Remember phys ed in high school? It was all about competition, exertion, strain and effort. We learned to play soccer, basketball, and baseball. We would run a mile or two and do calisthenics. There was wrestling for the guys and gymnastics too. Some of it I even enjoyed, and maybe I developed a bit of coordination and a little skill in a few of those endeavors. But, from my perspective now, I can see there was a gaping hole in these physical education programs. They never ever mentioned learning to relax. Physical education was all about exertion, competition, effort, and strain. Perhaps the implied lesson there was that our lives would mainly be about exertion, competition, effort, and strain and for many of us that has proven to be true.
Physical Education 2.0, as I envision it, would introduce to the young and impressionable the possibility, even the necessity, of learning to relax. Here is a perfectly natural capacity we all possess and, for all intents and purposes, learn to suppress. And yet it might be in this capacity for rest and relaxation that we learn to find our balance and our potential for healing. And I suspect that what we might called authentic spirituality, or the heart and soul of religion, is to be found there also.
Maybe it isn’t too late and we can still enroll in Physical Education 2.0. Lie back on a comfortable recliner or bed. Turn off the TV, the phone, and the radio and all the thousands of distractions and disturbances that fill our day. For a half hour, or maybe more, there is no place to go and nothing to do. What an indulgence and what a luxury that can be. At first your mind may scream at you to get up and get going, and that a million tasks need to be attended to. Ignore it. Feel how soft, comforting, and supportive your bed or recliner has become. Surrender. Surrender to the fatigue, to the weight of your body as it sinks into the softness and comfort of the support beneath you. Oh how safe, secure, and complete you start to feel. Like a baby in its mother’s arms. You can’t move, you won’t move, and how wonderful a feeling it is. Perhaps for a moment you think you will never move again and that is all right. How sweet it is to be able to relax, to indulge in this totally natural capacity, to take Phys Ed 2.0.