Tag Archives: energy

Be Still

One of the most powerful practices you can learn in your life is to be still — that is, to meditate. You might think, immediately, that sitting around doing nothing couldn’t possibly be powerful. Not so! The ability to meditate rests on the ability to concentrate and concentration is the foundation of any effective human endeavor. Deep concentration, which evolves into meditation, has profound relaxation and transformative benefits for mind, body and spirit. It creates deep relaxation, internal integration and harmony and leads to greater effectiveness in life. It can bring you into entirely new states of consciousness.

There are numerous styles of meditation many of which have, in recent times, sailed west on the waves of migrating eastern gurus. In certain sects of Buddhism the practice is Vipassana meditation, very popular in the U.S. In Yoga Philosophy there is a system called the Eight Limbed Path of Raja Yoga. In Japan the practice is Zen meditation. In Catholicism there is Centering created by Father Thomas Keating and The Interior Castle of mystic St. Teresa of Avila among others. That’s the short list. Most styles or systems of meditation have one thing in common: drawing your attention away from your physical senses and inward to stillness to begin to know and connect with your self/Self; and to create the ability to direct your mental capacity by choice rather than by habit or default.

In a culture that is based on constant distraction through the senses, being still is not easy. Your energy and attention get scattered by the many daily – even hourly –issues that you encounter, the multitude of tasks that you have to accomplish, the never ending ads that make your senses crave everything you never knew you needed, and, maybe worst of all, never ending, repetitive thoughts. Your attention is fragmented like broken glass. You are unable to focus.

So how to meditate? Learn to concentrate, choose a focus point. Concentration is an art, the art of being able to direct your mind. The process is akin to learning to ride a bicycle – you get on, you fall off, you get on, you fall off, you get on, until finally, you don’t fall off anymore. Similarly concentration is intermittent – the focus point comes and goes until, at some subtle point, an unbroken stream of focus, called meditation, finally arises after much practice. This ability to focus is key to success in meditation and any endeavor. Einstein would vouch for that!

Meditation, or uninterrupted concentration, draws all of those scattered energies back into one integrated stream of consciousness that you can then direct at your choice. You too can cultivate genius! The trick is that it requires internal self-direction or discipline, the discipline that mastering any art requires. In this case, the discipline itself is a commitment to steadfastly bring attention back to a focus point. In Yoga Philosophy this practice is called one pointedness; in the bible, “If thine eye be single….” It is the ability to focus so deeply that you go right to the heart and pulse of life.

Draw your energies inward into one location by persistently bringing your attention back to your chosen focus point. As you master this, instead of thoughts and energies being scattered all over creation, you are learning to direct your full flow of attention and are no longer a slave to distractions. In this way you begin to enter the state of meditation. An internal synergy develops that might be compared to drawing water from a reservoir and sending it through a hose. The process of constantly returning to your focus point ultimately gives you complete control of where you direct your attention and your effectiveness in using it.

Get into a comfortable sitting position but don’t slump. Choose a focus point – one that is positive, beneficial, simple and doesn’t automatically lead into story lines but into deeper stillness, peace. That focus point can be your breath, the sensations in your body, a calming word or sound, a prayer, knitting, a piece of calming music, your heart beat, watching your thoughts pass, and sundry other supports that can help you to concentrate, to anchor your attention and direct it. Whenever your mind wanders, patiently bring it back to that focus point. Let go of judgment and expectation. What you need to attain the multitude of benefits of meditation is patience and an unwavering commitment to stay the course. Practice every day!

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

The Body Speaks

The living, incarnate human body is a plastic, elastic, radical verb. Every minuscule movement, every cellular activity and pulsation, every muscle twinge is an expression, a physical articulation that conveys the meaning of you to anyone who is awake and aware. It is a neon sign flashing the unspoken, the covert, to the world.

The movements and expressions of the body transmit a silent language. “A University of Pennsylvania study reported that the majority of communication is transmitted non-verbally. 70% of communication is body language, 23% is voice tone and inflection, and only 7% is your spoken words!” (http://www.marquette.edu/hr/documents/the-art-of-communication.pdf). Imagine that, words hardly matter.

Every cell of your physical form gives data. In Oriental diagnosis, a good practitioner can tell you the state of your emotions and internal organs by the signs they see and feel in your body. That paradigm describes how the functions of each organ organize the various aspects of your physical, mental and psychological being. Author Alex Jack describes in, Profiles in Oriental Diagnosis,” how Leonardo da Vinci, who rarely finished his works of art, was diagnosed with digestive issues because he constantly emphasized the first, or pointer finger, in his paintings.

Digestion is about seeing things to completion. The pointer finger is the point where the colon meridian – a meridian being a river of functional energy — transforms or comes to an end. This piece of information clued researchers to understand that da Vinci’s digestive issues are what prevented him from ever completing his works of art. “Pains, aches, unusual motion, or other abnormal problems or movements associated with this finger are a sign of developing weakness of the intestines.” Body language – so much info in the tip of a finger!

The body always speaks from the present as the flesh and bones of your physical being register the steady stream of on-the-scene senses, feelings and thoughts. That’s the radicalness of it. It’s all genuine, in-the-moment, uncensored information. The body doesn’t lie. Because the feelings and thoughts that manifest in flesh are in the moment, these articulations are more crucial and surely more genuine expressions than words – each of which also contains the meanings of our own personal history.

Can you control your body language? Some people can consciously do that. Actors and actresses have a talent for and are trained to express the most subtle of thoughts and feelings. They consciously manipulate the muscles and motions that manifest and project certain emotions, qualities, characteristics and body shapes. Shapeshifting!

Masters of energy can control their body language in many ways. For instance, by becoming completely still inside, moving past thinking to being, and drawing their energy inward, they can actually seem to disappear. Really every individual controls energy. For example, when you deny your feelings – you mask them. Masking blocks energy. But even that gets recorded as a lack of aliveness consequently giving clues.

When you have time, try this experiment. Watch a movie or TV show with the volume off and see what you notice in the performers’ body language. You might get the whole plot, with additional levels of understanding, without ever hearing a word!

What would happen, if in our every day activities, we spent significant time in silence with each other, simply being present to, and mindful of, the other? We might get to know one another in an authentic, profound, holographic, and comprehensive way. The ramifications are enormous.

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?