and still; arms are flung outwards on the bench or
divan in spread-eagle fashion. Legs are spread several
inches apart. The patient looksIike a young child whom
you surprise on a, chance visit to the nursery. There, on
his bed is the child with his little limbs flung, as it were,
in every direction, completely at ease and' relaxed.
This posture is well enough for children and youngster-so
They have unlimited supplies of energy, and can afford.to
waste .it in playing vigorously, exercising, and sleeping in
this spread-eagle manner. But do you realize that if you,
an adult. were to sleep that way, you would be throwing
off long streamers of energy? I do not want you to take
my word alone for the statements I happen to make. The
description of. each step with its psychological reactions is
absolutely open to verification by each one of you. The
subject of relaxation is strictly scientific.
So far as concerns this question of energy, observe rather
closelythe habits of old people. When next you visit your
grandparents or other elderly people, notice how they sit
when they are resting. You notice first, that their feet are
27
crossed at the ankle. If you look closer, you see their
hands are clasped with fingers interlocked. The hands rest
on the solar plexus just under the stomach, or in the lap.
They seem to be resting easily and well this way and are
altogether comfortable.
What is. the significance of these two postures? The
child with extremities spread-eagled and flung in every
direction, and the aged person with feet crossed at the
ankles (legs crossed at the knee would produce a dele-
terious .effect on the circulation of the blood), and. the
fingers interlaced over the stomach? The significance
should be clear. The .growing child is endowed by nature
with a super-abundance of energy. This he does not bother
to conserve and is as lavish in its expenditure even as
nature has been prodigal in pouring her gifts upon him.
The older person, on the other hand, does not have this
surplus of vitality. He now feels there is a necessity for
conserving it and making the best use of what little vitality
he has left.
All this is indicatedby the pose, the method of resting.
What is important is the question whether or not this
observation has any practical value so far as we are con-
cerned. We are trying to learn howto relax and to eliminate
tensions from the body, mind, and system, so as to make
better use of the dynamic currents of energy coursing
through us in order the more happily to live and to know
ourselves better. We want to be ourselves in order to'
better and more fully Jive life. Energy-an abundance of
energy-is necessary if we are to live and function to our
best advantage.
Not only is this indicated, but we also. are shown the
way of achievement. So we take advantage of this obser-
vation practically and pragmatically. The next step
proceeds in this manner: The patient is relaxed and
spread-eagled on the massage bench, or, if you are follow-
ing me step by step, you are on the hard wood, rug-covered
28
floor. A large pillowis rolled and slipped under the knees,
raising them somewhat. The feet are crossed at the ankles
in such a way that both heels rest on the bench. . I take
both hands (patient does not assist me) and interlace his
fingets myself. I place them between the navel and the
end of the sternum or breast-bone. No pillow is under
the head, unless the patient is stout or has a tendency to
cardiac .incoordination. In .that case, a small pillow or
cushion is placed under the neck and back part of the
head.· This is the only exception.
Without a word, I permit the individual to remain in
this position for about a minute. Again, without the
utterance of a singleword I "undo" him. Legs and arms
are again spread-eagled, There he lies on thebench with
limbs flungin every direction. He remains in this position
for a minute. He is again "done up," which is my
expression for crossing the ankles and interlacing the
fingers on the stomach. Again and again I repeat this
process without any remarks to the patient. Eventually
I ask him in which of these positions he felt most comfort-
able. "Do you feel most still and comfortable spread-
eagled? Or is the relaxation more profound with arms
and legscrossed?"
Invariably, the answer is that with the legs crossed and
fingers interlaced there is a greater degree of comfort and
inner warmth, as well as a strona senseof satisfaction. even
pleasure.
This process I have repeater again and again. There is
no doubt in my mind that here we are confronted by an
absolutely scientific fact, whatever the explanation of the
fact is. By so crossing the legs and interlacing the fingers
which, by the way, is an old meditation posture-we
produce a kind of closed electrical circuit wherein the
circulating energy turns in upon itself and revolves as it
were in its own closed nervous system. When this closed
29
magnetic sphere is produced. then we are confronted by
another equally interesting phenomenon. It is known that
power produces power-vjust as wealth will go on produc-
ing and increasing wealth. In this case. energy turned in
upon itself gradually generates an increasing abundance of
energy. It seems to the patient, while relaxing in this way,
that his store of energy actually creates a distinct surplus.
His posture almost converts him into a "step-up" trans-
former. So pronounced does this become that it may
prove impossible to remain in the relaxed state, and it
becomes necessary to get up and do something.
In. one sense, this cannot be due to the mere cessation
of active work and movement. We know there are
occasions for many of us when sleep. which is a cessation
of active work, does not bring us the refreshment and
recharging. of energy that we would expect of it. There
are many factors to account for this. Over-fatigue, which
is one explanation, is only part of the story. Inner psychic
conflicts and struggles within the mind itself which use up
our reserves of energy and exhaust us-these are other
phases of the story. Both, over-fatigue and psychic con-
flicts create neuro-muscular tensions. For muscle to remain
tense, energy must be used. Hence. in a state of chronic
muscular contractions. our normal reserves of energy are
very much eaten into and consumed. Thus, chronic fatigue
is produced-a very dangerous state. Then each orga,n is
involved in a fatigue syndrome. The wits become dull,
the memory impaired, and the ability to learn is very
markedly decreased. .Actually. during complete' rest. even
during sound sleep, the body cells in various organs and
tissues are hard at work. The heart muscle continues to
beat regularly and to pump blood through the arteries;
there' is the rhythmical inhalation and exhalation of the
oxygen in the lungs; the body heat is maintained and
distributed by oxidation in the cells themselves; liver action
and kidney excretion, as well as many other functions are
30
continued. All the general metabolistic functions are
performed as before, all demanding the expenditure of a
terrific amount of energy. Sleep and rest, therefore, imply
work. It probably costs us almost more measurable energy
to repair our bodies-to eliminate toxins, to rebuild and
develop broken down tissues-than it costs to use them.
The chief requirement of sound sleep is that it should
permit adequate reparation. That is, it should permit the
body to recoup itself, to elevate the reserves of cellular
vitality. and thus generate more energy for general somatic
utilization. When tension and contraction are habitual
states of life; when muscles and nerves are involuntarily
taut and rigid•.there is an impediment to the ability of the
body to repair itself. Contraction of muscleswastes nervous
and muscular energy. It hinders the free circulation of
blood by impeding normal dilation of .arteries, strains and
overworks the heart, and moreover restricts breathing and
other functions related to it. If you think that upon going
to sleep a spontaneous. relaxation occurs, 1 am afraid you
will find yourself greatly disappointed when you come to
observe oriperforra experiments upon the majority of
sleeping people. . .
But while' relaxed in the manner I have indicated, with
arms and legs placed in a comfortable position permitting
of bodily nervous force, tension
tend to disappear. .This permits a freer
of blood, a slowing down of the overworked
heart, and an easier inspiration of breath. Cell reproduc-
tion and rebuilding of tissue can therefore continue without
too great an expenditure of energy. The body's own
alchemical laboratory will go on generating more power
and energy itself.
You may possibly disagree with my formulation of the
observed facts or with any of myphysiologicalexplana-
tions. That is unimportant. You must experiment yourself
with your own body to obtain relaxation and observe these
31
incidents, sensations, and psychological phenomena.
Explain them afterwards if you wish. First, relax.
Sofar, so good! You may begin now to compliment
yourself on the degree of relaxation obtained, to revel in
the. sense of comfort and ease and poise' resulting'. there-
from. Unfortunately, you are only beginning. This tech-
nique can be carried considerablyfurther. We nowextend
it in a slightly different direction. Heretofore, we have
relied exclusively. upon physical methods of inducing.the
giving-up of tensions, Nowwe approachit from an entirely
different angle-s-the ability of your own mind to produce
an effect upon the physiology of your body. A little later
I shall enter this matter more thoroughly. For the
moment, these are the facts: you are encouraged to try
them out yourself. Having experimented, you will then
appreciate the force of my remarks.
Once again I shall resort to an interview betweenmyself
and a supposed patient. I do so to assist your own under-
standing of the process. It will be a slight matter to
translate into an experience obtaining between you and a
friend or a. relative-anyone who is co-operating with you.
Mr. A. lay on the massage table, his feet crossed, his
fingers interlaced. His breathing was. deep and regular;
every now and then he sighed, Contrary to the romantic.
fictional interpretation, sighs indicate contentment
relaxation quite as frequently as they reveal a.
soul. In Mr. A's case the relaxation already induced'li)(i
the physical methods employed had . resulted in the·
dropping of his burden. of nervous and muscular tension
-a ridiculous burden whichculminatesin nervous exhaus-
tion. The relief and pleasure resulting were expressed by
those sighs. When he spoke, which he didreluctantly, it
was in a quiet tone, very different from the high-pitched,
nervous speech he had used when he, came into the office.
I pulled up a chair beside the bench he lay on. "Are you
right-handed?" I asked.
32
"Yes. Why?"
"If you weren't. I'd sit on your left• .Instead of .here."
I placed my left .hand onthecrown of his head,myright
hand under his interlaced fingers. lying upon his solar
plexus. "Don't move:' 1 said. "Don't maJ<e any effort.
Just-observe yourself for a minute Or .two. and Jet
know whethermy linking myself
your relaxation and deepens yoursense ofc()mfOltY
Mr. A was quiet for a few minutes. Then he said.
lI1tnostina,udibly. "Yes.definHely.Tm even more relaxed
...-and I didn't think-that \VaS possible. -. I don't even want
to talk. .l could go rightto sleep." .
"Don't do .that.just yet/'J ,said. "I want you tQ·.use,
your imagination. . Pretend that, you're very. heavy:-that
you weigh three or. fOllr tons.. Imagine thlltyoll're malting
an. enormous indentation in the bench. YOU'.l'e lying·on.,. and
that in..·jllstatnoment you'll be. pulled .right .through, the
ft
oo
r 1:>y gl'llvity;" , . .... '. ..'
Mr. A. was silent for quite a long time, Then he. said.
"1. .1 couldfeel any. morerelaxed__but 1 do."
"Relaxation is an art; like other arts•. the more you
ptactice.the more proficient you become. ' After your
physicalreJaxation has. reached its peak.you·llhavethe
task of mental relaxation to deal with. But tbe more relaxed
you are physically, the easier it is' to mentally-the
tYV9work hand in hand."
said Mr, A. ·thoughtfully. "one' funny
'. tbingl've noticed isa sortof detachment J never experi-
enced before-as though my body were separate from llle
-i1's.11 sort of awareness body as a thing itself.
instead of an integralpartof me:'
I nodded, "That'sgcod-e-that proves that the relaxation
is doing what it's supposed to do. And you'll find your
awareness. of the body mounting and mounting. Even-
tually•. it will reach a sort of peak•..a crescendo .ofpure
feeling. and then it will fall away from you altogether. T4e
3.3
e
sense .of body will disappear•.and you will became aWare
of yourseli aware of you, as you really are. and not of
the body and its organs and Junctions which you.
always thought .ofas you.·. Actually. it's. a .sort of release .
from'emetional. and muscular bondage:'
"J!mnot sure I know what yoomean." said Mr. A.
doubtfully.
"You will:' I assured hiIn. "Now. I want. y09 to call
on your inlagination again.... You know ",hat a skein.of
wool .. looks .like, with an.. the .threads. hanging loose from
thefingers when you dangle the .skeininthe air?"
Mr. A. nodded... "Yes. 1 can picture that.'.'
"Fine.. Now I want .you to •inlagine your muscles as so
many skeins of wool. all dangling loosely from a fixed
point. For example. think of the muscles in your foot,
extending from the ankle to the toes. Think of them as
severalsttands of fibres•. dangling from the ll;nl(,le: ..
your eyes .and concentrate. on the picture; .and tell. me
what happens.
Mr. A. was silent for several seconds. Then he said,
of considerable surprise. "That's funny. After
I had thought about my footfora fewmoments, Lswear
1 c<>uld feel a sort of looseningup; awann. tinglingfeeling,
tightdown to mytoes."
"That's what I wanted you to do.
You've thought relaxation into the area you were concen-
trating .on. Now carry on with the same idea in other
regions. For example. the muscles hanging from the
knee cap down to the ankle; from.the hip bone to the
knee; the muscles on the abdomen; around the chest.
following the direction of the ribs from the breast. bOne
round .. to the. spine; the muscles along the back on each
side of the vertebrae. Imaginethese fibres danglisg: easily
and freely from the. neck. Then. finally. the muscles of
the neck .and shoUlders;· arms•.forearms .and hands. .• Take
your time doing this. then stop and notice the sense of
34
fteedomandrelease tbatcomesfromit."
1. while Mr. A struggled with this
unaccustolTIeddemand on his imagination. Finally be
sighedandsaid,"lsee what you mean.. It produces the
samefeelingsaslhad when you began callingmy atten-
tiontotbe tensions in my legs and arms."
This th9 secotidstage. .The. third . stage of
process issinlllarinsofar asweemplQY *"ctively the
iInagimltioni: There.isa well-known physiological la\li
that an increasedllowofblood to any part of the body
call be produced by concentrating on that part of the Pody.
Whether it is becoming conscious of.the blQod
alreadY in .the vessels.there, .or that nervous imP4lses are
conveyed to the.muscular wall of the •veins and. arteries
in the thus relaxing those walls and
pennitting an.increasedflow of. blood through an enlarged
lumen-all this is important. That this Can be done is an
accreditedfact. .
For example, you say to a small child that she is pretty.
n.unaccustomed to suchcompIiments she wilHikelyblush.
Blushingisthe result of an increased supply of blood.flow-
ing to the .vessels of the face and neck. Youhave made
her conscious of .her Iittle face and this consciousness
produces the effect noted. Although for her this. is an
involuntary neurological phenomenon, nevertheless; .the
fact is of tremendous significance. This is a law weour-
selves can utilize in awholly constructive way with regard
to .Our task of relaxation. If we know that there are
tensions ina certain limb or organ, we can by thinking
about it, stimulatevaso-dilator nerve. fibres which relax
blood vessels and cause the blood to flowthere. A surplus
amount of blood or a congestion will cause a degree of
heat which, in.turn,will produce the relaxation of muscular
fibre and tissue. that we desire. Just as the muscles
respondeclto your visualizationof themas threads ofwool,
35

