Sounds like an oxymoron, right? Some people think relaxing always leads to inaction, and therefore never give themselves permission to relax. What a shame.
The conscious mind can only engage about four chunks of attention at once. It is very limited. Try it for yourself right now- can you attend to the feel of your left big toe, the sounds on the street, the current taste in your mouth, the words on the computer screen and your thoughts about space travel all at once? Not easy. And yet, every moment there are literally billions of things happening that we might notice, but don’t. (For instance, how many different thoughts have you had since you began reading this paragraph?)
So what else are we not noticing?
The truth is that our unconscious mind is reacting all the time, 24 hours a day, to the inputs it receives from our senses, including our thoughts. It would be overwhelming to be aware of everything consciously, and so nature has given us the power to filter. We allow through only what we perceive as important, while ignoring the rest. These filters are created by our past experiences, our culture, our assumptions, and our beliefs. They tend to remain constant through time if unchallenged. And so, depending on who you are and what conclusions about the world you have created, you will have a very unique, albeit limited, perception of the world. Our actions are thus a response to the filters we are currently using.
The question then becomes, “Are the filters I am using still in my best interest?”
When we relax, not only can we attend to a few more details, but we also become capable of taking different perspectives. We widen our capacity to take in new information. We begin to notice what we haven’t been noticing. Through this deeper awareness, we have access to more wisdom and choice. Are we experiencing a life that truly compels us? We are now likely to choose more appropriate filters and take better actions, ones that are more relevant to what we want and attached to what we value.
The coaching relationship is thus all about encouraging relaxation- through developing strong rapport, through eliciting confidence, and through dissolving any conflicts. When this environment is created, meaningful desires and directions begin to surface.
We indeed start relaxing…. into action.