"The brain learns and performs best when we use the least possible effort to accomplish a given task." -Dennis Lewis
I've been experimenting lately with this idea of effortless effort that was inspired by a passage from The Tao of Natural Breathing by Dennis Lewis. He says that "when we try hard 'to do' something, when we use unnecesary force to accomplish our goals, our whole body generally ends up becoming tense."
Since reading this I've been noticing how much effort I use in the world. I was surprised to see how I use so much unnecssary effort to do the simplest of tasks. The first thing I noticed was that I grab the refridgerator door in a death grip before jerking it open. Then I started to see how I do this with lots of things. How I sometimes walk with a heavy foot, how I yank the toilet paper from the roll, how I turn the knob to go into my room. It goes on and on. My response in noticing how much unnecessary energy and effort I am using is that I've begun to touch the world around me with a softer, more conscious touch.
Try it. The next time you pick something up, unwrap a gift, walk down the stairs, pick up your fork or turn the page of a book notice how much energy you are using and how much actual energy is needed. Notice the shift in your body when you choose to soften the way you interact with your physical environment. For example, I just noticed that as I'm typing this newsletter I've been banging the keys like there's no tomorrow. As I type this sentence using a softer touch on the keys I notice that my breath has actually changed and I feel less hurried.
Dennis Lewis also talks about applying this consciousness to your spiritual practice as well.