so also will the blood stream respond to your imagination
and flowjust where you want it to.
Let us play with the idea, using Mr. A again as an
easier method of exposition.
Mr. A was still lying on. the bench, relaxed and quiet.
I still had one hand on the crown of his head, the other
on his solar plexus. ."This process," I· said; "calls foran
even stronger effort on the part. of your imagination. First
of all, I want you to yisualize your brain. You've seen
diagrams and. drawings ot the brain often enough to know
what it looks like-a mass of gray and white substance,
convoluted and. twisted in upon itself, divided into. two
hemispheres, with a front and rear. portion. Picture it,
and hold it firmly in your mind; then te1l me what happens,
if anything."
Mr. A took a little time for this unaccustomed. mental
effort. Finally he said, "It seems as if that sort of. muddled
feeling I've had so long that I'd gotten used to it, were
going away. I feel clear-headed, There's a warm feeling
spreading out from the center of my skull-s-and a sort of
tingling, pins-and-needles' feeling, but not painful."
"Now," I said, "try to visualize blood flowing down
the forehead from the brain to the eyes. You've seen the
kind of chandelier that has an opaque glass bowl depend-
ingfrom four chains?"
Mr. A nodded.
"Imagine that your eye-balls are the glass bowl, and the
muscles .behind your eyes the four chains. Got the
picture?"
He nodded again.
"Then imagine the blood .descending from the brain
down. those four chains, warming them and relaxing them
so the eyeball sinks gently back into its socket."
"Theidea of chains," said Mr. A, "makes the picture
perfectly simple, It doesn't take any effort to imagine it."
. "You'll find;" I said, "that it becomes even simpler with
36
practice, so that pretty soon you only have to think of
relaxation, and the effect is achieved instantly."
"That's good," said Mr. A. appreciatively, HI don't
mind admitting that all this··imagining isa little tough,
at first. My imagination. isn't used to this much work, I
guess."
"Then it's high time it was limbered up." I was only
halfjoking. "You saw, in the first part of the treatment.
how easily Llimbered up your arms and legs and trunk
with my, hands... That was only a beginning, for, as.you've
seen since, there are a lot of tensions that can't be reached
with the hands. The imagination can, and does,dothe
work just as. well. Sinceyour .. imagination doesn't take
up space, and knows no barriers, there is no nook or
cranny in yourbody that it can't reach. So let's put it
to work again.
HWe've started on your head, $() let's finish it up. Don't
try to hurry this process........the more thorough theprocess
.0£ flushing various-areas with blood-which, incidentally,
we call dirigation-the more complete and .efficient the
relaxationwillbe."
"I'll need a little more practice before I could hurry
it,"Mr. A confessed. "It's a new idea to me, and it
takes a little gettingused to."
"That's all right," I assured him. "It's worth spending
some time on. .Now-visualize tbe blood flowing down to
the temples, the ears and the cheek bones. Follow with
the visualization of the nose, mouth, lips, tongue, chin,
jaws. Feel how your whole head has become suffused
with blood, and howit hasproduced.a spontaneousrelaxa-
tion of every muscle, organ and nerve in the entire head."
"I feel as if I were blushinglike a school girl," Mr. A.
admitted sheepishly.
"As a matter of fact, that's just what it amounts to,"
1 answered. "But does it havejust the effectI described?".
"Yes; it really does. It's amazing what your imagina-
37
tion can do."
"It is," I answered, "so amazing that it's a crime to let
the imagination go completely to waste, as the majority of
people do. Now apply yours to your throat-think the
blood into the larynx and the pharynx. Imagine it flowing
to the thyroid glands at the base of the neck. This process
will help stimulate this· gland into balanced activity, assist-
ing normal metabolism. If the thyroid is defective,
repeated flushing with blood will help eliminate the defect.
If it's overactive, this. relaxation will tend to normalize its
function.
"Now continue the imagining until the blood pours into
the Chest and stimulates every single cell of the entire lung
area into renewed activity, and relaxes the vessels and
nerves and muscles in that region. Visualize the heart i.n
the middle of the chest, hanging over toward the left side.
You can relax it as you learned to relax the other organs."
"1 keep being surprised," said Mr. A., "to find that this
really works. My breathing seems fuller, and more effort-
less, since I imagined the blood pouring into my chest
and lungs."
"Definitely, it really works. Even such things as high
and low blood pressure can often be restored to normal
by this method. Now that you've got the general idea, I'll
be brief. Flush the muscular wall of the stomach and
liver, and their surrounding glands. Visualize your kidneys,
lying behind the stomach, almost against your back.
Imagine the two small glandular bodies above the kidneys
-the supra-renal glands, Imagine them being stimulated
by theflow of blood so they pour a copious supply of
energy into the bloodstream.
"Follow this by thevisualization of the abdomen and
lower part of the trunk containing the small intestines,
colon, and part of the genito-urinary system. Make sure
in your own mind that you give enough time to visualize
the flowof the blood."
38
The more you relax the middle area of your body. the
more likely it is that the whole of your body will be
relaxed. Dr. George Groddeck, one of the most brilliant
of modern psychologists. called the abdomen. together with
the rich nerve supply and the instinctual impulses', that
seem to emanate from it, the "middle man" of the body.
In the eloquent imagery and symbolism that this brilliant
physician employed, this middle part of the body was
conceived to be endowed with a species of mind even as
is the breast and the head-v-this belly-mind being often
opposed to the inclinations and rational activities of the
head-mind. It is the seat of the sexual instincts. feelings
and passions, and all the. dynamic instinctual forces
inherited from the past. that we consider in psychology
to be residentin the "unconscious." or the "Id," as Freud
calls it.
Because of the direct interaction of mind and the physio-
logical functions of the body, if the body is assisted to
relax, a direct effect is produced within. consciousness. I
will prove this point later at great length and to some
effect. At this moment it is imperative only to emphasize
the fact that by completely relaxing the middle part of the
body. the abdomen and all that it implies. you go far
toward relaxing the basic contlict that exists in most of us.
It is an internecine warfare between the primitive instinc-
tual part of our make-up and the surface consciousness
which we consider to be ourselves. The conflict is over-
come by doing no more than once was done in the words.
"Peace! Be Still!"
Finally, visualize the blood separating into two powerful
streams. two rivers of blood descendingfrom. the abdomen
into the thighs and legs. Actual anatomical pathways are
indicated in this connection. Be very attentive here too:
visualize all the tight. stiff, taut thigh and leg muscles
thoroughly. in order to relax them under the stimulus and
warm influence of the blood. In this manner, proceed
39'
until the toes are reached. Nowpause. You have com-
pleted .a great cycle in the relaxing.. process. Pause to
consider and observe. Note how you feel. Record your
feelings." Permit the sense of real pleasureand enjoyment
and. freedom to make. an indelible impression upon your
mind.
If the. memory of.thlsexperience -is: well recorded. it
can be. evoked at any moment from your storehouse of
memories. It matters not if you ride in the subway. are
seated in a car, or are Sitting at home reading or listening
to the radio. you have. onlyto remember t h ~ pleasure of
relaxation that you obtained from these repeated experi-
ments andforthwith the memory is evoked from your
consciousness impacting itself upon the cells and tissues
and fibres of the body. Relaxationthenfollows. Relaxa-
tion ensues .because you have thought relaxation. It is.a
physiological fact that to think of a certain part. of the
body is to cause the blood to flowthere. I shall show
that any thought produces some bodilychartge. chemical
or dynamic. These phenomena. over. a reasonable length
of time•• become associated in the subconscious depths of
the mind and co-ordinated with one simple idea-s-relaxa-
tion. Consider this fact. Visualize the. phenomenon.
Then behold it. it is there!
"As a man thinketh in his heart. so is he." So wrote a
master of llfe. We can do no better than to heed his words.
followingthem to the end.
The fourth stage of the relaxation technique is com-
parable to the foregoing. We continue the active employ-
ment of the imaginationor image-makingfaculty. Very
early in our practice of. relaxation. we discover the
enormous importance and value of this eidetic faculty of
our minds: It is easy to understand why. some writers
40
have.considered this faculty the poetic and creative faculty
par excellence.' Some have gone so far as to suggest that
the genius. is one gifted with a keen visual imagination
and a surplus of nervous energy. If this.be the case. it is
my contention that in relaxation we have a ready-made
method whereby we can evolve. not necessarily genius.
but men and women whose health. ability and spiritual
capacity are. considerably beyond the normal. We have
seen.that energy is disposed to develop or to increase itself
to an extraordinary degree under the stimulus of the proper
relaxation devices. Moreover.we have seen that imagina-
tion has a marked effect. on bodily processes. especially
nervous processes. and that the imaginative faculty is
capable of-considerable development simply by being used.
You will soon discover that by adhering to the few rules
given in these lessons. you will. become adept in visualizing
the differentotgans of your body. and anyother thing that
youwishto visualize. Not only will this art of relaxation
give you a degree of control over your bodily processes
as. well as an enhancement of physiological function and
health generally. but you will find also that you are
provided with a potent means of self-cultures . the value
of which is not to be underestimated for one single
moment. .
At the beginning of this monograph I· said. " B ~ your-
self!" If you have been scrupulously careful and honest
in these. exercises. you will understand something of what
is meant by this expression. "Be yourself!" When you
relax you are more nearly yourself than at any other time.
You will come to realize what you are and what your
innate abilities are. By means of the imagination utilized
during this state of quiet. you will learnhow to make them
explicit and how. to make them manifest themselves.
In this fourth stage of the process. we are confronted
by an experience which hasbeen commonly called. "the
influence of mind over matter," I loathe the glib phrase.
41
It offends me enormously. even though I am disposed to
accept the truth implicit in it. One is reminded too
strongly of cults and mind-healing systems whose unscien-
tific methods of operation have had the tendency to bring
disrepute to most of the legitimate psychotherapeutic
systems. At the same time. however. facts are facts. in
spite of the colouring or interpretation given them. We
find. if we approach the subject in an open-minded manner.
that by mental activity we produce not only a deeper and
more profound state of relaxation useful to increased
bodily health and mental pose. but we discover also that
mental processes have a remarkable influence on physio-
logical activity.
We are. most of us. familiar with such recorded experi-
ences as being handed a telegram with bad news while
enjoying a meal. The result may be a violently disturbed
state of the gastro-intestinal tract. Or. there is the case
of the helpless maniac. wrapped in gloom and inertia.
weak. and lost to the world-who. all of a sudden. when
some idea enters his mind. may be possessed with the
strength of ten men. It is well-known that reading
lascivious literature will produce a marked stimulation of
the sex organs of either sex. All these things tend to
indicate that feelings and ideas may be projected into the
body system causing them to react there with some effect.
The therapy dealing with this type of thinking is called
"psychosomatic medicine." Psychosomatic means body-
mind. The implication is that moods. which are protracted
emotional reactions. are capable of producing a physio-
logical response in the form of altered functions. A shock
appears to stimulate the adrenal glands to pour forth
epinephrine (a glandular hormone) into the blood stream.
The hormone is carried to the body organs which respond
in a certain manner. The cardiac rate is accelerated to
hasten the output of blood through the heart muscle.
Breathing is faster. the skeletal muscles tighten. and peris-
42
talsis is arrested or retarded. This is in readiness for fight
or flight-the emergency response-s-physical and psychic,
to any situation creating fear. If, through a wide variety
of causes, this attitude becomes protracted or habitual,
then .actual organic or architectural changes, physically
speaking, may be instituted, requiring psychosomatic
treatment-from both points of view.
To be successful, everyone requires a thoroughly relaxed
body. It is necessary and useful to repeat at this time the
technical methods given at the beginning for inducing a
degree of physical and mental quiescence before perform-
ing these simple experiments.
Lie down, with fingers interlaced and legs crossed at the
ankles. Start to breathe very slowly, deeply, and regularly.
Let your inhalation be felt to the deepest portion of your
lungs. Inhale to a measured cycle of about six seconds,
counting very slowly in your mind. Exhale slowly and
completely to the same rhythm. This process is named
rhythmic breathing and its effects are salutary. One sign
of success is a quiet rippling over the solar plexus with a
marked sense of warmth and enormous power invading
one's body even in absolute repose. This sensation should
certainly be present before proceeding to the next step.
This sensation should be produced without undue effort.
Next imagine that you, like Alice lost in Wonderland,
have eaten a fragment of some magical cake that causes
you to shrink. Build up in your mind strong and vivid
pictures of this act of shrinking. See yourself getting
smaller and smaller. Now, visualize yourself as hardly
mare than a minute speck. I know this may sound non-
sensical, even fantastic, and I do not even ask that you
believe anything. I only ask that you experiment scienti-
fically and observe what happens. As you tend to shrink
in your imagination, pay attention to the rate and type of
your breathing. Whereas usually your breath is full and
deep, in this experiment of growing smaller and smaller,
43
you will note that .your: breathing becomesshallower and
more superficial This is nota dogmatic statement. Try it
yourself. experiment with it. Noticethe has not
only on your breathing. but On your control of self and
your ability to relax easily and .profollndly.
When you have shrunk. so completely thatflltther
thought of shrinking is impossible, try to ... CQnjure up in
your mind a memory ofyourself at beach. for instance.
It is SUmmer. and yon are lying prostrate on. the beach.
Your eyes areclosed tight. your arms and legs fltmg out,
