I may not have talked very much about the energy flow within the mind and body as we practice being in the moment. I asked a friend about her feelings on being present, her response "Show up, Pay Attention, Smell the Flowers". Show up, how many mornings do we greet the day with every part of us showing up. Pay attention, do we focus on what we are doing from the get go. Smell the Flowers, do we pause and enjoy the beauty around us.
All of this takes energy which can be a positive flow of energy through the mind and body, or, we can slip into a little of the negative energy that our memories of injuries or regrets or our anxiety over the outcome of something we have to do today, or tomorrow grabs us and won't let go.
I have made a lot of decisions in my life that did not contribute to my physical or emotional health. Every once in a while, usually through some trigger, my thoughts go into a negative loop over past events. I can feel the negative energy affecting me physically. Heart beat, muscle tension, tight jaws, clenching of fists all accompanied by anger or regret over what might have been. Being aware did not prevent me from beginning the loop but it did allow me to return to the present in a safe way. These energy flows or blockages are real and can cause a lot of problems but they can also help us sense the danger we are in if we keep on going in the direction these memories are taking us. One of the things I do, specially at night, is get up and listen to the night sounds, look at the stars if they are out, and feel the bigger world around me.
Before long I go back to sleep. I guess what I am saying is this little mantra "Show up, Pay Attention, Smell the flowers" is a daily exercise. Someone once told me with a slight laugh that forgiveness is over rated, forgetting is a much better solution. Since this seems a bit impossible for most of us, the practice of always trying to be aware of our energy balance within the body helps return us to the present and all it has to offer.
Some study and practice required. So some delay will occur but I will talk about the process as I follow this way of looking at our ability to focus on self healing (can be preventative). I am having an open mind as I begin, my prior life experiences tell me this is real and very possible and probably not extremely difficult. My teacher will be the writings of Chunyi Lin founder of Spring Forest Qigong - SPQ (Pronounced Chi Gong).
If we keep in mind that I am a complete novice in SPQ, allow me to give my thoughts on my early experience with this process and method.
From a Chinese perspective the body has meridians or energy channels. We have the power and awareness to sense and remove blockages that prevent the free flow of energy throughout the body. It is said that once you have mastered these meridians in your own body you can sense and remove the energy blockages in others. This is the application of healing energies that free both the spirit and physical energy in all of us. They speak of the Yin (female) and Yang (male) energies that must be balanced if we are to live long, fruitful and healthy lives.
There are specific movements (we will call them forms) that allow us to channel this energy and focus on different parts of the body. The group I am learning with is at level one. In level one we learn forms and meditation and the understanding of the energy flow throughout the Universe, in all life, and specifically us.
Our goal is to tap this energy, channel it through our body, and release the obstructions in our bodies as energy back out to the Universe. This is done through specific movements and meditations (often accompanied with gentle music and the resonant OHM and MU-AH (pronounced Mwah) sounds), and, visualization techniques.
But let me digress for a moment. Two years ago I slipped on black ice, came down hard on my right leg and broke it with a spiral twist. Luckily my wife was with me and we have cell phones. In two days I was on the operating table (four hours) and spent the next week in the hospital. The reason I bring this up is what happened to me while I was lying there with nothing better to do than do my own form of meditation.
I had practiced quieting my mind for several years but only recently been able to sense the movement of energy from the top of my head to my feet and back again in a rhythmic movement. I experienced this as chills or goose bumps every where I felt the flow of energy. While this may seem to some a bit of self delusion something happened that might change your mind.
The first time I tried the energy meditation I felt the chill bumps experience in an unusual way. The flow stopped for a moment at my upper thigh, flowed around the repaired femur, moved on down to my foot and then tried to return. Just below the knee the flow stopped and I could feel real pressure as though a physical force was trying to push past the injury. This was a very real pressure. For a brief moment I got real nervous. The thought ran through my head that I had a pretty serious problem. Would I be able to walk on the leg again?
The day before I was to move to a Rehab Facility the pressure feeling went away and I felt the energy move up and down without any obstruction or sense of one. I mentioned this to the Doctor (by the way the surgeon was a genius at the operating table and I cannot thank him and all of the staff for saving my leg and keeping me safe from infection). His response was "You has a really bad break, two bars and thirteen screws. I cannot speak to your experience but I would imagine that you helped the healing process. But, and I repeat myself, you are not to put any weight on that leg for any reason until I tell you you can. You will not like to outcome if you do". After thanking him profusely I made the commitment to myself that I would not only behave but would continue the meditations until I was able to walk normally again.
