The free and correct flow of energy in the body is crucial to our well-being.
«How are you today?» «How are you feeling?» We ask and are asked these questions perhaps hundreds of times each week. It is usually the first thing we say to someone when we meet him. «How do you do?» Why do we ask this question so often? Why is it so important to us? Why is it the same greeting in almost all languages and cultures? What is so important about how we feel? And what do we mean when we ask about how one feels? What are we referring to?
The question basically is how do your body and mind feel today? How is your energy level? Are you feeling positive? Are you happy with your life and your self? Do you feel able to face life?
These questions basically refer to the amount of vitality an individual has. His level of «LIFE ENERGY» or «bio-energy» or «prana» or «chi», as it is called in various circles, greatly affects his happiness, peace of mind, feeling of inner well-being, and sense of strength with which to face the difficulties of life and his ability to be patient with and love the beings around him. This Life Force is the power which keeps every human being and all other beings alive and able to function. Not one action, not one thought, not one word, not one feeling – nothing can be felt or expressed without this vital energy. It is the basis of all life, of health, of creativity, of love, of spiritual evolution. Without enough of this life energy one cannot possibly succeed in any endeavor, and if that energy drops below a certain level, death ensues.
We shall examine the role of energy in our lives and some of the ways in which we can learn to generate higher levels of this energy and use it in more balanced ways.
TYPES OF ENERGY FLOW IN INDIVIDUALS
There are basically three types of energy flow in individuals. All individuals will experience all three types, but each will tend to experience one type more than another according to his nature and character. The first type of individual is the under-energized type who feels an inertia in his life and is not able to get up enough energy to fulfill his responsibilities or even to enjoy his life. He usually feels a lack of motivation, a boredom with life, a lack of purpose, and has difficulty getting out of bed in the morning. His lack of vitality leaves him susceptible to a wide variety of illnesses; he is easily affect by colds and other communicable microbes which pass through the society. He has less ability to face problems and less patience with people around him. There will be a tendency towards complaining, negative thinking and worry.
He has an overall feeling that life is difficult, that he does not have the energy of resources to face it dynamically, and thus feels to be the victim of the life circumstances around him. There is little mental clarity as the mind must work on insufficient energy like a flashlight or cassette player running on worn-down batteries. Such a person is necessarily self-centered and cannot begin to think about giving because of his strong need to take energy from others. This he may do for hours, complaining about his problems and the injustice in his life.
Few people may fall into this category, but most of us will feel this way at various times of the day or at least occasionally during our lives. Such a state obviously needs to be corrected with a great influx of vital energy.
The second type of individual is extremely overactive. He has plenty of energy, but it is not flowing harmoniously. He has many ambitions, desires, and passions which force him to be on the move relentlessly, seeking various illusory satisfactions which never seem to be enough. There is a tendency to become easily impatient, angry and even violent at times. Emotions are easily around and there is little peace of mind. Such an individual builds up a high level of muscular tension and cannot easily relax. He may have insomnia. When this over activity continues for long periods of time, the result can be headaches, ulcers, high blood pressure, and even a nervous breakdown. This high-strung energy is usually spasmodically expressed and is seldom manifested in a creative way.
Many people in today’s unbalanced society bounce between one extreme and the other. They discharge their energy in an hyperactive and disharmonious way until they become completely exhausted and fall into a state of inertia. This cycle of flowing between one extreme and the other may be a weekly cycle, or a monthly, or even a daily cycle, depending on the individual.
The third type of individual feels more balanced. He has plenty of energy, but does not feel nervous or aggressive. He is a calm, peaceful, and creative type who expresses himself through constructive acts and loving vibrations. Such a person is a pleasure to be with. He is at peace with himself and has something to offer to those around him. He is generally full of health and good spirits. There is an aura of vitality around his face, head, and body. Independent of his physical features, his inner harmony makes him pleasing to look at. Such an individual has abundant energy and patience for those around him. He is equally comfortable with activity and relaxation. He neither desires activity nor non-activity, but simply reacts in a harmonious way to the needs of the moment.
Obviously there are few such people. Most of us tend to experience these three states in alternating succession. We tend to experience each of the three types of energy flow at different times of the day. Our ultimate goal is to gradually work on developing the third type of (sattwic) balanced energy flow more and more in our lives.
THE SOUL-MIND-ENERGY-BODY COMPLEX
The soul, mind, bio-energy and physical body are inextricably linked. They deeply affect each other and are interdependent. The bio-energy is the communication link between the body and the mind. The messages of the mind are communicated through the bio-energy to the nervous system and endocrine system and then to the rest of the systems of the body. When changes take place in the body, they are registered in the nervous system and endocrine system, and then transferred to the mind through bio-energy. When the bio-energy is low, neither the body nor the mind can operate efficiently. Thus a healthy body and mind are completely dependent on an abundance of bio-energy.