you are relaxed, You suddenly experience the sensation of
falling. The earth is whirling downwards in .spaceand
you are whirling and falling with it. Can you. recall the
distinct sense-of .falling downwards. and backwards. from
the heads as it were? Conjure up this recollection. and
like this memory. try to feelthatyou. this minute spe.ck.
this point. are falling in infinite space, It will give you
a sense of. untrammelled andutldreamed of freedom.
l'hroughoutthis and note what
effect it has.upon your breathing.. It will.change regularly
and inevitably with each chain, of thoughts 'and images
that flit before. your mind.
When you feel you can fall no more. you will come to
rest spontaneously. Imagine have found your own
center somewhere in splice. To this center converge all the
forces. ot. the universe; light rays. cosmic. rays. and what-
ever other rays of force and light that youcan .cQnceive of.
You area small point centred somewhere in· the emptiness
of space. and focussed upon you is the whole universe.
Feel. bow you. the tiny
and power and light from without, It permeates you
through and through. Continue .this ,process until -you
feel the impact of energy upon you with ,afructifyitlg
effect causing you to grow; Slowly. you grow larger and
larger. Soon you reach your. normal size;
StopJor a moment to-observe the effect of these. visua-
44
lizations. upon Your breathing. The rate of inspiration"is
rapid and very full....-.,as though the attempt mentally to
grow large had. an eXhilarating effect upon the emotional
mechanisms of your breathingprocess.Obsepve also your
own reactions as to alertness and intellectual clarity. You
feel extraordinarily .. vital, .as: though an unlimited,supply
of errergy.had-somehowbecorne available, The entire body
is throbbing and tinglingwith power. Besidesthis, the mind
itself is .still and quiet and crystal clear, as though it felt
no problem could be too large or complex or difficult for
you to solve.
Are, these. results worth while? Personally,
I believe you will too. after you have acquired some
experience. You will come to-feel as land many others
have, come to in knowing this technique, the
whole tenor ofIife has been aItered.andchangedvery
ml:lchfor the It will .. become infinitely. easier, to
expresswhal you are, The mask of that
firmly encases one drops away, and the real personality,
free from the dross of <faIl,tasy and gross Iimitaflon, is
therefor· all to see. One very intuitive psychological
exponent has said that the. entire object of psychoanalysis
and. analytical psychology was to confront the ,individual
with. himself and enable him to see and to accept himSelf
as he actually is without any fond illusions. and fantasies.
By meansota prolonged analysis of one's .past history
and his relations with his family, and. an examination of
present day reactions to any and every circumstance anli
event that arises, he is rid of the false mask that blinds him
to himself, eliminating the shell of fantasyin whicb, be is
confined. This being, the case, it will be s,een that relaxa-
tionaccomplishes somewhat similal',ends to those of
psychoanalysiswithout the strainthat attends-the latter,
especially as concerns time, money, and emotional upset.
This is an interlude only. We are dealing with the
experiment: Of enlarging oneself in. the imagination . and
45
watching the reaction subsequently, upon the personality.
Having reverted .tonermal.size.ionce more conceive your-
self in' the same situation as did Alice who is lost in the
perpleXing and bewildering events. of Wonderland. '. Once
she became .too small butbegan growing large again when
she ate '. SOme cake.>'. Imagine yourself, too, growing larger
and larger. Whereas before, you shrank.to art infinitesimal
size, you now are expanding to almost infinite dimensions.
So extensive have you become that all space is filled.
Imagine that all .• the heavenly bodies, the entire totality of
stars; suns, and planets are so many specks within your
body•• Include them all in thesame\Vay. as the minute
cells makeup theorgans and •• limbs.and. other tissue of
your body. Again, notice what result this .notion has upon
your breathing.. Your breathing is .extraordinarily well-
rounded and full. If at any"time in your life you ever
complained of .inferiority. or lack of .poise, of .emotional
imbalance or irrational fears, these defects.of personality
gradually vanish from . your character . entirely". Your
emotions and mental faculties are being developed and
relaxed by the practice of these' exercises; as a result, a
new poise and dignity grow on you. Your health, too,
undergoes" a general improvement. Neurasthenia? What
chance has nerve exhaustion of surviving such a mode.of
discipline? A host of minor ills disappear in the face of
this' dynamic charging of the human frame.
Why dol constantly enjoin you towatch your breathing?
Because you take in oxygen when you breathe. .Oxygen
is life and it promotes life. If You. breathe with but one-
half or less of your full lung capacity, how can you be
well? Or .dynamic? How can you be yourself?
Under the stimulus of relaxation, the' instinctual energy
latent in the cells themselves enable the cellsto respond to
their innate pattern. and thus stimulate the entire-lung as
an organ to renewed activity... Every cell thus becomes
exposed to the incomingoxygen and is stimulated to throw
46
\
off. the•residual carbon dioxide.•Thus newoxygen is passed
irttothebloodstream in larger quantities. This reacts UpOl1
thepuJsing of the.:heart. The heart pumps ..• the.blood
through. tllearterial system. more vigorously.. only when
the:: blood is not being adequately. oxidized. With proper
theheattworks without strain-it automatically
relaxes.•.. A .similar.effect.is exerted.on .the muscular. walls
of the arteries .and •veins, and other blood vessels. •Since
theJ:'llood carrying goes to every part ofthe body.
no matter hoW remote. we can see that this relaxation
meChanism .producesan indirect effect upon. the most
. distant cell and upon the farthest nerve andbedytissue:
That is why.•. lask', that. you. watch ·how you. inhale and
exhale. Your lungs.respond at onceto thesesubtle changes
that occur within your mind. The lungs affectyour entire
body by l"eftexaction. Hence. what you think produces
.somechange at'once within your body.
. Let me develop this theme.a little further. L E. Beman.
whom 1 consider to beone of the greatest authorities on
relaxation today••.. made a discovery which emphasizes this
idea-in a way rather different from my development of it,
as indicated in the foregoing. Take a sheet of paper and
on itdraw thehuman torso from shoulders to hips. Divide
this horizontally into seven transversesections by drawing
several straight lines from side to side. Between the lines
ineach space, write the colors of the solarspectrum: red.
orange. yellow. green. blue. indigo. violet. This. is your
basis for further experimental Work.·.
First. relax as before. .Be. sure you are conscious of
and relaxed of every conceivable tension. Relaxation
obtained. visualize the color red. Visualizing a fire wagon
or a. field of poppies in bright sunlight. or a length of
flaming red silk may help you in this process. Stare at
the picture you conjure up for several seconds.. Notice the
almost immediate effect this has on your breathing. Your
breathing is rapid. it is high, the so-calledclavicular breath-
47
ing. Consult your diagram .of-the torso. Youijn&the
c;olor red occupying the highesttrans'Verse section. .It
corresponds-to the area of the chest where the greatest
motion tllkes place when red is visualized. . .'
Drqp •• 'the whole series' of pictures Wait. for' a few
seconds, heave a sigh or. two, thenlmaglnethe calor blue.
A lengthofbluesik,thecolor 'of the sky on a summer's
day, a bed of blue. flowers.ror anything that ,is blUe in
color.. Hold the image fora while,
your attention to the movement of your lungs. Instead of
being rapid and clavicular, ittends to much
slower. The .Iower' the color in the spectrum chart. the
lower down is youcbreahting when.you.visualize -the
color. Visualize all the colors of the solar spectrum. You
will discover that which Beman discovered:. that these
colors .affect.. your breathing. according'. to their place on
the. spectrum.chart you have drawn. .
Why this is, I don't know. One could, invent many
explanations,·. all equally' valid.,.' .This is neither the. time
northe.place for"speculation about this. Weare'concel'rted
only with the. fundamental observation. By thinking a
certain specific .thought, a.speeifiereaction is induced in
lung action. Your. entire. metabolic process, consequently,
is susceptible-to .physical and chemical. changes brought
about by your mental processes. This is a most important
discovery; If you imagine yourself listening to-the boom-
ing of a bass.drum or to distant church bells, your breath.
ing is low. The sound of a violin or a fife, on the other
hand. causes you immediately to breathe rapidly and very
highup.in the chest. Visualize shapes,and notehow the
image of a circle affects you as opposed to a square or
a triangle or a rectangle. Note also, the effectsofdifferent
tastes, such as acid•.,sweet, sour, and salt-s-these produce
totally different reactions.
If they are willing, try this idea. on your family, your
friends, acquaintances. In fact. try it on all the people you
48
kIlO\V'.,p"tfirst.dOndt telltbem thetheQry. or what they
•.. when. changes. occur. in their· breathirIg.
tb(:irusual retort,.is. "suggestion!" .What this me
ans
•. l
COnfessl do not know. It is\too glib arid an
answer.' Those .who use it. are ignol;ant'of both the, signi-
fidmceof suggestion and the method they are .tryingto
c;:titicize: •. Only when you have produced the results
expeged should you acquaint them with the facts..... They
wil18e just aspuzzlcd.as you abouttlltiwholematter.
Tllephenon,.enonitself is far. nl0reimportant any
expla.natioD()f itlllight be. object is. to,make use of
it and emplOyit to your own ends. Thefa.ct thatpictures
of color, to produce an
reaching results which
become evident to anyone .after a little exploration in this
Beldof relaxation..
One .• more set of relaxation .eXercises .. temaili to be
ex.plained;then 1.wUl burden you no more.. I regard this
last set of important and its
most effectual. 1 .. you havejustnow.. fini.shed
the first phase of the technique and are at this moment
thoroughly .reJaxed.and ready for the next step. Your
ankles are crossed and your hands are resting easily updn
the abdomen With Bngets interlaced.
As you know. the entire body covering, the skin,is
punctured all over. by Iarge. numbers of. tiny
orifices called pores': serve many physiological
purposes. While relaxing. think of these pores not as
minute openings. but .as large .holes that .are wide open.
It will be easy to imagine this. if you mentally COver the
skin,in Snta.UarCl;ts. , ..... .. .. . ..
FOr example. thinkof the skin on your face, of the skin
onyour. cheeks;.:Picture clearly and.vividly the small pores
stretching andstretchin$ until they If your visualiia-
tionis good; you .get a distinct stretching.sensation. of the
skin. The mechanism involved seems to be that the motor
49
nerves convey electrical impulses from the brain to the
muscles and the skin of the face to which they respond.
Extend. the field of your operation to the forehead. the
scalp. and all of .the head and neck. .Be certain that you
feel the queer, little prickling sensations which mark the
opening of the orifices of the poress . before proceeding.•Do
not hurry. It is better to complete a whole process in a
small area than to rush the .experiment over the entire
body in a haphazard and careless manner. .
Continue similarly with the skin of .the chest and
abdomen. with the skin of the back.· the thighs. and. the
legs. Pause every once in a while to observe the effect
of this pore-stretching exercise on the general relaxation.
Turn your attention again to the brain and head. Just
as you visualized the: skin as being full of .holes. now
imagine the visceralcontent. of the head .as.being full of
holes. Think of a large swiss cheese; or a sponge.. This
will help you in your aim. Tell your head that you feel
it has suddenly become full .of h o l e s ~ t h a t it now. feels
exactly like a sponge. Extend the same concept, to the
neck. the torso. the legs. and the feet. .
By this time you should be experiencing an extreme
lightness of body. All weight and tension have dis-
appeared: you arecompletely-relaxed: you have attained
absolute repose.
The skin. the. bones, .the muscles. and the internal
viscera are. converted into large. living masses of sponge.
Now follows. the interesting development of this conver-
sion. You are full of holes-c-completely-full iofcninute
orifices bound together by.a network of protoplasmic
tissues. The atmosphere is on the outside. Air is a:bove.
below. and around you. At this point. feel that you must
eliminate whatever vacuum may exist. in . these spaces
within you, so you.• bid. imaginatively, the currents olair
that surround you.rtoflow through your body in every
direction. The spaces are now all filled with air. with life-
50
giving.e.nergy"producingoxygen. Imagine. too, that winds
are blowing through from· various directions; from the .feet
body to .thehead, and vice versa. Feel a breeze
enterifigyour body fl"om above and blowing through you;
Reverse •. the order. and 'interchange the directions. ·Use
all the ingenuity of which you are capable and produce
imagim\ry .movements of air .orenergy: throughtbe
interstiCe$ -: within your own frame.
Take an inspirationof your lungs and imagine you are
inha.ling. not only through your nosebut. alsothrough: the
enlarged orifices in the soles of yOUf feet. The air rushes
through them all the way up your thighs and abdomen into
your¢hest. Exhale in the reverse manner. Inhale air
througbthe crown of your head; through the small of your
back.
Fantastic? .Of courseit is. I would be the last to deny
it. Ldo notmean to imply that the process actually takes
place. What I do definitely assert. however. is that some-
how, for.·· various obscure ·reasons. a distinct relaxation of
body tissues takes place through these imaginative efforts.
and a circulation of different biological energies is set in
moti6n. A sense of freedom. of lightness, a clarity of
and an extraordinary vitality develops from these
lessons. in relaxation and is unlike anything you may have
experienced in all your life.
The.directions are not difficult. It is easy to relax in
this The tellults that accrue to you are inestimable.
You. relax .the body. the benefits extend to the mind. You
develbpthe ability to relax physically as well as to relax
emotionally, as is noted in your relaxed attitude towards
the events of life. All the tension that existed in your
mind. regarding people, experiences. and life generally, are
overcome. Slowly, you learn how to let life itself work
upon you. If only you let it, it will transform you and
blessyo'U... If only you give it half a chance, nature will
alchemically transmute you. whereas before life only
S1
hardened and hurt you. You will learn not to fix your
mind into a rigid, unyielding mould that will be in dire
conflict with the changing, fluctuating world without.
Rather, you will learn to "sit loose to life," as a brilliant
psychologist expressed it. By so doing, you discover a
new world of happiness open up to you. You discover
also, a thing of surpassing interest-yourself.
What a discovery! You are yourself once more! You
are now a traveller on the high road of noble adventure.
With an indescribable serenity and peace, you discover
the world anew.
52

