Governing Energy Flow
The simple fact of being alive implies a perpetual flow of energy. There is of course physical energy in the sense of calories extracted from the food you consume circulating through the body and being expended to sustain, grow and renew your cells, as well as power both conscious and unconscious muscular activity and ultimately the whole range of your activities.
In addition to this physical or molecular-chemical level of energy flow, however, there is also a whole other dimension to the overall picture of the flow of energy that, despite being non-physical in nature, yet also has major and often very noticeable effects and consequences. This tends be very prominent, for example, when it comes to what passes through your mind and thoughts, as well as when it comes to your emotional experiences and the way in which other people come to emotionally respond to your presence, your moods, your feelings, the words that you say and the manner in which you say them, and similar sorts of considerations.
When the sort of disposition, temper or mood you are in is observed to have an effect on another person, that cause and effect interaction can be taken as positive proof of a flow of energy having occurred or of an energy field having been set up and subsequently exerted an influence. And insofar as you find yourself on the cause side of that sort of an interaction, it is important to realize that you hold an essential responsibility for the effects that have proceeded from that cause. This holds true whether those effects have been positive or negative, and whatever the level of control you may consider yourself to have had over that which gave rise to them.
There are of course elements in your interactions with other people that have to do with causes leading to effects in a way that does not really involve energy-level considerations between yourself and that person per se. For example, you can say something to somebody and the content of what you say can have an effect on them as they take in and process the information that is conveyed and come to conclusions based on that information. Or they may jump to subjective conclusions based on the fact that you said what you did, the way in which they perceive you to have said it, or the motives they believe you to have had in saying it, all by means of a process that has rather more to do with cause and effect sequences operating within their individual mental and feeling worlds than with any sort of a direct cause and effect exchange on a mental or emotional level between yourself and that person.
These sorts of things, however, tend not to operate in a vacuum, and whatever effects the content or substance of your outer interactions might end up having in and of themselves, it is probably safe to assume that your inner condition and the way in which this latter enters into the picture of those interactions will exercise a significant and concurrent influence as well.
In effect, to think something or to have or hold a certain sort of feeling, desire or disposition is in an important sense of the word to be doing something in and of itself, and what that doing comes down to is that you are qualifying energy in a particular way. That qualification can be either conscious or unconscious (or somewhere in between), either positive or negative (or somewhere in between), and either purposefully or haphazardly directed (or, again, somewhere in between). You want to get to the point of having as much as possible of the energy you qualify be consciously, positively and purposefully qualified, which three sides of the picture you are likely to find to be very closely connected. Doing as much will imply (among other things) that you gain a greater level of control over what passes through your mind and feelings, as well as that you subsequently determine to exercise that control in a steady and disciplined manner.
It is not at all uncommon for people to relate to most of what passes through their minds primarily in terms of a passive observer, whose input—even when you factor in the attention they direct towards all of their real and perceived worldly needs and a wide range of attachments and interests—predominantly consists of giving way to the mind’s habituated predispositions and preoccupations. And then the mind also retains a more or less open vulnerability to a broad range of external disruptive influences that end up drawing it here, there and elsewhere. To go from that sort of a condition to one where you generally relate to what passes through your mind in terms of one who is actively and purposefully engaged in the governing of it, it will be necessary to change the relationship in which you stand to that particular part of your being in a fairly fundamental way. This will involve transforming the mind from a faculty that has come to be turned in upon itself because it reflects your having come to be turned in upon yourself, to one that is one-pointed in its focus on something outside or beyond yourself in virtue of being deeply implicated in the one-pointedness of your dedication and commitment thereto.
A fairly closely analogous sort of thing will need to be done when it comes to your emotions and how you relate to what passes through your feeling world as well. To progress from a condition where you mostly relate to your feelings as things that just sort of arise—where you tend to see being overcome by a negative feeling such as fear, for example, as a sort of misfortune that happens to you, or to being caught up in a positive emotion such as joy as a fleeting and potentially unruly impression that you have little ability to temper or sustain—you will have to work towards turning the relationship between yourself and that particular part of your being around. And doing as much will have to be approached in terms of getting your feeling world less turned in upon itself, as you bring it instead to be more implicated in the depth and breadth of your dedication and commitment to something outside or beyond yourself.