Let us now examine the factors affecting this energy flow in the body and mind. The accompanying illustration may help us to understand more clearly. The circle at the top of the model represents the soul which is the source of the life energy in each individual. This energy enters into the embryo and sustains it and enable is to grow. It sustains the living human being until the decay of the physical body, and then leaves the physical body to exist independent of it again.
The soul has unlimited energy. It is connected to the immortal, unlimited, omnipresent Divine Source of all life. The soul is never tired, never sleeps, it is always pure and aware. On the other hand, we have our greatest contact with this source of life energy when we are in deep sleep and our concentration on the external world ceases. This is why we feel so relaxed and replenished after sleep.
Below the circle representing the soul we have a rectangular box with a small aperture at the top, two exits on each side, and an open bottom. This box represents the personality or the «body-mind complex». It receives its energy from the soul through the small aperture at the top. In most beings this aperture is quite small indicating the mimic contact they have with this inner source of bio-energy. Others, however, have greater contact with this inner source. They show it through their inner strength, peace of mind, creativity, productivity, love and compassion towards all. They have abundant energy and to not tire as easily as the average individual.
For most of us this aperture is very small as we have little contact with our inner self. This is due to the exaggerated attention we give to our physical body and personality. The more we concentrate on our superficial appearance and personality characteristics, the less open we are to the flow of energy from our inner self. The greater the ego, the smaller the aperture and less the contact with the soul. When one has no connection at all with his inner self, his insecurity forces him to try to build up his ego-image. He becomes obsessed with «success» and «personal power» of a lower type. This kind of «ego-power» is limited and temporary and soon dissipates because life is in a state of constant change and one cannot always be a winner.
The individual who has contact with his inner self is like the tape recorder that can play forever as long as it is plugged into the unlimited energy of the wall socket. The individual who tries to run his life on «ego-power» is like the tape recorder which runs on batteries. It will soon run down and malfunction.
WE WASTE ENERGY
Now, referring back to the diagram of the body-mind complex, we notice that there are four pipe-like exits which protrude from the sides of the box. These represent the various ways in which we waste our vital energy. Our problem is not only that we do not get enough energy, but on top of that we also waste it in various ways. We waste much energy on unnecessary, habitual activities that offer us little in return. Some such activities might be watching television, running after desires which in the end are not fulfilling, keep in up an overactive pace of life which doesn’t allow us to stop and analyze exactly what we are doing and why we are doing it.
Three major ways in which we waste energy are through too much talking, too much sex, and too much eating. When one engages in any one of these activities to an extreme, he will soon notice that he will feel drained. We lose energy not only when we eat too much food, but also when we eat too many different types of food at one meal. When the digestive system is confronted with a large variety of food substances, its work is multiplied unimaginably and this is a great drain on the system. This is the secret behind fasting and «mono-diets» in which the body has to digest only one type of foof substance at a time. This allows the system to rest and replenish its energies, physically and mentally.
Some people waste great portions of energy through muscular tension. Their muscles never relax, not even during sleep. They often wake up tired as if they had been working all night. This tension may express itself through unconscious twitching movements of the body and, in extreme cases, through trembling in various parts of the body.
The greatest wastage of energy is through worry, indecision, doubt, fear, anxiety, hatred, and various other negative emotions. These emotions prevent the individual from relaxing physically or mentally. Tremendous energy is lost through incessant negative thinking. Thought directs energy and thus one’s energy gets directed in self-destructive cycles resulting in an unhealthy body, unhappiness, and conflict with one’s environment.
HOW WE BLOCK OUR ENERGY
You will also notice in our diagram that there are small amorphous shapes in the «body-mind box». These represent the obstacles to energy flow in the body and mind. What are some of these obstacles?
One obstacle is the impurities in the physical body. Our bodies tend to accumulate toxic waste products as a result of poor eating habits or poor elimination of toxins. Then the energy flowing through the body is like water trying to flow through a blocked pipe. When energy encounters resistance, it usually creates heat. A wire that has much resistance generates much more heat when electrical energy passes through it. If the wire has little resistance, it does not generate heat. This is the principle behind the electrical elements in toasters and haters. If the energy is too great, the wire melts and is destroyed. The same is true of a person who is full of resistance (which could be physical, emotional or mental). He cannot tolerate much energy, otherwise it will do him harm. If an individual has much muscular tension, then that increased energy will create more muscular tension. If he has certain nervous problems, they may be accentuated with the influx of more energy.
There are also emotional blockages of energy such as depression, fear, resentment, and guilt. A person who does not trust himself will not allow energy to flow through himself. He will subconsciously block and suppress his energy so that he will not «do something wrong». This blockage is even greater when one has a poor self-image, or a lack of self-love or self-acceptance. When an individual doesn’t love himself of accept himself, he