Copyright © 1965 Dr. F. 1. Regardie

Published by Helios Book Service (Publications) Ltd. S The Square, Toddington, Nr Cheltenham, G10s Printed in Gt. Britain by Thaxted Printing Co. Ltd., 21 Town Street, Thaxted, Essex.

Over twenty-five years ago, while in practice in New York City, former patients requested that I make a report in writing of. the techniques of relaxation that I had been using. In public lectures, private.class work, as.well as in the consulting. room, I had taught several thousands of people the rudimentary techniques of releasing their muscular and emotional tensions. I gave this process the significance of improving physical and emotional efficiency in every-day living. For a moment or two, it is interesting to reflect on the complete about-face that life sometimes imposes upon one. Early in 1937 I had completed my own didactic psychoanalysis in London. Prior to that I had been taught several relaxation techniques based fundamentally on those publicly expounded by Eeman and taught to me privately by 'Oskar Kollerstrom, B.A. (Cantab.). During my practice of psychotherapy, there would often appear patients for whom a short-contact therapy seemed most advisable, even imperative. Gradually, then, the relaxation techniques re-emerged and became part of my clinical armamentarium. As time progressed, I gradually discontinued their use. In their place, I used straight hypnotic suggestion, then hypnoanalysis as described by Wolberg, short term psychotherapy as enunciated by French and Alexander on the one hand and Bertrand Frohman on the other.

Eventually. all these. left me greatly dissatisfied. so far as concerned the personality re-structuralization of the patient. I returned to more formal psychoanalytic therapy. but gradually introduced dynamic addenda. about which I have written elsewhere.
It was inevitable then that the vital biological approach of Wilhelm Reich shoUld.appeal to me. As .1. learned more about his vegeto-therapy, so-called because it involves the re-activation of the vegetative or autonomic nervous system. it seemed as though I were obligedtoretum to my earlier approaches. These. as indicated above. revolved about helping the patient to relax. Naturally. there were enormous differencese .based primarily on fifteen years of active experience in analytical psychotherapy.

While therefore this rendition of 1938. is not wholly in. keeping with my present•. more dynamic. approach. yet it still is very interesting to me. And I hope it will. be to others who have yet to embark on the clinical and evolutionary road that life has opened up to me. It is therefore left unrevised and unedited. in: practically the same form that it had several years ago.

F. I. Regardie.

Be yourself!" This seems silly to you? anyone else? You can't imagine being Well. you have no direct awareness. the instincts regardless of 9 .. They are tensions of which.. consciousness is a thing born from and trained by the restricting and peculiarly inhibiting nature of modern social organization. more likely than not. life and present day society look askance at the unmodified expression of . you're right. seeking an opportunity to expend itself or find adequate expression in the external world. You can quite unconsciously be apeing another person altogether-c-one for whom you have had much love or admiration. For instance. surging upwards and outwards all the time. whatever that actually may be. there is the effort upon the part of your own rather apprehensive ego to prevent the upward and outward surge of this dynamic instinctual creative force. It is through the impact of two opposite yet complementary forces that this involuntary tension gradually comes into being. the real "you". but you can be considerably less than your true self. there is on the one hand the dynamic tendency of self. of course. you may be inhibiting yourself out of fear of life. On the other hand. alternatively. After all. In such event. And. or from a lack of knowledge of how to live. is prevented from obtaining creative expression. as well you know. Or. This state of psychic inhibition in itself is productive of quite serious tensions in the spheres both of body and of mind. You can't be someone else. or vital energy within.

. and relaxes. You can-even hold . and gaining new power through the . but the way she acts.No matter how great.' A conflict is being waged within your own heart and mind. The first result of this.•'perfect. to your 10 .. Sec()ndly. So it is with all animals.hands.expect. is. Lift one of its armsoits leg. because.the particular plane upon which they seek manifestation. the perfect power for rest in all animals. . of this. question·this?.muscular tension. ~xcept . in far more satisfying or . rests. how much sYlllpathy and assistance can you .1lla.it on your . and the whole little weight. Youwill find each perfectly relaxed and free. Very. Moreover•.of you reached by this little book-are.-even when you are resting or sleeping.a 'sleeping cat. denied . you are •wasting an enormous amount of energy and power which. a few words. full of life. . then.will give itself entirely. or how intense the activity.soeasilycouldbeemployed.uscular tension. because of this •inner confiictresulting In neuro-m.• from those about you? Very little. not being yourselves. 1 wager. briefly.. social r~jection and ostracism because people prefer to look upon such things as old-fashioned and out-moded. You will see how perfectly relaxed she is in every muscle. In.ttet bow well or il~-defined and developed. you find that you are unable to relax. nowadays. There is also tile risk of. creative directions. Lift up..curspread. or its. you are unable.. people.. Watch a healthy baby sleeping. tofree yourself-beli~yeitor not-. That is not only the way she sleeps. when she stops she is able to drop every . you.· Consider. There is the important factor of economic pressure.. head.in rare cases where man has tampered with them sufficiently to interfere with the true order of their lives. Do you . Large families-e-as manifestationof thisforce on the sexual plane-eare.that you are ina state of nervous and muscular tension from which. if you happen to have artistic Or' creativeabiIities/no...most.rest.

The leg is unsupported because your friend's hand has been removed. and baby dos : and lose yourself in a state ofdeliberate. let your friend raise your leg by the ankle. This•• therefore. hand is holding . If the right . should serve as your ideal of rest. the cat. in the air.ankle. either on the carpeted floor or on abed. Repeat this movement several times. will yield. you would be-s-yeurself. Lie flat on your back. is you who should.hands. whereas it. The only conclusion to be arrived at is that your leg muscles have become involuntarily tense.be free and healthy and well. Let your friend who is standing on your . cOnsciously-induced relaxation. in what is technically known as the popliteal space. the ankle. let..Were you (lbleto "undo" yourself as completely as. take hold of your right leg under the. The probability is that your leg will remain flexed or extended in mid-air. If your muscles are flexed or tense without your n . bed. Let's try an experimentsyouandI together.: This accomplisheds . It may take you. this tension. and drop it. . Now it is obvious that energy is required to tense muscles.particle of tension. Before dropping it. It is not-my intention to be dogmatic. From-this you 'will readily be able to . you can prove everything Isayor suggest.realize whetherotnot what I have to say applies to you. The former is preferable-for the soft . and in reality it is but the thigh which is being supported. . would disappear by itself. Remain quite still for a few seconds with your eyes closed. The experiment can and should be reciprocated.right side. Remove the right hand.some seconds to realize that you are holding it there.y-ou would then. without one .jn the air at an angle of about forty-five degrees. Ask him tor~ise it six or seven inches. . let him place his other hand under the knee. yield: Havea friend nearby to aid you in this experiment. trying your utmost to relax your entire body. the left hand be placed in the hollow space back of knee.

Here. It is a complex mechanism which is capable of transforming the locked-up energy implicit in food. in only two of the several partial physiological systems of the body-the circulatory and respiratory systems-c-you consume practically one third of all the 12 . Of course. with which you are prodigal.the total body energy. energy which. Most of us today. For example. like a locomotive. Since we in this country' understand things so much better if we are given statistics. Actually. is primarily a machine. remember. it does not really matter very much. You and I need every ounce of the energy that we have in order to live and work and enjoy all the wonderful opportunities that life has placed before us in such a profligate manner. there are not many of these individuals. The so-called basal metabolism test is one way of measuring how much energy We Consume in vital bodily function. Since all bodily functions depend upon oxygen consumption. A considerable amount of energy obviously is required to carry on even the internal work . if you are one of those unusually lucky people with an inexhaustible store-of energy and are very vital and dynamic. In reality.lungs. if your engine burns enough fuel or if it burns too much. consume some 20 per cent of'. it is thus possible to estimate whether you function too rapidly or too slowly. just think of the 'vast quantity of energy.of the bodily mechanism of which we are not even aware. it measures your ability to inspire and utilize oxygen. The diaphragm. let me try and give you a few significant figures and facts which may assist your understanding. in a resting man the heart utilizes about. in order to maintain the movement of oxygen through the . The body. you are wasting. 10 per cent of the total energy intake in forcing the blood through the circulatory system. need to conserve our vitality. and chest muscles. in short. in the hectic rush of modern life. into the dynamic energy of work and motion.conscious knowledge or intention. however.

This form of energy.energy you have at your disposal. This may mean a delay of about an hour before your turn arrives. reproduction and other vital functions. as much as one-half of the total body. you have placed yourself in the chair. Afterwards it becomes very difficult to "unlax" and get rid of these tensions created by anxiety and anticipation. you are already in the chair enduring the tortures of the damned. It 13 . and wait quietly. in a state of acute neuromuscular tension. fear. have you noticed how you react when you go to a dentist's office? The waiting-room seats three or four other people. It has been emotionally the equivalent of several visits to the dentist. Nothing could be simpler than to sit down. This explains why a person becomes tired. rhythmical muscular contractions by means of which bodily heat is maintained. at the expiration of the hour. simply by waiting and doing nothing. Ten per cent is utilized in the work of digestion and assimilation of the foods you eat. so active. Twenty per cent to 30 per cent is consumed in other vital work of excretion. as well as other emotional activities. you feel utterly exhausted. Why? Because you have not sat quietly reading but were anticipating in your imagination the entire ordeal in the dentist's chair. energy expended may be traced to nothing but muscular tension under the stimulus of worry. pick up one of the many magazines that you expect to find in such a room. Instead. or excitement of any kind. every muscle quivering with nervous energy. reparation. For example. cannot be made to gain weight. nervousness. Even when in a state of complete rest. About 35 per cent is used in the rapid. The set of facts involved is significant. With your mind.expenditure may be increased to many times the normal amount. even to exhaustion. as well as in glandular action. Imaginatively. Here we have ample reason why a worried person or even a harried animal.

you will be surprised to see how you are holding yourself on the bed. busy life. in her work. with tense muscles. Watch. Unusual though the discovery of this. you might just as logically throw your dinner. as I suggest above. your body is deprived of the opportunity. Yet this is the common experience of a good half of our population. Rarer still is the individual who. The ability to obtain complete rest is an art which. individual here and there has somehow retained from childhood the happy faculty of immediate relaxation. Only an. and unless you are an exceptional case (unhappily there are a few such). this rarity must be overcome. If you cannot relax and rest properly in order to give your nervous system the needed opportunity to recoup and recharge itself. which is considered one of the great classics. so nearly all over that a little more tension would hardly increase the fatigue with which you are working. scientific. to assimilate food and extract the necessary energy. You would get no nourishment this way. it is abundantly clear that. finds it again in the acquisition of a deliberate technique for SO doing. Throwing your food away. instead of trying to hold themselves on the bed.all their brilliance in the many fields of professional.. technique is amongst the people we meet in every day life. by being unable to relax. out of thewindow to the dogs. 14 . "Few who pretend to rest give up entirely to the bed. in spite of'. if not all over.emphasizes the importance of complete rest as a favorable. letting the bed hold them. As Annie Payson can wrote. but now unfortunately out of print. would be no more senseless than the ridiculous way in which most of us try to sleep or rest now. We wonder why we remain fatigued and exhausted after hours in bed. and commercial endeavor. a dead weight. certainly in the larger cities. Similarly. in increasing the body weight. having lost it in the turmoilof our modern. Power Through Repose. even necessary factor. for example. few people have mastered.

we must have a simple technique which predisposes toward an easy relaxation of our faculties. After a few seconds of this 15 . because the demands of modern life are: so exacting. Try two Of three more little essays in this direction. the handsand arms contracted. like myself. "The head.rest there easily from end to end. the muscles of the legs tense. The knees are drawn up. will permit. If so much of Our own substance and energy . and the muscles of the face drawn up in one way or another."The spine seems to be the central point. and the fingers clinched. it touches at each end and just so far along from each end as the man or woman who is holding it. and wearing." 1 do not want to burden )OU or terrify you with fearful descriptions of tension or with sets of useless figures. instead of letting the pillow have its full weight. who. is being constantly. It is upon this one consideration. either holding the pillows or themselves. have obligations to render to life and family. The tongue cleaves tothe roofof the mouth.' it does not give to the bed and. expended. But it is urgent to emphasize this matter of bodily activity or metabolism using up vital energy. The little experiment suggested almost at the outset should have shown YOu how urgent is your need for relaxation. It is very simple. only requires it but actually desires it I say "desire" advisedly. All unnecessary and complicated details have been eliminated so as to render it usable by the average man and woman. in order that a speedier recuperation of vital function be established. and see how much your body not. of tension. It must be able to relax both our bodily functions and ourselves generally. the throat muscles are contracted. holds itself onto the pillow. The technique I propose to delineate here does precisely this. that my entire thesis depends: the absolute necessity for relaxation. exhausting.

for then you can work reciprocally and be a help to each other. Why are those abdominal muscles taut just now? Those shoulder and neck vmuscles. In my own practice 1 find a good hard bench (like a massage table or a diagnostic bench) with only a minimum of padding or cushioning. none of this precious energy must be wasted in unnecessarily tensing muscles that are not being employed. almost gay and happy. you will experience such a comfort. spent in relaxation will work wonders. is most effectual in order to teach the subject. Lie down on something hard. You will eventually come to realize that you should have done this long ago. once or twice a day. a wooden bench or on a rug-covered floor. There you will be confronted by the psychological crisis which is so desirable. such an exquisite sense of relief-yes. make the effort toward eliminating them. You will feel light. reliefthat you will actually heave a series of very deep sighs. A few minutes. Your body needs relaxation. lying down on a hard surface. Here you are then. someone who too would like to learn how to relax. the sort of sigh you would heave 16 . and consequently. If these vital metabolic processes delineated in the foregoing paragraphs are to continue adequately and satisfactorily. lying fiat on your back. You must now begin to learn something of the gentle and invaluable art of relaxation. whilst reading. why should they be rigid as. It is as though an enormous weight were taken off your chest and your mind were lifted of a terrible burden. You will find the floor so thoroughly uncomfortable that you will soon become aware of the tautness and tensions of your own body. Take a few very deep sighs. Carry out your experimental work with a friend or someone living with you.posture. you lean your head against the wing of your club armchair? There is no need to do this at all.

