Energy matters almost as much as our thoughts.
In our quest for peace, clarity and enlightenment, we cannot afford to ignore the energy factor. If the energy of the body is free, the body is aligned and the nervous system is in good condition, our consciousness becomes clearer and more at ease.
Energy and posture
Many teachings on meditation stress the importance of keeping the body in good condition. Maintaining a straight back when sitting for meditation is an example of posture being important. We know from our own experience that if we do things that are not good for the body – maybe overworking, eating late or getting insufficient sleep – we can feel pretty rubbish. Unwittingly, we cloud our consciousness and stir it up.
Winds that change us
This is partly to do with the nervous system and the brain but is also due to the fact that what we call the mind is a play of energy. The Tibetan tradition refers to such movements as winds. This term which helps us to understand that if there is movement in one place, there is an effect in another. There are winds or subtle energy movements both in the body and in the mind. Movement in one causes movement in the other.
Presence, energy and breath
What does this have to do with mindfulness and presence? Two things:
Firstly, by practising mindfulness and continually bringing ourselves back to the breath and to the present moment, the mind becomes calmer. As a result, the energy of the body changes so that we actually begin to feel better. The winds within the body flow more easily and there is less tension and less stress.
Better sleep and improved health
Sleep improves as we become more settled within ourselves. We focus more clearly and our actions during the day are more effective. As the body becomes more comfortable, health tends to be better. With the improved sense of well-being, the body becomes a more supportive vehicle for our consciousness. We work with the mind, which improves the body, and the body, in turn, supports the mind and consciousness. We have more physical and mental energy.
Being fully present
The second point is that with energy comes presence. We can only be fully present if we gather our energy. If someone is speaking to us, we can only listen properly if we offer the speaker our full presence. That means we are focused but also relaxed and receptive. Our consciousness is clear, we are connecting with the other person and with what they are wanting to communicate to us.
The same principle applies to absolutely everything we do. We have to give our full presence to it, not by throwing every last drop of energy we have at the task in hand but by being relaxed and applying ourselves in a balanced way.
Mindfulness is balance, and vice versa
So balanced energy, a balanced life and presence all arise naturally from the practice of mindfulness. Then we hit the vital point by sowing the seeds for a happy, purpose-filled life.
From The Art of Not Doing
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