This hour-long guided meditation, which was originally marketed to hospitals as a VHS video, is now available for both hospital and home use in DVD, On Demand Streaming VIdeo and CD (the sound track) formats. It is potentially valuable for anybody recuperating at home from a serious illness or injury, and having to spend significant periods of time in bed. Of course, it is also potentially useful for anyone wishing to cultivate mindfulness in the body, and to deepen intimacy with the core of well-being available to us in even the most difficult circumstances, as a complement to the guided meditations offered on this website.
The World of Relaxation was created and released in 1982 at the University of Massachusetts Hospital, and re-mastered in 2010. It was and still is a radical use of television, developed by Jon, and aimed at reaching out to patients lying in bed in the hospital through the in-house TV channel, and inviting them to experiment inwardly, with his guidance, along with a full soundscape of harp music, in bringing mindful awareness and acceptance to their present moment experience and circumstances. The invitation is to use the occasion of having to lie in bed for some time – whatever the viewer's medical condition and prognosis – for the person to undertake to do something for him or herself to promote healing of the mind and the body as a vital complement to whatever the health care team and one's doctors are doing in terms of medical treatments, nursing care, and rehabilitation. Over 100 hospitals use or have used this program on their in-house television channels, and doctors making rounds can "prescribe" it to their patients, recommending that they practice with it several times a day (as in "do this program twice today and call me in the morning"). The program is meant to be "done" by the viewer/listener by actively participating in the instructions, rather than "viewed" or listened to passively. During most of the time, the listener is encouraged to have his or her eyes closed.
Original improvisatory harp music is played by Georgia Kelly. The sounds of the harp have been associated with healing since pre-Biblical times. The music enhances the process of relaxing into the present moment and into one's body. It establishes a flowing rhythmicity that entrains the listener's attention and carries it through the various stages of the program – an extended body scan meditation. The notes of the harp have the quality of coming out of silence and disappearing back into silence, singly and in raining curtains of sounds, just as do our thoughts and emotions. Mindfulness, one's capacity to inhabit the present moment with non-judgmental awareness, deepens over the course of a single session and even more, through repeated practicing with this program over days, weeks, months, and years. The learning occasioned by practicing with this program on a regular basis, just as with the other guided meditations in Series 1, 2, and 3, can stand one in good stead from moment to moment and from day to day in the on-going unfolding of one's life.