Your body is like a friend or marriage partner with whom you spend your life. its peculiar tendencies and characteristics. eat with it. You will discover that you never really knew yourself. Such being the case. and so forth. once you overcome the symptoms of indigestion or billiousness. In all probability. learn to accept and humor them. and lungs. is no new continent. too. when indigestion has made you aware of stomach discomfort. relax with it.if your heart were breaking. You have been all your life a 17 B . a heart. loyal servant. You will enjoy it after a while. This sort of awareness is pathological and unhealthy. Lie quietly like that for a few seconds. Of course. we all know we have two arms. This new world. you have never had any awareness of what your own physical body feels like. what a faithful. the greater part of the muscles and tissue supplied by the involuntary nervous system. no strange intriguing field like electronics or mechanics. however. All bodily activities sink back once more into complete unconsciousness . You live with it. The body will do the same for you. It is actually an introduction into a new world. observing yourself all the time. the body. There have been occasions. with it vanishes the awareness. you may as well learn its whims and caprices. learn to co-operate and work with them.where they rightly belong. learn to notice what the body feeling is like. Become familiar with. sleep with it all your life. two legs. You will be surprised to find what a good friend. or even the films or the theatre. During these experiments watch yourself and watch your body. During the process of relaxation you learn to recognize the distinctive physical sensations that accompany your body. your body can be. liver. If the diaphram and abdominal muscles relax. Once the cause is eliminated. no doubt. Be keenly observant when you relax. At once you discover a certain degree of loosening-up occurring. will loosen up with it. This new world is only you.

the abdomen. relaxed.These steps. Deep sighs. "Sigh. a. thorough physical examination in an effort·to find out why he was always tired. with no organic qisorder. Theexamination had shown him t8 be ill perfect physical condition. In order to make as clear as possible the steps involved in this technique. and drew another sigh. "Stop watching me. I shall describe atypicalsessioll with a patientwhom we'll call Mr. .go'. A had undergone. These. ' Mr. why his nerves were on edge. from deep . No outsider is needed. automatically. A. Heave a few deep . loosening up.down in.Lie down on some. you will be grateful to have learned this art of relaxation.cando this by yourself. are: the first preliminary steps." I said. "Now close your eyes. forget about the pictures on the walt Closeyour eyes and just think about how you feet" He closed his eyes. for good measure.· When it was suggested tohitn that. he • was always tired.·This· makes you aware of how unrelaxed you are. But he continued to be tired. Make the effottand the introduction takes place.for me to show-him whatI was talking about. why he had no energy. Don't try to stop it ftom 18 . When· you come to know yourself well and familiarly. Moreover. So now he was lying on my treatment table. somewhat self-consciously. will .stranger to yourself. "Sigh:' I suggested. from way down in your abdomen}' He obeyed.. he had been scepticaL. waiting. "I'm going to pick up your right leg by the ankle. ." 1 said.far toward ensuring the induction of some degree of real. because he never'..iand-hed finally decided that it couldn't do any harm to look into this matter of relaxation. you . then.sighs. hard surface. to introduce you to this intriguing stranger. . . "and then let go of it. "What?" His tone was bewildered.

Just loosen up the muscles and let it drop!' Several times I picked up the right leg. that's been keeping you tired." I said encouragingly. a couple otinches up on the thigh.same with. and is then under your control. but instead of dropping it." I picked up his left leg. extended leg. "You see. A asked. A opened his eyes. "how qujckly you're learning to relax'i. "What are you stoppingfor?" I . some . Now let's try the other 'leg. "No. and let itf~l1 heavily to the table. done it repeatt. I did the. The left leg began to bend at the knee.beginning. It's involuntary tension that's keeping that leg up in the air. What I want you to do is withdraw nervous energy from those·. before 1 removed my other hand from his ankle. the leg remained rigid..up his right leg again. What you ju~t ." He. started-to-bend his knee. but I stopped him. A. to ceaseto waste energy by keeping your muscles uselessly tenser Mr. laughed. It is involuntary tension. it's within your power to eliminate them.fi1usclesby thinking.falling. After a moment Mr.the whole secret of successful relaxation is nothing but self-awareness. the left leg. As soon as you become conscious of it. "Is this all there is to relaxing?" "Oh. Instead of clroppingatthe knee. . no. Mr. "What's the matter?"· he-asked.. "Why are you holdingitup?"I asked. slipped my hand under his knees.learned from your right leg.dly. the rigidly. in. and then let go of the ankle. As a matter of fact. I put one hand under his knee. Once you become aware of thesetensions.. you've begun to apply to the. allover your body. "I thought you were holdingitup. I don't want you to use muscular energy to force it down. left one. it ceasesto beinvotuntary.indicated. "I can certainly think of better ways i 19 ."l picked . extended at a 45 degree angle. After I had. surprise. this is just the.

This time they responded immediately. and with the other gave his knees a slight shove to the right. Here. Politely I inquired. "Yeah. "You mean my knees ought to tumble. powerful muscles of the thighs and hips was completelygone. The 'kinks' come from nothing more than a perfectly useless resistance to the pull of gravity. There's nothing to stop them except the. After I'd repeated this several times. Let's try it again. up and down and sideways. you can relax it. let me show you how it works in your hip muscles. "What are you pointing at?" 20 ." Grasping his ankles with one hand. I moved them up the center again. "You see how simple it is?" He grinned. to hold them still. Straightening out his legs.rested the elbow on the bench. right over?" "Certainly. What about the rest of me? Can you take the kinks out of my back and shoulders the way you haveout of my legs?" "Certainly. Jput One hand on his feet. They moved an inch or so. and pushed to the left.slid the other hand under his knees. the tenseness in the heavy. I raised his legs.gravity?" Mr.of using up energy.assumes when propping a book against the knees while reading in bed. then they tumbled over quite loosely. and let go of the ankles. and held the forearm straight up by the finger tips. There was a momentary resistance. I took hold of his right hand and shook it gently." Once more I gave his knees a slight push to the right. Then I . Now that you know the tensions' there. and separated the knees. They fell outward to their respective sides. "See what I mean about resisting the pull of. The lower leg dropped. The forearm remained extended in mid-air." 1 pulled his knees up again.. his feet were flat on the benchmuch the position one . After you know. then stopped when I let up the pressure. I removed my hand. nothing to it. A. considered for a moment. tension in your hip muscles.

Mr. A." He tried to obey. andreleased it quickly." Lreached across him and repeated the performance on his left arm. watched." "That's the way they should. and because of the conscious relaxation. I helped him by gripping each shoulder and moving." After a short . "It's just a matter of knowing when your muscles are tense. eh? No wonder I was tired. "You see. it fell immediately when I let goof it. toward me. his forearm dropped to the bench with a thud." As he spoke. glanced at his arm and grinned again. but both shoulders moved together: "One at a time. I want you to shrug your shoulders-one shoulder at a time. But when you use up nervous energy keeping muscles tensed without even knowing they are tense~that's a pretty stupid way of using up energy you need for other things. you can remove the energy that's tensing them." I said. "It feels like three sacks of flour. "Half a dozen times with each shoulder.struggle he succeeded in breaking':the habitual co-ordination that made his shoulders move simultaneously. "My upper arm and forearm and hand all feel heavy and loose." T repeated. "Same old thing. A.feel. Then I pulled each shoulder. A. commented. "That's more like it. one at a time. with considerable vigor. After I had repeated the movement several 21 . and the tension went out of the left arm a great deal faster than it had with the right." I answered. or not. his head waggling. away from the bench. isn't it?" I lifted his right arm by the finger tips again.. After he had loosened them up somewhat by this method. just as you wish. "Now. when you let go. When you know it. now.them up and down. alternately." Mr. Energy used in keeping muscles tense when there's some good reason for their tenseness isn't wasted energy. His body dropped heavily back to the bench.Mr.

It's equivalent .. "It's amazing:' he said.of courage. and pressed on it. A. press and release. Immediatelys ' the muscles under my hand contracted. then observed. the·waggling of." Mr. 22 .it shouldn'thurt." With my finger tips. or whether it was just defense mechanism-an automatic attempt on your part to protect the soft parts of the body by tensing the."To mymind. Press and release.times with each shoulder. It's an admission offear-or at least a lack ." He breathed a deep. pressure will only hurt if Y0\. But Lcouldn'trell. to the mental attitude that many people have. That nagging.. downward to the right side of the fleshy and muscular part of the abdomen.the head became more pronounced. with the flat of my hand. "how quiet and poised I feel inside. I nodded.. not too heavily. .The more tense you are. • But ." He paused a moment. •"Golly. I repeated the same process onthe. "Does that hurt?" I asked. "I get your point there.. I pressed gently into the abdomen just above the regionof the navel. Llocatedthe top of . the crest near the anterior superior spine. "No. Mr. that. We're going to attack another set of tensions.l resist it. whether it was because I was hurting you.the hips~the bone called the ilium.." . A.. . Mr. That's a general principle that can be applied to a good many aspects of living...wall of defence.toward-Iife-c-an attempt to escape pain •by enclosing themselves in an iron. I'll tryto keep it in mind. Then. nervous feelingis practically gone.heaved a sigh of contentment.. I feel good. shook his head. nodded appreciatively.muscles that shelter them.-severaltirnes.A.: this is only the beginning. always. Should it?" I smiled at the question.Ieft side. Remember•. that's the test of true relaxation.. when those muscles tensed up. now. the more pain is felt from the pressure. . "No. Then I slipped my fingers off its uppermost point. indicating that the neck muscles were relaxing more and more.

"I've. "Better.because. the quieter ." "It's . Maintaining the pressure. . I'd skip this part Qf.since I started this: pressure on your ribs?" ~'Yes-~l seem to be breathing exclusively with my abdomen-s-and a few moments ago. though-s-every time I sigh. It's an excellent symptom.downwards. chest muscles. the.in fact.just under the breasts. the rib cage. moving." Mr. When you breathe abdominally." 1 nodded.contented sigh.aware23 . have you?" I asked. Sort of quiet.almost as' good as being asleep.. I said. been wondering if you'd noticed that. must relax.It'safunny thing. inside. "No.another part will move instead. sigh. "Yeah." "That's exactly what 1 was telling you-e-lf you prevent one part of your breathingapparatus from moving. then exerted a slight pressure ashe exhaled. ." "You haven'tany heart trouble. I feel that much better. I laughed. besides being an expression of relaxation. The more you. this. when you were leaning onmy stomach. Have you noticed what's happened to your breathing .calls your attention to the tensions of the chest muscles-and as you have found out•. another part will move instead." .hands in the middle of your chest and press gently. the technique. . keep from $ighing. "You've probably never realized how completely flexible and mobile your breathing apparatus is'""'-the lungs. sigh. when I'm .tributes toward a deeper relaxation. Emotional tension and other inward difficulties make 'the whole thoracic cage ·stiff and inflexible.A murmured drowsily. .l!l1oticed that--""I can't seem to. for each.you'Il feel. "You sound more as though your heart were broken. cop. If one part of the mechanism is prevented from.asleep I can'tappreciate ho:o/ good it feels. 1 was breathing with my collar bones.When I place my . Why?" "Because if you had. temporarily unused." I placed my hands on his ribs. the chest. themselves.

Again. and didn't even bother to open his eyes. A. I stepped back from the bench." I lifted his head. "How do you feel now?" Mr. It lasts for a few minutes and is most refreshing. we've just about finished with the loosening up--we'll give your head the last touch. It is as though the entire personality succumbs to its habitually conditioned reaction of falling into sleep when there is no activity to keep it focussed. Repeated experience. instead of a heavy. But this is a reaction which is soon overcome. aching burden I had to drag around with me. we'll check on it. When obvious bodily activities cease. Rolling it gently from side to side. Now. The stiff. awkward movement that indicated resistance and tension. it feels good now. disappeared rapidly. stretched luxuriously. "Anyway. Whilst relaxing. It is best to let him do so. I raised and dropped it several times. anyway." "I thought you fixed my neck up when you were doing my shoulders. slipped my other hand under it to protect it. and lapse forthwith into the unconsciousness of slumber. and sleep logically develops. no body movements are taking place. It is as though the relief induced by the elimination of gross tension is too much to be borne.ness of tension is all that's necessary to eliminate it. on the outside world. A." At this juncture the patient quite often goes fast to sleep. for a change. "As though my body were a comfortable place to live in. because of false associations we imagine ourselves too as ceasing to exist.. used on his legs-and dropped it. we may say that all through our lives there is such a complete identification of mind and body that we are unable to conceive of ourselves as apart from the body and its activities." said Mr." "Well. and used the same technique rd. of the relaxed state brings with it 24 .

