Well, not exactly kill, but at least confuse.
For example, take the word “relax.”
In teaching meditation, particularly in this post-modern era of meditation where meditation is taught in corporate environments with the specific agenda of helping workers relax, the synonyms for relax are chill, being passive, sedate, calm down.
Everyone wants to be chill and not worry so much about life. The life of working long hours towards a goal that you may or may not be passionate about or even believe in. The life of worrying about bills. The life of worrying about finding the perfect mate and having the picturesque relationship. The life of worrying about not having the Instagram-worthy life. In this case, being relax involves being sedated and distracted from all these worries and meditation can become part of that sedation regime along with cellphones, Netflix, alcohol and so on.
But there’s another way.
If we understand the word “relax” in a different light, with a different set of synonyms, it changes everything. There's a relaxation that comes from focus and living a life that we believe in. This relaxation comes from truly knowing ourself. It comes from having the power to stand up and make the changes we've always wanted in our life and unabashedly giving our gifts to the world. This is the opposite of being chill with living a life that we are not in love with.
I think of relaxation as an emergent quality, very similar to creativity. Here’s an analogy: If I want to become an amazing jazz pianist because I admire their creativity and ability to improvise on the spot, the way to do that can’t be just doing exercises to improve my creativity. Yes, there may be some things I can do to help with my creativity but I have to first become a great pianist, I have to learn and remember a lot of musical pieces, I have to learn how to listen well and most importantly, love the music and have it seep into my bones, then creativity will follow. Relaxation is the same thing, there may be techniques and exercises we can use to help us relax, but ultimately, if we don’t get the rest of our lives aligned, then we’re just chillin’.
Meditation helps. It's meditation with the explicit goal of getting in touch with our true selves and facing our inner obstructions and fears. Getting us more alive and pumped about our lives is what mediation is for. The sedating, chill stuff? I’d rather opt for a nice hot bubble bath.