The end of the story? Running is out of the question but I walk two to three miles a day (not always) and I was able to do a Jitterbug with my wife at a wedding this last weekend (two years and 4 months later). I am a firm believer that we can sense and channel the energies within our bodies. I used to call it getting out of my own way , and letting all the cells (brain included) of my body communicate as they were meant to without interference. The mind (our emotions and stress factors that bring them to the front of our consciousness) really does influence for good or bad our physical and mental health. As this website attempts to convey in many different ways, we do have a choice. Not to what happens to us out of the blue but how we experience it.
I was listening to an interview with Brian Swimme about cosmology, cosmogenisis, and the beginning of the ecozoic as the cenozoic geologic period comes to a close. The marriage of what Brian Swimme talks about and the Healing Energies of SPQ (Spring Forest Qigong) came together within me much differently than I expected.
I will, in the following paragraphs, attempt to use the languages of Hope, Faith, Mystical, Religions and Science to try to connect the awareness of the energy within a human and the awareness of the same energy everywhere else.
All of the atoms that make up the molecules that make up the cells of our bodies that allow us to walk and talk and think and dream and hope and believe are billions of years old. All of the hydrogen that exists now existed 13 plus billion years ago. All of the atoms of all of the nutrients that our bodies use to grow and repair the damage of living are billions of years old. All of this emerged from a firestorm of millions upon millions of degrees of temperature.
The entire EcoSystem of planet Earth emerged and flourished in infinite diversity from molten rock, icy comets and the earliest and oldest flow of energy of the Universe. One way of looking at this is that all manifestations of matter vibrate at different energy frequencies but they all come from the same source.
As we do. Chunyi's password (I am in the Universe, The Universe is in my body, The Universe and I combine together) now makes perfect sense. This sense of being connected at the source allows us to feel the flow of energy within and without. Our energy within is in a sense the same energy that is everywhere.
Some feel this intuitively, some get it after long periods of training and meditations, some stay separate for their entire lives. Where is the danger in this separateness? What are the benefits of sensing this energy flow throughout the mind and body?
If we combine mindfulness, the power of now, stillness, the empty mind, slow rhythmic breathing, and the focus of our attention on the energy flow within the body, what do we get?
We get out of our own way. We allow the natural communication between cells, we allow the natural energy of the body and mind to flow undistubed. We allow the living organism to become what it was from the beginning, from before birth. We allow this by removing the sense of separateness, by releasing the blockages to this energy flow caused by the manifestations of our separateness. The sense that we are separate from all other matter, all other life, all other ecosystem creates the great divide. We look upon everything not us as "for us, against us, or a resource to be used". By losing the connectivity we actually believe that we can go on forever treating our nesting place as a resource, oblivious to the impact our presence has on the integrity of the entire Eco System.
We also create blockages in our own systems, internal blockages. Separateness intensifies fear, anger, loneliness, emptiness, meaninglessness, self preservation, greed, addiction and a host of other Ego driven feelings. We try to connect we just do not know how to do this.
Separateness also allows us to treat entire eco systems as a resource. Through the methods and practices of using that "energy producing" resource, entire eco systems are destroyed, entire species are being exterminated. Do we really want to cause the further extinction of species after species until only we, our food sources, and the viruses and bacteria are the only ones left standing?
The flow of energy within us, at all its frequencies, is what keeps us alive. Being aware of that energy, being able to connect the energy flow within to all of the energy without and being able to remove any blockages to that energy flow makes a huge difference. In how we live, how we treat our family friends and strangers, and how we interact with systems of life different than our own.
The ecozoic period which is just beginning is where we are completely aware of our impact, both negative and positive, on the eco system of our planet. It is the time when we connect to and are not separate from all life, all matter, all energy. It is the time, right now, when we fully feel all of the benefits of that connectivity and also the negative impacts of our separateness.
We can only grow and change as individuals. As each person connects more and is separate less, the awareness of all will rise, and the behavior of all will will change for the better.
As an experiment in awareness and empathy try this on for size. As the Gulf oil permeates the coastline, as the river of oil flows into the nutrient rich rivers of life throughout the oceans, imagine this. All of the forms of life from the plankton, the fish, the birds, and all forms of life along its path will die. How many more times will such a disaster destroy entire eco systems before we carefully evaluate the impacts of what we do and make choices in the best interests of our lives and the lives of all the others.
Awareness of the energy within our bodies will not only improve our quality of life individually but also collectively. It is another way of becoming connected rather than separate. It is another way to gradually change how we all relate to our influence on all life and all ecosystems on this planet. We are now responsible for our own health and wellfare. We are now responsible and accountable for all life on this planet. Eco Systems are important to us, more important than the funiture we just bought that was carved from the last great tree of the last standing centuries old forest.