They will envy and respect you for it. To the method described above. All your latent abilities and mental powers and faculties become sharpened. let me add another method. Energy is defined as that which can perform work. drag your leg up slowly. You may even be asked what has happened to you. as I have remarked. One becomes accustomed to living in and with a relaxed frame which is not exhausting its vital energies in. Hence. one requiring at first the assistance of another person.fresh acquisition of intellectual power and capacity. Energy must do something. "After the deep breathing. simpler in a sense. What happens to the energy therefore? In. It was worked out many years ago by a brilliant relaxation exponent. We might liken the phenomenon to a process of incubation. that other people may even notice it. the work it does is entirely psychological in nature and scope. being retained within. that energy must do something. If energy is not being wasted in keeping your neck or your abdomen or thigh rigid and taut. This will be the most obvious result from your effort. energy is considered very concretely as that which will do work. if you are relaxed and there is no needless expenditure of metabolic energy. So much so. There should be a. A distinct exaltation must accompany the process.acclimatization. physics. designated for self-operation. The energy remaining within starts to "hatch" you. and it is sufficiently excellent to warrant inclusion here at some length. Especially may people notice the poise and the repose which you are showing. goes towards heightening and clarifying the mind. Your personality becomes bolder and more clearly defined. and this you will find to be extremely worth while: worth all the effort you may have expended. That vital energy. maintaining unnecessary and useless tensions. therefore. Now. very slowly. it is still retained within your own system. trying to have no effort 25 .

the testing Or proving of tension. Stop occasionally in the motion and let the weight come into the heel. so that it falls by pieces. arm held to the slroulder by a single hair.. This I call the first session's work. so that it gives entirely and drags from its own weight. After this. with the other leg. it will drop off entirely.." . with the leg heavier than the time before. It helps to relax if you imagine your. The same result for the head and body can be procured by rolling from side to side a few times. touches without effort on your part. In my own professional practice. sole of the foot. with the other arm and repeat this three times. there isa pleasant little spring tromthe Impetus. the whole 26 ...or dropping. let go. let the force of gravity have it . of the body. and that if you move it with a force beyond the minimum needed to raise it. Follow the same motion. Let the leg slip slowly down. "After the arm is raised to a perpendicular position. trying each time to move more slowly. the first experiment in relaxation goes no further than what has just been described. lift the arm slowly from the shoulder. a11d the moul'e power in the shoulder. Be careful to think the arm heavy. allowing the knee to bend. and when it is nearly flat on the floor again. "IUs well to repeat the movements . until it is up so far that the. The same motion must be repeated. but very quickly.except in the hip joint. letting the hand hang over until it is perpendicular to the floor. each day. and then tne forearm and hand.. and dragging the heel heavily along the floor.. the same procedure is gone through. as is often the case. Every movement should be slower. If the tensions are severe.or the legs three times. first the upper arm to the elbow. When the patient comes a second time. It is pedectly free. which is more or less according to the state· of health. trying to improve with each repitition. then drag the foot with less effort than before-so will the strain of movement be steadily decreased.

completely at ease and' relaxed. observe rather closelythe habits of old people. find a rapid reflex tension in that area. When next you visit your grandparents or other elderly people. that their feet are 27 . For example. The patient is lying quiet and still. neck and shoulders. But do you realize that if you. and can afford. and no new work is undertaken. The subject of relaxation is strictly scientific. each step with its psychological reactions is absolutely open to verification by each one of you. it should drop easily and dully when my restraining hand is removed.period is devoted to a repetition of proving. We test similarly.it in playing vigorously.certain that the grosser tensions have been completely eliminated. the patient is ready to go forward. arms are flung outwards on the bench or divan in spread-eagle fashion. If the abdomen is gently prodded. etc. You notice first. All are relaxed. you would be throwing off long streamers of energy? I do not want you to take my word alone for the statements I happen to make. chest and abdomen. as it were. exercising. an adult. were to sleep that way. Legs are spread several inches apart. hands. As we stated in the foregoing. The patient looksIike a young child whom you surprise on a.to waste . making. notice how they sit when they are resting. the second session is begun by repeating the acto! testing the condition of the muscular tensions. There. When I find that tensions ate very largely eliminated. Three or four sessions are often devoted to the same process. on his bed is the child with his little limbs flung. feet. and we begin to work out a plan for the next phase of deepening or' heightening the awareness of a relaxed body. Ldo not expect to. So far as concerns this question of energy. chance visit to the nursery. This posture is well enough for children and youngster-so They have unlimited supplies of energy. in every direction. if an arm is raised. The description of. and sleeping in this spread-eagle manner.

the fingers interlaced over the stomach? The significance should be clear. We are trying to learn how to relax and to eliminate tensions from the body. If you look closer. Energy-an abundance of energy-is necessary if we are to live and function to our best advantage. you see their hands are clasped with fingers interlocked.crossed at the ankle. if you are following me step by step. does not have this surplus of vitality. rug-covered 28 .effect on the circulation of the blood). you are on the hard wood. and the aged person with feet crossed at the ankles (legs crossed at the knee would produce a deleterious . but we also. are shown the way of achievement. The next step proceeds in this manner: The patient is relaxed and spread-eagled on the massage bench. and system. or. The older person. so as to make better use of the dynamic currents of energy coursing through us in order the more happily to live and to know ourselves better. What is. and. mind. The hands rest on the solar plexus just under the stomach. or in the lap. the method of resting. They seem to be resting easily and well this way and are altogether comfortable. the significance of these two postures? The child with extremities spread-eagled and flung in every direction. The . on the other hand. Not only is this indicated. All this is indicated by the pose.growing child is endowed by nature with a super-abundance of energy. This he does not bother to conserve and is as lavish in its expenditure even as nature has been prodigal in pouring her gifts upon him. We want to be ourselves in order to' better and more fully Jive life. So we take advantage of this observation practically and pragmatically. He now feels there is a necessity for conserving it and making the best use of what little vitality he has left. What is important is the question whether or not this observation has any practical value so far as we are concerned.

There is no doubt in my mind that here we are confronted by an absolutely scientific fact. unless the patient is stout or has a tendency to cardiac .that case. He is again "done up. Again. raising them somewhat. a small pillow or cushion is placed under the neck and back part of the head. whatever the explanation of the fact is. I take both hands (patient does not assist me) and interlace his fingets myself.· This is the only exception. He remains in this position for a minute. Again and again I repeat this process without any remarks to the patient. Legs and arms are again spread-eagled. "Do you feel most still and comfortable spreadeagled? Or is the relaxation more profound with arms and legscrossed?" Invariably. I place them between the navel and the end of the sternum or breast-bone. This process I have repeater again and again. In . even pleasure. the answer is that with the legs crossed and fingers interlaced there is a greater degree of comfort and inner warmth. without the utterance of a singleword I "undo" him. is an old meditation posture-we produce a kind of closed electrical circuit wherein the circulating energy turns in upon itself and revolves as it were in its own closed nervous system. A large pillow is rolled and slipped under the knees.floor. The feet are crossed at the ankles in such a way that both heels rest on the bench. as wellas a strona senseof satisfaction. by the way." which is my expression for crossing the ankles and interlacing the fingers on the stomach. When this closed 29 .incoordination. No pillow is under the head. Without a word. Eventually I ask him in which of these positions he felt most comfortable. By so crossing the legs and interlacing the fingers which. I permit the individual to remain in this position for about a minute. . There he lies on thebench with limbs flung in every direction.

n is involved in a fatigue syndrome. Then each orga. energy turned in upon itself gradually generates an increasing abundance of energy. It seems to the patient. The wits become dull. over-fatigue and psychic conflicts create neuro-muscular tensions. does not bring us the refreshment and recharging. as well as many other functions are 30 . chronic fatigue is produced-a very dangerous state. is only part of the story. . our normal reserves of energy are very much eaten into and consumed. one sense. in a state of chronic muscular contractions. and it becomes necessary to get up and do something. that his store of energy actually creates a distinct surplus. while relaxing in this way.Actually. Inner psychic conflicts and struggles within the mind itself which use up our reserves of energy and exhaust us-these are other phases of the story. We know there are occasions for many of us when sleep. Thus. Both. the body heat is maintained and distributed by oxidation in the cells themselves. For muscle to remain tense. It is known that power produces power-vjust as wealth will go on producing and increasing wealth. during complete'rest. this cannot be due to the mere cessation of active work and movement.magnetic sphere is produced. even during sound sleep. Hence. there' is the rhythmical inhalation and exhalation of the oxygen in the lungs. then we are confronted by another equally interesting phenomenon. Over-fatigue. which is one explanation. The heart muscle continues to beat regularly and to pump blood through the arteries. In this case. In. the memory impaired. There are many factors to account for this. liver action and kidney excretion.of energy that we would expect of it. His posture almost converts him into a "step-up" transformer. So pronounced does this become that it may prove impossible to remain in the relaxed state. which is a cessation of active work. energy must be used. and the ability to learn is very markedly decreased. the body cells in various organs and tissues are hard at work.

. It probably costs us almost more measurable energy to repair our bodies-to eliminate toxins. Sleep and rest..arteries. . all demanding the expenditure of a terrific amount of energy. But while' relaxed in the manner I have indicated.~~eulation of blood.there is an impediment to the ability of the body to repair itself. You must experiment yourself with your own body to obtain relaxation and observe these 31 . You may possibly disagree with my formulation of the observed facts or with any of myphysiologicalexplanations. The body's own alchemical laboratory will go on generating more power and energy itself. and an easier inspiration of breath. That is.. tension i·~At. 1 am afraid you will find yourself greatly disappointed when you come to observe oriperforra experiments upon the majority of sleeping people. The chief requirement of sound sleep is that it should permit adequate reparation. When tension and contraction are habitual states of life. . and moreover restricts breathing and other functions related to it. it should permit the body to recoup itself. when muscles and nerves are involuntarily taut and rigid•. Contraction of muscles wastes nervous and muscular energy.This permits a freer )/. Cell reproduction and rebuilding of tissue can therefore continue without too great an expenditure of energy.continued. and thus generate more energy for general somatic utilization. relaxation occurs. All the general metabolistic functions are performed as before. If you think that upon going to sleep a spontaneous. a slowing down of the overworked heart. therefore. strains and overworks the heart. imply work. That is unimportant.'l~lcontraction tend to disappear. to rebuild and develop broken down tissues-than it costs to use them. with arms and legs placed in a comfortable position permitting t~~w~ntercommunication of bodily nervous force. to elevate the reserves of cellular vitality. It hinders the free circulation of blood by impeding normal dilation of .

it was in a quiet tone. upon physical methods of inducing. For the moment. First. Mr. came into the office. of nervous and muscular tension -a ridiculous burden which culminatesin nervous exhaustion. you are only beginning. nervous speech he had used when he. When he spoke. which he did reluctantly. Once again I shall resort to an interview betweenmyself and a supposed patient.incidents. Heretofore. his fingers interlaced. A. Having experimented. I pulled up a chair beside the bench he lay on. A little later I shall enter this matter more thoroughly. his feet crossed. It will be a slight matter to translate into an experience obtaining between you and a friend or a.deep and regular. "Are you right-handed?" I asked. I do so to assist your own understanding of the process. relax. Sofar. sighs indicate contentment 'i~?d relaxation quite as frequently as they reveal a.the giving-up of tensions. we have relied exclusively. Explain them afterwards if you wish. The relief and pleasure resulting were expressed by those sighs. Contrary to the romantic. therefrom. Now we approachit from an entirely different angle-s-the ability of your own mind to produce an effect upon the physiology of your body. fictional interpretation. sense of comfort and ease and poise' resulting'. you will then appreciate the force of my remarks. This technique can be carried considerablyfurther. trou~~~d: soul. to revel in the. sensations. A's case the relaxation already induced'li)(i the physical methods employed had . every now and then he sighed. so good! You may begin now to compliment yourself on the degree of relaxation obtained. In Mr. His breathing was.relative-anyone who is co-operating with you. We now extend it in a slightly different direction. Unfortunately. and psychological phenomena. very different from the high-pitched. resulted in the· dropping of his burden. 32 . these are the facts: you are encouraged to try them out yourself. lay on the massage table.

lying upon his solar plexus. the easier it is' to rel~ mentally-the tYV9work hand in hand. Why?" "If you weren't. ' After your physicalreJaxation has..the more proficient you become.two. . didn~tthink . "Don't maJ<e any effort. A. you're very..3 e . Then he.' Mr.11 sort of awareness of~y body as a thing itself. Imagine thlltyoll're malting an.right . Eventually•. of the body mounting and mounting.Instead of .said. ·jllstatnoment you'll be.. "Yes." I placed my left .a crescendo ." . And you'll find your awareness.ofpure feeling. heavy:-that you weigh three or. I'd sit on your left• ." ··. .l'e lying·on. fOllr tons.1 could feel any. "Don't do ." "Relaxation is an art. "1. and that in .."Yes. use.you·llhavethe task of mental relaxation to deal with. "one' funny '. Pretend that.. said. . A.. . your imagination. "I want you tQ·.definHely. .Tm even more relaxed .here. "That'sgcod-e-that proves that the relaxation is doing what it's supposed to do.just yet/'J .that. But tbe more relaxed you are physically.hand onthecrown of his head. and then it will fall away from you altogether. instead of an integralpartof me:' I nodded. "Don't move:' 1 said. it will reach a sort of peak•. T4e 3..through. reached its peak. YOU'. -. like other arts•. tbingl've noticed isa sortof detachment J never experienced before-as though my body were separate from llle -i1's. morerelaxed__but 1 do.myright hand under his interlaced fingers. and Jet ~e know whethermy linking myself toyouthi$wayimprov~s your relaxation and deepens yoursense ofc()mfOltY Mr. A was quiet for a few minutes. the more you ptactice.-and I didn't think-that \VaS possible." . Then he said. ·thoughtfully... '. Just-observe yourself for a minute Or . the ftoo r 1:>y gl'llvity.l could go rightto sleep. enormous indentation in the bench.'~Ybuknow:' said Mr. I don't even want to talk.. lI1tnostina. was silent for quite a long time. pulled .udibly.

For example. from 'emetional. it's.. illatom~ of considerable surprise. on the picture.·. . a .. the muscles hanging from the knee cap down to the ankle.the hip bone to the knee. Lswear 1 c<>uld feel a sort of loosening up. me what happens. You've thought relaxation into the area you were concentrating .of wool . Think of them as severalsttands of fibres•. all dangling loosely from a fixed point.nl(. doubtfully. the muscles on the abdomen.. Mr.le: . Imaginethese fibres danglisg: easily and freely from the. h~ve always thought . A. spine.sense . from.and hands. Clos~ your eyes . Then. A. nodded. I want." "That's splendid~that's what I wanted you to do. to the.skein in the air?" Mr. looks . then stop and notice the sense of 34 ..' "Fine. the muscles of the neck .you to •inlagine your muscles as so many skeins of wool. finally.· arms•. think of the muscles in your foot." said Mr. . After I had thought about my footfora fewmoments.like. and not of the body and its organs and Junctions which you.and tell.and shoUlders. around the chest. neck.and concentrate. as you really are.on. y09 to call on your inlagination again. bOne round . For example.dangling from the ll. Actually. Then he said. was silent for several seconds.sort of release .of body will disappear•.. with an . extending from the ankle to the toes. the . awann.hat a skein . tingling feeling. "That's funny. the muscles along the back on each side of the vertebrae. following the direction of the ribs from the breast.'.ofas you.. 1 can picture that. Now I want .• Take your time doing this. and muscular bondage:' "J!mnot sure I know what yoomean. tightdown to my toes. "Yes. "Now.threads.and you will became aWare of yourseli aware of you. "You will:' I assured hiIn. Now carry on with the same idea in other regions.forearms . You know ".. hanging loose from the fingers when you dangle the . A.

