Relaxation-Concentration: a paradoxical state. AUTHENTIC Nidra Yoga practice, by Andre Riehl
It is hard to imagine the possibility of being concentrated and relaxed at the same time. We often confuse concentration with contraction, and when we do so, we may end up being exhausted, like when you listen to me. On the other hand, we can notice that relaxation can get so deep that we fall asleep, again like when you listen to me! These are two opposites. According to Tantrism, opposites are linked. I often say: that which separates is that which connects. We are not going to focus on what causes separation or union, but on the very nature of that which unites or separates, on the “connection”, a term I would regard as an acceptable translation of the word yoga.
This paradoxical state in which relaxation and concentration are simultaneously present is made possible by attention. The state of attention is a state of wholeness. When you are extremely relaxed, down to your bones, and you are at the same time extremely concentrated, in a point as it were, attention becomes intense and gradually absorbs everything. Then, there is neither inside nor outside anymore, neither concentration nor relaxation; what is left is this curious awareness of wholeness, in which differences have been suspended. Whenever you are invited by this paradoxical state, be delighted!
To experience this state is to step into the sacred dimension of life.
Strictly speaking, there is no advance or progress in this approach, only an urgent need of being able to refer to a clearly structured framework. We usually work in groups, but according to the teachings I have been given, the group does not exist; there is just cohesion. A group is limited, cohesion is infinite.