Just as your car runs more smoothly and requires less energy to go faster and farther when the wheels are in perfect alignment, you perform better when your thoughts, feelings, emotions, goals, and values are in balance.
At the end of this summer I was in an airport and I realized that although I had a book I was reading on my kindle, I was not going to be able to have my electronic device out for collectively about half an hour upon take off and landing so I went to the newsstand to grab a paper to read. The papers were sold out so I checked out magazines and right next to that was a little stand with this paperback book called The Untethered Soul. It had a beautiful cover, (and I must admit, I do judge books by their covers quite a bit). It also had an endorsement by Deepak Chopra that read, “Read this book carefully and you will get more than a glimpse of eternity.” Intriguing, I like to think that I pick up what Deepak puts down most of the time so I thought I would check it out.
What a beautiful gem I had stumbled across! I ended up ditching the kindle that day altogether and was glued to this very simple and straightforward book about what the author Michael Singer refers to as “the journey beyond yourself.”
(If you are at all interested but don’t see yourself sitting down and reading an entire book on the subject he has also written a great article for the Huffington Post condensing his wisdom in 12 easy steps!)
I enjoyed the whole book and from the dog eared pages and notes in the margins this book looks like it has been worn out and loved like an old blanket. Being a Reiki Master I was drawn to one chapter in particular over and over again entitled Infinite Energy. I am always intrigued to learn how different people explain this energy, this life force we all have within us. Something we are all so unconsciously aware of but yet its affect on us is profound. Energy is in and all around us everywhere.
The Institute of Heart Math has done extensive research on how energy affects emotional balance and health. If you are interested check out the website to access all the readings they provide, it is fascinating work. http://www.heartmath.org/research/science-of-the-heart/introduction.html
We have several “energetic centers” in our body but none as well known as the heart. What do you do when you hear bad news? Instinctively your hand comes up to cover your heart. What do you feel when you watch your child accomplish something great? Your heart swells with emotion. What is it like when someone you love walks in or out of your life? You feel it in your heart. What happens when you witness or think about something truly frightening? Your heart starts beating rapidly. Our thoughts can literally create different energy within us.
Our thoughts and feelings have psychological and physiological affects on our heart. That energy, even though it cannot be measured is very real. Michael Singer writes, “The yogi’s call the energy centers chakras. When you close your heart center, energy can’t flow in. When energy can’t flow in there’s darkness. Depending upon how closed you are, you either feel tremendous disturbance or overwhelming lethargy.”
So those times when you are “off” and exhausted and no matter how much red bull you drink nothing changes is because you are closed off. You can even see it in someone’s posture. Head down, shoulder’s hunched, dull look in their eyes equals heart closed. In the same respect when you see someone head high, smiling, shoulders back that equals heart open. When you are in this open state, just as red bulls don’t affect your mood when you are closed, you find that you can go for longer periods of time with less food because your energy is what is sustaining you. Ever get into a project you feel passionate about only to look up 6 hours later and realized you haven eaten all day and you are not even hungry? Since most of us don’t live in that “sweet spot” of total coherence between activating and reacting to our sympathetic and our parasympathetic systems, (or our fight or flight), we are either allowing energy in or we are closing it off most of the time.
Sometimes because of the world we live in closing it off “feels right.” We are so used to closing for what we believe are self preservation purposes that we don’t even realize we are doing it. How many times before you are going to be in a certain situation or with certain people do you “brace yourself” for the evening ahead? So before we even leave the house we are tense and uptight. This can ware on our hearts after living like this for extended periods of time especially if this is the way we feel before we get to work day in and day out. Our poor hearts can’t handle it! They try to give us warnings that show up as signs of stress and anxiety but instead of changing our minds we pop pills. This is a short-term fix and eventually it is not going to be enough. You either start popping more pills or feed the addiction in other ways or you listen to the gift your body is giving you with these signs and do something about it.
What to do to change things? Start to have openhearted awareness in your day. When do you feel relaxed and open and joyful? When you find yourself in that moment where you are completely comfortable in your own skin and your breathing is regulated and your heart beat is steady and even take note. Here are you and what are you doing and who are you with? Now harness that and take a little “soulshot” with your spirit camera and remember that feeling. Start to draw on that when you need to get back to that place. Even if that just means consciously making the decision to not close off. Think about it, we close off to protect ourselves but it only ends up making us feel bad, not the people who we are “protecting” ourselves from! Like that old saying that is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. That aint gonna happen! The next time you are in the position where you want to close off ask yourself, “Are these people or is this situation worth putting all of that excess stress on my beautiful heart?” The answer is always no. Don’t succumb to energetic set backs because of some jack in the box who doesn’t get it. Shoulders back, breath even and steady, heartbeat regulated. Choose it! Choose you. It is your birthright to feel whole. It takes practice and patience and occasional setbacks. But we are all capable of living in a state of joyful and open- hearted awareness. We all deserve to live whole, enthusiastic, and joyful lives. We cannot avoid stress but we can choose how we handle our stressors. This is who we really are.