Whether it is n~yrely becoming conscious of. third . It produces the samefeelingsaslhad when you began callingmy attentiontotbe tensions in my legs and arms. Finally be sighedandsaid. .will produce the relaxation of muscular fibre and tissue.fteedomandrelease tbatcomesfromit. .muscular wall of the •veins and. That this Can be done is an accredited fact. thus relaxing those walls and pennitting an. If we know that there are tensions ina certain limb or organ.the vessels.The. For example.increasedflow of. in.. Y ouhave made her conscious of . n." th~ process issinlllarinsofar asweemplQY *"ctively the This comple~es th9 secotidstage. you say to a small child that she is pretty. c· 35 .the fact is of tremendous significance.or that nervous imP4lses are conveyed to the . we can by thinking about it. ." 1. A surplus amount of blood or a congestion will cause a degree of heat which. nevertheless.her Iittle face and this consciousness produces the effect noted. stage of iInagimltion i: There. Blushing isthe result of an increased supply of blood.the blQod alreadY in . waitedpati~ntly while Mr.turn. Although for her this. fibres which relax blood vessels and cause the blood to flowthere.blood through an enlarged lumen-all this is important. A struggled with this unaccustolTIeddemand on his imagination.isa well-known physiological la\li that an increasedllowofblood to any part of the body call be produced by concentrating on that part of the Pody.unaccustomed to suchcompIiments she wilHikelyblush. Just as the muscles respondeclto your visualization of them as threads ofwool. arteries in the ~reacoDtemplated."lsee what you mean. is an involuntary neurological phenomenon. stimulate vaso-dilator nerve.flowing to the .Our task of relaxation. This is a law weourselves can utilize in awholly constructive way with regard to .vessels of the face and neck. . that we desire.there.

muddled feeling I've had so long that I'd gotten used to it." I said. It doesn't take any effort to imagine it. . You've seen diagrams and. I feel clear-headed. then te1l me what happens. if anything. mental effort. I still had one hand on the crown of his head. Mr. were going away. "try to visualize blood flowing down the forehead from the brain to the eyes. of your imagination. First of all."This process. using Mr. A again as an easier method of exposition. A. twisted in upon itself. with a front and rear. and hold it firmly in your mind.behind your eyes the four chains. those four chains. two hemispheres.descending from the brain down. the bench. A nodded. Picture it." . relaxed and quiet. I want you to yisualize your brain." "Now. A was still lying on. convoluted and. Got the picture?" He nodded again. "It seems as if that sort of.so also will the blood stream respond to your imagination and flow just where you want it to. divided into. and the muscles . the other on his solar plexus. A took a little time for this unaccustomed. "Imagine that your eye-balls are the glass bowl. portion." I said. "that it becomes even simpler with 36 ." said Mr." "The idea of chains. "calls foran even stronger effort on the part." Mr. Finally he said. pins-and-needles' feeling. "Then imagine the blood . warming them and relaxing them so the eyeball sinks gently back into its socket. Let us play with the idea. "You'll find. drawings ot the brain often enough to know what it looks like-a mass of gray and white substance. There's a warm feeling spreading out from the center of my skull-s-and a sort of tingling. but not painful. You've seen the kind of chandelier that has an opaque glass bowl dependingfrom four chains?" Mr." I· said. "makes the picture perfectly simple.

and knows no barriers." I was only halfjoking. $() let's finish it up." I assured him. "As a matter of fact. admitted sheepishly. "You saw. we call dirigation-the more complete and . in the first part of the treatment. jaws. at first. organ and nerve in the entire head.. I guess. tongue.. for. isn't used to this much work.Now-visualize tbe blood flowing down to the temples." "That's good." 1 answered. how easily Llimbered up your arms and legs and trunk with my. there is no nook or cranny in yourbody that it can't reach.dothe work just as.a spontaneousrelaxation of every muscle. So let's put it to work again. hands. as. The imagination can. Don't try to hurry this process. "But does it havejust the effectI described?". so that pretty soon you only have to think of relaxation.practice.0£ flushing various-areas with blood-which. there are a lot of tensions that can't be reached with the hands.." Mr. A. the ears and the cheek bones. "It's a new idea to me. HI don't mind admitting that all this··imagining isa little tough. It's amazing what your imagina- 37 ... "Yes. Feel how your whole head has become suffused with blood.. and it takes a little getting used to. A. "It's worth spending some time on. that's just what it amounts to. incidentally. A confessed." said Mr." "I'll need a little more practice before I could hurry it. Sinceyour . it really does. chin. Follow with the visualization of the nose. and the effect is achieved instantly.efficient the relaxation willbe. appreciatively." "I feel as if I were blushing like a school girl. HWe've started on your head. and how it hasproduced."Mr. well.. That was only a beginning... mouth. lips. .the more thorough theprocess . and does. imagination doesn't take up space.you've seen since." "Then it's high time it was limbered up." "That's all right. My imagination.

relaxation will tend to normalize its function.n the middle of the chest. since I imagined the blood pouring into my chest and lungs." 38 ." "1 keep being surprised. You can relax it as you learned to relax the other organs. and part of the genito-urinary system. This process will help stimulate this· gland into balanced activity. Now apply yours to your throat-think the blood into the larynx and the pharynx." "It is. Imagine them being stimulated by the flow of blood so they pour a copious supply of energy into the bloodstream. Now that you've got the general idea. Imagine it flowing to the thyroid glands at the base of the neck. hanging over toward the left side. Visualize the heart i.. and their surrounding glands. and more effortless. repeated flushing with blood will help eliminate the defect. Visualize your kidneys." said Mr. lying behind the stomach. as the majority of people do. A. Flush the muscular wall of the stomach and liver. I'll be brief. it really works. and relaxes the vessels and nerves and muscles in that region." I answered. If it's overactive. If the thyroid is defective. Make sure in your own mind that you give enough time to visualize the flow of the blood. colon. this. almost against your back. My breathing seems fuller. "Follow this by the visualization of the abdomen and lower part of the trunk containing the small intestines. "so amazing that it's a crime to let the imagination go completely to waste.tion can do. assisting normal metabolism." "Definitely. Imagine the two small glandular bodies above the kidneys -the supra-renal glands. "Now continue the imagining until the blood pours into the Chest and stimulates every single cell of the entire lung area into renewed activity. "to find that this really works. Even such things as high and low blood pressure can often be restored to normal by this method.

a direct effect is produced within. In this manner. the abdomen and all that it implies. dynamic instinctual forces inherited from the past. stiff. The conflict is overcome by doing no more than once was done in the words. At this moment it is imperative only to emphasize the fact that by completely relaxing the middle part of the body. It is an internecine warfare between the primitive instinctual part of our make-up and the surface consciousness which we consider to be ourselves. consciousness. George Groddeck. that we consider in psychology to be residentin the "unconscious. the more likely it is that the whole of your body will be relaxed. the abdomen into the thighs and legs. Dr." as Freud calls it. feelings and passions. if the body is assisted to relax.The more you relax the middle area of your body. in order to relax them under the stimulus and warm influence of the blood. Be very attentive here too: visualize all the tight. this middle part of the body was conceived to be endowed with a species of mind even as is the breast and the head-v-this belly-mind being often opposed to the inclinations and rational activities of the head-mind. one of the most brilliant of modern psychologists. and all the." or the "Id. It is the seat of the sexual instincts. you go far toward relaxing the basic contlict that exists in most of us. called the abdomen. proceed 39' . the "middle man" of the body. In the eloquent imagery and symbolism that this brilliant physician employed. visualize the blood separating into two powerful streams. Actual anatomical pathways are indicated in this connection. together with the rich nerve supply and the instinctual impulses'. "Peace! Be Still!" Finally. taut thigh and leg muscles thoroughly. Because of the direct interaction of mind and the physiological functions of the body. two rivers of blood descending from. I will prove this point later at great length and to some effect. that seem to emanate from it.

you have. it is there! "As a man thinketh in his heart. Relaxation ensues .a great cycle in the relaxing. so is he. Visualize the. Relaxationthenfollows.. freedom to make. We can do no better than to heed his words. Note how you feel. onlyto remember th~ pleasure of relaxation that you obtained from these repeated experiments and forthwith the memory is evoked from your consciousness impacting itself upon the cells and tissues and fibres of the body. It is. evoked at any moment from your storehouse of memories.a physiological fact that to think of a certain part. relaxation. or are Sitting at home reading or listening to the radio. If the. memory of. The fourth stage of the relaxation technique is comparable to the foregoing.thlsexperience -is: well recorded. some writers 40 . Pause to consider and observe. It matters not if you ride in the subway. Now pause. phenomenon." So wrote a master of llfe." Permit the sense of real pleasure and enjoyment and.because you have thought relaxation. a reasonable length of time•• become associated in the subconscious depths of the mind and co-ordinated with one simple idea-s-relaxation. These phenomena. Consider this fact. it can be. Then behold it. Very early in our practice of. You have completed . chemical or dynamic. an indelible impression upon your mind. We continue the active employment of the imaginationor image-makingfaculty. Record your feelings. of the body is to cause the blood to flow there. followingthem to the end. we discover the enormous importance and value of this eidetic faculty of our minds: It is easy to understand why. are seated in a car. over. process.until the toes are reached. I shall show that any thought produces some bodilychartge.

' Some have gone so far as to suggest that the genius. is one gifted with a keen visual imagination and a surplus of nervous energy. but you will find also that you are provided with a potent means of self-cultures . especially nervous processes. moment. we are confronted by an experience which has been commonly called. the value of which is not to be underestimated for one single .have. By means of the imagination utilized during this state of quiet. well as an enhancement of physiological function and health generally. At the beginning of this monograph I· said. to make them manifest themselves. ability and spiritual capacity are. and that the imaginative faculty is capable of-considerable development simply by being used. and anyother thing that youwishto visualize. become adept in visualizing the differentotgans of your body. considerably beyond the normal. but men and women whose health. In this fourth stage of the process.we have seen that imagination has a marked effect. 41 . Moreover. You will come to realize what you are and what your innate abilities are. "B~ yourself!" If you have been scrupulously careful and honest in these. You will soon discover that by adhering to the few rules given in these lessons. "Be yourself!" When you relax you are more nearly yourself than at any other time. We have seen. you will understand something of what is meant by this expression. "the influence of mind over matter.be the case." I loathe the glib phrase.considered this faculty the poetic and creative faculty par excellence. If this. on bodily processes. Not only will this art of relaxation give you a degree of control over your bodily processes as.exercises. not necessarily genius. you will learnhow to make them explicit and how. it is my contention that in relaxation we have a ready-made method whereby we can evolve.that energy is disposed to develop or to increase itself to an extraordinary degree under the stimulus of the proper relaxation devices. you will.

the skeletal muscles tighten. that by mental activity we produce not only a deeper and more profound state of relaxation useful to increased bodily health and mental pose. The therapy dealing with this type of thinking is called "psychosomatic medicine. weak. A shock appears to stimulate the adrenal glands to pour forth epinephrine (a glandular hormone) into the blood stream. At the same time. and peris42 . most of us. in spite of the colouring or interpretation given them. Breathing is faster. may be possessed with the strength of ten men. wrapped in gloom and inertia.It offends me enormously. It is well-known that reading lascivious literature will produce a marked stimulation of the sex organs of either sex. The result may be a violently disturbed state of the gastro-intestinal tract. there is the case of the helpless maniac." Psychosomatic means bodymind. all of a sudden. familiar with such recorded experiences as being handed a telegram with bad news while enjoying a meal. One is reminded too strongly of cults and mind-healing systems whose unscientific methods of operation have had the tendency to bring disrepute to most of the legitimate psychotherapeutic systems. but we discover also that mental processes have a remarkable influence on physiological activity. The cardiac rate is accelerated to hasten the output of blood through the heart muscle. The implication is that moods. however. We are. We find. if we approach the subject in an open-minded manner. Or. and lost to the world-who. even though I am disposed to accept the truth implicit in it. All these things tend to indicate that feelings and ideas may be projected into the body system causing them to react there with some effect. when some idea enters his mind. are capable of producing a physiological response in the form of altered functions. The hormone is carried to the body organs which respond in a certain manner. facts are facts. which are protracted emotional reactions.

