I had a startling thought this morning: Maybe I don’t recognize “energy” that doesn’t have a little “push” in it, either adrenalized by a stressed physiology or from the Pusher in my head. How do I get to the “relaxed energy” my naturopath keeps talking about?
I wrote about not tapping out your energy reserves in an earlier blog, Keeping Your Bucket Full, and the importance of nurturing a sense of well being. The larger topic is so important that I find myself returning to it.
Good energy is a precious substance that needs to be well tended. Oh, there seem to be a few rare high-energy people who can abuse their bodies, follow no healthy living guidelines, and get away with it, but most of us can’t. Especially as we age.
I think many of us, especially modern Westerners, tend toward a somewhat entitled attitude. We expect and demand “good energy” without the ongoing work it takes to nurture and protect it. Ancient Eastern practices like pranayama and qigong (chi gung) demonstrate a more attentive attitude, but most of us seem caught in an expect-and-spend attitude. We don’t fully comprehend how precious this resource is and what our responsibility is in it.
Energy is not something you get from a pill. And it’s not really a “more” or “less” issue, but one of the quality of our energy, and the balance it rests on. Good energy must be slow-cooked, nurtured over time, and carefully tended.
Good energy is a byproduct of a healthy physiology, a healthy mind, and good subtle energy ‘hygiene’.
A Healthy Body
Although there may be much attention to fitness and appearance, I don’t think most people know enough about what the body needs to function optimally. We stress it with skipped meals, poor food choices, not enough (clean) water, pollution and pesticides, not the right activity and exercise or attunement to the body’s rhythms. We push the body just as we push ourselves, saying it is time to get up or exercise whether the body wants this or not.
One study found that only 1 in 2000 Americans practiced the “simple 7” lifestyle goals that the American Heart Association came up with. We’re looking rather negligent, wouldn’t you say? It takes a lot of knowledge and commitment to take good care of the body in today’s world.
A Healthy Mind
Just as your body can suffer from a heavy viral load or cesspools of toxicity, so the mind can suffer from a heavy stress load and cesspools of old feelings that have not been properly processed.
Part of a healthy mind involves metabolizing and containing these negative influences. An example of containing them is not letting your energy drain away in obsessive worry and unproductive lines of thought that only culture bad feelings. The profession most suited to helping with this process, IMO, is psychotherapy.
Then there is the whole arena of providing nourishing experiences to the psyche: positive attention, love, encouragement, the right amount of stimulation, experiences that are deeply satisfying and restorative. And, of course, we all need a right amount of healthy connection with others.
There is a bit of overlap here with what I next talk about as energy hygiene. On the level of the psyche, we need to be aware of how things affect our energy. For many HSP’s (highly sensitive people), places with lots of stimulation are draining (think shopping malls). For introverts, social events are often draining. We need to notice what is toxic to our system and limit it and what is nourishing and cultivate that.
Good Subtle Energy Hygiene
What I am calling good subtle energy hygiene involves some awareness of how the energy body itself is doing. (This energy body overlaps with the physical body but is more like an aspect of it and it extends beyond our skin.)
Energy workers of various kinds may help flush out toxins in your energetic body. Yet it’s never as easy as giving someone else the responsibility of taking care of our subtle energy either. We need to learn to become aware of it and take responsibility for tending to it, just as on the other levels.
One aspect of this is feeding our energy body, taking in nourishing energy from outside your self. For example, we live within a field filled with love for us, and part of good subtle energy hygiene is learning how to access this and take it in. You might discover it sitting in a group that is really aligning with this love, or being in Nature.
I’ve traditionally thought of energy as transmitted from one to another, but recently the word “participated” came up. What if I go to Nature and rather than say, “Give me energy” I say, “Let me align with and participate in the life force running through you?” That feels a little better to me.
As you see, maintaining good energy is a high art. What are the ways you could better tend and cultivate good energy?
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