Tag Archives: compassion

Which Way?

How do we navigate our lives? Which guiding stars do we use? In a lucid expression of insight, Renny Sherrow has clearly articulated the essence of two of the most profound dynamics of life – love and fear. She describes the substance of each, how to discern which state you are acting from and the probable consequences. Her wisdom grows from deep contemplation and syntheses of her own both joyous and painful experiences and the works of Gary Zukov. She encapsulates those penetrating understandings below.

“Energy from the perspective of your soul is very different than energy from the perspective of your five senses. Spiritual growth requires understanding the differences between these two perspectives.

From the perspective of the five senses, energy is the ability to do work, to get things done. The more energy you have, the more things you can accomplish. The important questions from this perspective are: How much energy do you have? Are you getting enough sleep? Worrying too much? Do you need more vitamins? Are your mitochondria healthy? People who worry about these things go to physicians, nutritionists and psychologists to get more energy. They don’t want to be sleepy or tired. The problem is physical or psychological. The cure is medicine or psychotherapy.

From the perspective of your soul, the important question is not how much energy you have, but what kind of energy you have. There are only two kinds of energy. Of course, anger, jealousy, resentment, stress, cravings, addictions and compulsions feel like different energies. Each creates its own kind of physical sensations in your body (they hurt) and acting on each creates a particular kind of consequence (destructive and painful). They appear to be different energies, but they are actually different experiences of one kind of energy: fear.

The other kind of energy is love. Different experiences of love can also feel like different energies, for example, appreciation, gratitude, patience, awe of Life and contentment. Each of these also comes with its own physical sensations in your body (they feel good) and acting on each creates a particular kind of consequence (health and joyfulness). So, even though these experiences feel like different energies, they are actually different experiences of one kind of energy: love.

Now the story becomes even more interesting. Some experiences of fear can appear to be experiences of love. For example, romantic love. You long for someone (painful), try to influence this person (painful) and, at last, attract him or her into your life (feels wonderful), but intense pain follows immediately when he or she leaves, dies or falls in love with someone else. The entire drama is created by fear appearing to you as love. This drama is painful and destructive because none of it is love. Love cannot produce pain or destruction.

There are many examples of fear appearing as love. Chaplains, clergy, hospice workers, medical-care professionals and numerous others may appear to be loving, and yet not act consistently from love. Some may act in order to feel better about themselves—to create a desirable self-image, for example, as a caring, patient, philanthropic or altruistic person. When their efforts are not appreciated or are rejected, they feel disappointed (pain), unappreciated (pain) or abused (pain), then resentment (pain) grows until it becomes anger (pain).

When the bottom-line, bedrock, can’t-go-any-deeper reason for an action is to benefit another, the energy beneath your action is love. When the bottom-line, bedrock, can’t-go-any-deeper reason for action is to benefit yourself, the energy beneath your action is fear. Only you can know your real intention, and you may not know it unless you have the courage and commitment to look for it and find it.

There is more energy in love than in fear. You might say it is the highest-octane fuel available. Not love for this person or that person—love for everyone; Love is tireless, healing and inexhaustible. It brings people together. It is powerful beyond measure. It is the Great Compassion that Buddhists speak about. It is the “love that surpasses all understanding” that Christians talk about.

Have you thought about energy this way? Have you ever looked at the things you do and say and asked yourself, “Am I doing this from love, or am I doing this from fear?” This is the most important question you can ask yourself because it brings you to the most important choice you can make: the choice between love an fear. Not only is this choice possible, it is the choice you were born to make each moment. Choosing to act with love no matter what is happening inside you (such as painful experiences of fear) and around you (such as a national or international crisis) is creating authentic power. Creating authentic power depends on your choice. Choosing fear almost always happens unconsciously. Choosing love always happens consciously.

What is your energy of choice?”

You can reach Renny at: renny@rennysherrow.com

Who We Are

Who we are, the energy we bring to any endeavor is vital to the outcome of that undertaking. I was once sitting on a log in a quiet, shaded area of a city park, just enjoying the day when I noticed that a not fully-grown squirrel was approaching me from the end of the log. I was delighted! But then I had the sudden fear based thought, “What if it has rabies?!” Immediately the squirrel turned and ran away. I hadn’t moved a muscle, made not one sound. The thought took a millisecond to pass but the energy of the thought was enough for the squirrel to pick up and understand.

When you are engaged in something, no matter what, your energy is affecting your entire body and everything around you. Animals are the barometer of the kind of energy you have – the proverbial canary in the coal mine at an energetic level. For the past two years, I have been working with chickens in different capacities. Recently, a small group of them has come entirely under my caretaking. Chickens are fascinating, curious and friendly creatures and I love taking care of them.

My favorite part of the day is in the morning when I open the coop and the birds enthusiastically rush out to greet the day. Although I don’t do anything overt — outside of standing there and watching — that tells them how much I enjoy them, they know. After a few months of this morning ritual, the kingpin rooster, Big Mike, now comes over to give me a personal greeting every morning – a peck on the hand – to let me know that they are glad to see me too. He even ran all the way down the hill the other day to greet me when he saw me coming. Animals are intimately aware of all of the energies around them.

This is true of anything. Your energy affects everything inside and outside of you although you may not be in the least bit conscious of that. Remember this if you are trying to make change in yourself and in the world. Are you approaching change with mindfulness, compassion and empathy for yourself and all concerned, or are you infusing negative energy into whatever endeavor you are undertaking?