I only ask that you experiment scientifically and observe what happens. Lie down. with fingers interlaced and legs crossed at the ankles. One sign of success is a quiet rippling over the solar plexus with a marked sense of warmth and enormous power invading one's body even in absolute repose. Now.talsis is arrested or retarded. This process is named rhythmic breathing and its effects are salutary. everyone requires a thoroughly relaxed body. physically speaking. If. have eaten a fragment of some magical cake that causes you to shrink. Whereas usually your breath is full and deep. and I do not even ask that you believe anything. Start to breathe very slowly. This is in readiness for fight or flight-the emergency response-s-physical and psychic. then . To be successful. It is necessary and useful to repeat at this time the technical methods given at the beginning for inducing a degree of physical and mental quiescence before performing these simple experiments. visualize yourself as hardly mare than a minute speck. and regularly. I know this may sound nonsensical. This sensation should be produced without undue effort. may be instituted. even fantastic.actual organic or architectural changes. through a wide variety of causes. to any situation creating fear. This sensation should certainly be present before proceeding to the next step. Inhale to a measured cycle of about six seconds. deeply. 43 . pay attention to the rate and type of your breathing. requiring psychosomatic treatment-from both points of view. As you tend to shrink in your imagination. Exhale slowly and completely to the same rhythm. counting very slowly in your mind. Build up in your mind strong and vivid pictures of this act of shrinking. Let your inhalation be felt to the deepest portion of your lungs. See yourself getting smaller and smaller. this attitude becomes protracted or habitual. like Alice lost in Wonderland. in this experiment of growing smaller and smaller. Next imagine that you.

upon your breathing. Try it yourself. try to . Notice the ~ff~ctit has not only on your breathing. rays.you will note that . you will come to rest spontaneously. experiment with it. your mind. Imagine yo~ have found your own center somewhere in splice.change regularly and inevitably with each chain. your arms and legs fltmg out. from the head s as it were? Conjure up this recollection. Slowly. You suddenly experience the sensation of falling. the tiny speck-becomeinvadedbyene~gy and power and light from without. Feel.. untrammelled andutldreamed of freedom. and backwards. this point.afructifyitlg effect causing you to grow. and focussed upon you is the whole universe. this minute spe. of thoughts 'and images that flit before. It permeates you through and through. It will give you a sense of. try to feelthatyou. It is SUmmer. The earth is whirling downwards in . CQnjure up in your mind a memory ofyourself at th~ beach.ck. You area small point centred somewhere in· the emptiness of space. and yon are lying prostrate on. are falling in infinite space. When you have shrunk.profollndly. visua44 . cosmic. To this center converge all the forces. l'hroughoutthis experimentb~s~lf-collected and note what effect it has. for instance.normal size. . ot. When you feelyou can fall no more.falling downwards. bow you. so completely thatflltther thought of shrinking is impossible. you are relaxed.process until -you feel the impact of energy upon you with . the beach.your: breathing becomesshallower and more superficial This is nota dogmatic statement. but On your control of self and your ability to relax easily and . Soon you reach your. recall the distinct sense-of . and like this memory. It will. you grow larger and larger. Your eyes areclosed tight.cQnceive of. Can you. StopJor a moment to-observe the effect of these.spaceand you are whirling and falling with it. the universe. Continue .this . light rays. and whatever other rays of force and light that youcan .

andchangedvery ml:lchfor the better~ It will . entire object of psychoanalysis and. an eXhilarating effect upon the emotional mechanisms of your breathingprocess. One very intuitive psychological exponent has said that the. himself and enable him to see and to accept himSelf as he actually is without any fond illusions. By meansota prolonged analysis of one's . upon Your breathing. the mind itself is . This is an interlude only. We are dealing with the experiment:Of enlarging oneself in. money. become infinitely. analytical psychology was to confront the .individual with. The mask of self~deceptian that firmly encases one drops away.as though the attempt mentally to grow large had. as though it felt no problem could be too large or complex or difficult for you to solve.. The entire body is throbbing and tingling with power. the case. results worth while? Personally. and the real personality. these. vital.had-somehowbecorne available. Besidesthis. it will be s. especially as concerns time. and 45 . is therefor· all to see.still and quiet and crystal clear.ends to those of psychoanalysiswithout the strainthat attends-the latter..and fantasies.. the imagination .. and. the whole tenor ofIife has been aItered. be is confined. easier. Are.een that relaxationaccomplishes somewhat similal'. and emotional upset.tasy and gross Iimitaflon. free from the dross of <faIl. You feel extraordinarily . to expresswhal you are. This being. he is rid of the false mask that blinds him to himself. after you have acquired some experience. ·lthink~oi I believe you will too.as: though an unlimited .supply of errergy.. You will come to-feel as land many others have.Obsepve also your own reactions as to alertness and intellectual clarity. an examination of present day reactions to any and every circumstance anli event that arises.-. eliminating the shell of fantasyin whicb.past history and his relations with his family. come to feel~that in knowing this technique. The rate of inspiration"is rapid and very full.lizations.

size.extraordinarily wellrounded and full. Every cell thus becomes exposed to the incoming oxygen and is stimulated to throw 46 . undergoes" a general improvement.. suns.and. If at any"time in your life you ever complained of . Imagine that all .watching the reaction subsequently. Having reverted . If You. how can you be well? Or . Your emotions and mental faculties are being developed and relaxed by the practice of these' exercises. and planets are so many specks within your body•• Include them all in thesame\Vay..>'. Your breathing is .emotional imbalance or irrational fears. and thus stimulate the entire-lung as an organ to renewed activity. you now are expanding to almost infinite dimensions.of personality gradually vanish from . '. Neurasthenia? What chance has nerve exhaustion of surviving such a mode. Your health. Imagine yourself. Again.. too.of Wonderland. you shrank. of . Whereas before.to art infinitesimal size. these defects.poise. the entire totality of stars.of discipline? A host of minor ills disappear in the face of this' dynamic charging of the human frame. So extensive have you become that all space is filled. notice what result this .notion has upon your breathing.Oxygen is life and it promotes life. Why dol constantly enjoin you towatch your breathing? Because you take in oxygen when you breathe. .ionce more conceive yourself in' the same situation as did Alice who is lost in the perpleXing and bewildering events. as a result. other tissue of your body.inferiority. upon the personality. entirely". your character . or lack of .too small butbegan growing large again when she ate '. growing larger and larger. Once she became . as the minute cells makeup the organs and • limbs. the' instinctual energy latent in the cells themselves enable the cellsto respond to their innate pattern.dynamic? How can you be yourself? Under the stimulus of relaxation. SOme cake.• the heavenly bodies. a new poise and dignity grow on you. breathe with but onehalf or less of your full lung capacity.tonermal. too.

Divide this horizontally into seven transversesections by drawing several straight lines from side to side.effect.. inhale and exhale. green. as indicated in the foregoing.•Thus newoxygen is passed irttothebloodstream in larger quantities. theheattworks without strain-it automatically relaxes. the so-calledclavicular breath47 .similar.that.sure you are conscious of and relaxed of every conceivable tension. The heart pumps .Be . yellow.a little further.walls of the arteries . tllearterial system. . •Since theJ:'llood carrying o~ygen goes to every part ofthe body. Visualizing a fire wagon or a. Between the lines ineach space. Let me develop this theme. Hence. violet.blood through.\ off.and •veins. Notice the almost immediate effect this has on your breathing. Your lungs. Take a sheet of paper and on itdraw the human torso from shoulders to hips. more vigorously. Relaxation obtained.producesan indirect effect upon. we can see that this relaxation meChanism . you.:heart. This reacts UpOl1 thepuJsing of the.•. The lungs affectyour entire body by l"eftexaction.·.somechange at'once within your body. Beman. only when the:: blood is not being adequately.. lask '.on .respond at onceto thesesubtle changes that occur within your mind. made a discovery which emphasizes this idea-in a way rather different from my development of it. Your breathing is rapid. • the. visualize the color red. orange. the •residual carbon dioxide. oxidized. relax as before.the muscular. First. With proper o~dation.is exerted.•. A . field of poppies in bright sunlight. indigo. This.. L E. write the colors of the solarspectrum: red. it is high. whom 1 consider to beone of the greatest authorities on relaxation today••.. what you think produces . no matter hoW remote. distant cell and upon the farthest nerve andbedytissue: That is why. the most . or a length of flaming red silk may help you in this process. . blue. watch ·how you. Stare at the picture you conjure up for several seconds. is your basis for further experimental Work. and other blood vessels.

ing is low.and notehow the image of a circle affects you as opposed to a square or a triangle or a rectangle. on your family. changes brought about by your mental processes.is blUe in color. By thinking a certain specific . One could. Your. fundamental observation. spectrum. heave a sigh or. Instead of being rapid and clavicular. Weare'concel'rted only with the. entire. flowers. thenlmaglnethe calor blue. time northe. The sound of a violin or a fife.place for"speculation about this. Visualize all the colors of the solar spectrum. your friends. consequently. This is a most important discovery. your breathing.Iower' the color in the spectrum chart. try this idea. acquaintances. and salt-s-these produce totally different reactions. that these colors ..affect.·..speeifiereaction is induced in lung action. is susceptible -to .chart you have drawn.It corresponds-to the area of the chest where the greatest motion tllkes place when red is visualized.. the effectsofdifferent tastes. .you. try it on all the people you 48 . a. Why this is.sweet.ror anything that . Consult your diagram . . . Youijn&the c. on the other hand. Hold the image fora while. your breath. Note also.' .in the chest. such as acid•. according'.. Visualize shapes. for' a few seconds. ~ftet'Wardstransferring your attention to the movement of your lungs..thought. A lengthofbluesik. ittends to bed~perand much slower. a bed of blue. all equally' valid. The . I don't know. to their place on . In fact. If they are willing.thecolor 'of the sky on a summer's day.physical and chemical. If you imagine yourself listening to-the booming of a bass. sour.of-the torso.ing. You will discover that which Beman discovered:. causes you immediately to breathe rapidly and very highup.drum or to distant church bells. invent many explanations.' Drqp • 'the whole series' of pictures Wait.This is neither the. the lower down is youcbreahting when.two. metabolic process.olor red occupying the highesttrans'Verse section.visualize -the color. the.

signifidmceof suggestion and the method they are . of the skin. Thefa. While relaxing..dOndt telltbem thetheQry. itssurfac~ by Iarge. in their· breathirIg. to...in Snta.. but . I regard this ans .plained.. Only when you have produced the results expeged should you acquaint them with the facts.able to produce an eff~tupon yourbre~thinghasfar reaching results which become evident to anyone .sensation.ct thatpictures of color. . temaili to be ex. "suggestion!" .tryingto c.p"tfirst. FOr example..as you abouttlltiwholematter. ..eXercises .• more set of relaxation . think of these pores not as minute openings. if you mentally COver the skin.most effectual. Your ankles are crossed and your hands are resting easily updn the abdomen With Bngets interlaced. .then 1.reJaxed. thinkof the skin on your face.and ready for the next step. fini.' Those .ts. tb(:irusual retort...What this me •. Yo~r object is.:titicize: •.holes that .get a distinct stretching. of the skin on your.ant'of both the.as large ..is punctured all over. nl0reimportant tha~ any expla. They wil18e just aspuzzlcd.:Picture clearly and.natioD()f itlllight be.shed the first phase of the technique and are at this moment thoroughly . Tllephenon. As you know. 1 assu~ethat . the skin.is. It is\too glib arid irresponsibl~ an answer.... you havejustnow.make use of it and emplOyit to your own ends. One . . the entire body covering.wUl burden you no more.enonitself is far.a~dofshapeare. The mechanism involved seems to be that the motor 49 last set of exercisesasv~ry important and its res~t$as kIlO\V'. when. tiny orifices called pores': The~pores serve many physiological purposes. or what they maYi~xp(lCt.Fof•.vividly the small pores stretching and stretchin$ until they gape~ If your visualiiationis good.. changes. ofsound.cheeks. occur..who use it. It will be easy to imagine this. numbers of. .. ... l COnfessl do not know. you .UarCl..after a little exploration in this Beldof relaxation.are wide open. are ignol.

living masses of sponge. the interesting development of this conversion. The skin. The atmosphere is on the outside. and the internal viscera are. the currents olair that surround you. and around you. the. Think of a large swiss cheese. the legs.the head and neck.the muscles. to the neck. feel that you must eliminate whatever vacuum may exist.the chest and abdomen. Turn your attention again to the brain and head. . Continue similarly with the skin of .experiment over the entire body in a haphazard and careless manner.rtoflow through your body in every direction.•Do not hurry. now imagine the visceralcontent. below. the scalp. By this time you should be experiencing an extreme lightness of body. .Be certain that you feel the queer. or a sponge.. At this point. Extend the same concept.a network of protoplasmic tissues.holes.as. with life50 . the torso. and all of . Just as you visualized the: skin as being full of .these spaces within you. feels exactly like a sponge.· the thighs. the legs. All weight and tension have disappeared: you arecompletely-relaxed: you have attained absolute repose.being full of holes. Extend.• bid. of the head . Tell your head that you feel it has suddenly become full . It is better to complete a whole process in a small area than to rush the . the field of your operation to the forehead. . with the skin of the back. . Now follows. and the feet. Pause every once in a while to observe the effect of this pore-stretching exercise on the general relaxation. little prickling sensations which mark the opening of the orifices of the poress . This will help you in your aim. before proceeding. bones. You are full of holes-c-completely-full iofcninute orifices bound together by. imaginatively. in . Air is a:bove. The spaces are now all filled with air.of holes~that it now. and. so you. converted into large.nerves convey electrical impulses from the brain to the muscles and the skin of the face to which they respond.

·· various obscure ·reasons.e. through the small of your back. from the .Of course it is. You. nature will alchemically transmute you. Imagine. not only through your nose but. Reverse •.directions are not difficult. are overcome.. in relaxation and is unlike anything you may have experienced in all your life. and an extraordinary vitality develops from these lessons.the head. You develbpthe ability to relax physically as well as to relax emotionally.. a clarity of in~ight. and a circulation of different biological energies is set in moti6n. for. A sense of freedom.relax . Inhale air througbthe crown of your head.nergy"producingoxygen. All the tension that existed in your mind.ling. If only you let it. Exhale in the reverse manner. If only you give it half a chance.movements of air . The. Fantastic? . Ldo notmean to imply that the process actually takes place. whereas before life only S1 . The tellults that accrue to you are inestimable. however. as is noted in your relaxed attitude towards the events of life. and vice versa. alsothrough: the enlarged orifices in the soles of yOUf feet.the body. experiences. and life generally. you learn how to let life itself work upon you. What I do definitely assert. too. it will transform you and blessyo'U. Feel a breeze enterifigyour body fl"om above and blowing through you.giving. The air rushes through them all the way up your thighs and abdomen into your¢hest. It is easy to relax in this \V'~y. I would be the last to deny it. Slowly. and 'interchange the directions. of lightness. is that somehow. regarding people. Take an inspiration of your lungs and imagine you are inha.orenergy: throughtbe interstiCe$ -: within your own frame.feet thro~gh"the body to . the benefits extend to the mind. a distinct relaxation of body tissues takes place through these imaginative efforts. ·Use all the ingenuity of which you are capable and produce imagim\ry . the order. that winds are blowing through from·various directions.

Rather. you discover the world anew. With an indescribable serenity and peace. You will learn not to fix your mind into a rigid. fluctuating world without. you will learn to "sit loose to life." as a brilliant psychologist expressed it.hardened and hurt you. You discover also. you discover a new world of happiness open up to you. unyielding mould that will be in dire conflict with the changing. a thing of surpassing interest-yourself. By so doing. What a discovery! You are yourself once more! You are now a traveller on the high road of noble adventure. 52 .

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