Take something like the experience of being in love. In that sort of a situation—insofar at least as it’s a genuine and reasonably deep-seated thing—you tend to simultaneously be strongly inclined to consciously direct a lot of focus, attention and inner commitment towards the object of your affection on the one hand, and to find yourself in a significant sense of the word getting caught up in that commitment in such a way that the directing and positive qualification of your thoughts and feelings takes on a certain life of its own on the other. Or there is the kind of situation where you are deeply committed to working towards some worthy goal or to furthering some worthy cause. It is then not just the case that your mind does not have time, so to speak, to wander as much because of your focus on that and your involvement in it, but also concurrently that it does not have as much latitude to do so in virtue of how in an important sense of the word you have come to lose yourself in what you are doing.
Now, the two sides we see in both of these examples—the way in which you actively direct attention, focus, feeling and passion towards something worthy thereof on the one hand, and the way in which doing as much takes on a certain life of its own as you come to lose yourself in that engagement on the other—is very central to the usefulness of these sorts of conditions to gaining a greater level of control over just how you come to qualify energy. When you direct your inner resources towards something positive for the value you consider this latter to have in and of itself and not just because it has caught or attracted your fancy, you find that direction of inner resources to play much more powerfully into the strengthening of positive habit patterns in your mental and feeling worlds than would otherwise be the case. Your mind has significantly less latitude to wander and your emotions to rage when you bring yourself to a position in which you are less exclusively oriented around your individual wants, needs, desires, preferences, attachments and predispositions, because a major condition for becoming more adept at consistently orienting your inner being in the direction you would have it oriented is to choose to be less oriented towards yourself.
When you are quite deeply engrossed in something that you do not necessarily take to be of much intrinsic value in itself and that you do not so much turn to for reasons beyond the fact of its superficially appealing to you or of its potentially proving beneficial to you in some way, you may find your mind and feelings to be stilled to a significant extent while you are so engrossed. But you are not then really succeeding in carving a channel for a steady outward flow of energy that can override the engrained negative habit patterns of your mind and your conditioned emotional responses. This may be particularly evident, for example, in the way in which things that intrude on what you are engrossed in then tend to trigger irritability, as well as the way in which when you subsequently turn your attention elsewhere your previous engrossment is mostly found to make appropriately focusing on what you then need to focus on more difficult.
Now, if you want to go further in governing the flow of your energy and really get to the point of having as much as possible of it consciously, positively and purposefully qualified, you have to draw from the sort of experiences we have discussed in connection with the examples of being in love and of being deeply committed to working towards some worthy cause, and make something as universal, broad, far-reaching and perpetual as possible out of it. You have to find some sort of commitment or some sort of love that you can most readily make a full-time thing out of, put as much as possible of yourself into, and that is minimally contingent on anything external or on any of the changing conditions or situations you may find yourself in.
This is where God will need to come into the picture of what you are consciously engaged in and occupied with throughout the day in a way and to an extent that may be quite different from how he has ever previously come into that picture. To make a conscious choice to be as oriented as possible towards God in the moment and then trying to sustain that as best you can throughout the day whatever else you may engage in and whatever else you may turn your attention towards, will be found to play more powerfully into gaining greater control over what passes through your mind and feelings than anything else you might do. And this is because explicitly choosing to be God-focused and to direct energy towards him through your attention as well as through a desiring which you consciously determine to cultivate is to seize upon a bigger, more accessible, more innately intuitive and more self-reinforcing opportunity to get deeply caught up in something greater than yourself than is to be found in anything else.
When you choose to keep your mind stayed on God out of the love you feel or would feel for him, you are not only in the best position to be mentally qualifying energy as consciously, positively and purposefully as possible in the moment, you are also in the best position to be strengthening positive mental habit patterns and overturning negative ones in the process. And not only will a similar sort of thing be the case when it comes to your feelings and emotions, it will also be the case that your progress in this regard on a mental level will have a particularly strong effect on drawing you where you need to get to on an emotional level, and vice versa.
Very explicitly turning first and foremost to God when it comes to where you direct your attention, dedication, commitment and affections is very conducive to finding all of your constructive efforts coming together in an integrative manner. And this is because doing as much is to be most explicitly oriented first and foremost towards integrating with the whole that is your source.