Real, true relaxation is very difficult.
This was going to be a simple post. I thought I read a study once that correlated a person’s IQ to the speed or pattern in which that person’s pupils contracted under a sudden source of bright light. However, searching for a link to that, I found this: Reddit TIL (Today I Learned) in which a poster says he couldn’t find any evidence for such a study. However, a link was provided to a study titled Pupillary Responses on the visual background masking task reflect general cognitive abilty.
Anyway, I’ m allowing myself to be distracted, which is questionably intelligent. The point I was originally going to illustrate with that defunct study was that relaxation takes applying intelligence at deeper levels of being. An intelligence that we have, sort of kind of, but that we need to develop, like leg muscles in a bed-ridden convalescent. At least, it is my reference point that we are not, on the whole, as human beings, very good at relaxation in the deep whole-bodied way I’m referring to.
On a side note, I’m not surprised the memory of that “study” is false. A lot of the studies I vaguely remember encountering as a younger person were in fact misrepresentations of studies by journalists who weren’t qualified to report on or interpret the facts (which is why I’ve tried to establish the habit of checking them). Often I find, however, that I have a good sense of whether the conclusion that the study was used to buttress (in ‘me mind) was correct, even if the study itself is erroneous. This was one such, because it is my own experience that corroborated the idea that the very same intelligence that goes into generating our conscious thoughts (via unconscious mechanisms) is also responsible for (or was responsible for generating the systems that are) responding in ‘mechanical’ ways to stimuli. Our responses at the sub-conscious scale are not truly automatic or mechanical as I believe we’ve come to accept (popularly, among the unembodied but intellectually refined). They are incredibly minutely directed by an active intelligence. Our own, in fact. That’s something I’ve brought back with me. I can see it now as I type: my fingers flitter across the keys and on the edges and borders of my awareness I sense a continuous awareness of the hard touches of the edges of the plastic keycaps as my fingers deliberately scrape gently against them to keep oriented while my right hand dashes to the navigation keys briefly. And we can make this intelligence even more our own.
I wanted to say that I bet the ability to deeply relax is another such secondary measure of IQ. Unfortunately, I’m not sure where that puts me. This whole post began because of a intractable web of tension that I detect wrapping around my fascia. That’s why I emphasize difficult.