A Field Guide to Life – Principle #6 – Energy

by Brad on December 11, 2012

This installment of A Field Guide to Life shows that it’s energy, not time, space or even resources, that sustains our world. It challenges you to become aware, with depth and clarity, of what matters most to you, and how you can devote your precious energy to its fulfillment.


Principle #6 – Energy

“The more you lose yourself in something bigger than yourself, the more energy you will have.”  – Norman Vincent Peale

Nature’s Principle: Energy creates the unity in the universe. At the instant of the Big Bang, only energy existed. All matter manifested from that singular energy, each according to its own unique creative essence. Therefore, total energy in the universe is constant; it can be transformed into matter and back again, but can be neither created nor destroyed. The result: a remarkably resilient, sustainable and elegantly beautiful world. Energy always goes into creating; none is wasted. Whether we experience energy in the form of light, a volcano, a star, a human being or a tree, it is all one. Because nature’s principles are held together by this single source of fuel, some of the words here may sound familiar. Such is the nature of oneness, the energy behind the underlying order of everything. In an energetic universe, all other aspects of life are ‘by-products.’ Time, space, and even matter are simply results of how energy manifests.  

In our more “local” universe here on earth, the sun is our ultimate source of power. It maintains temperatures conducive to all life as we know it. It powers photosynthesis, which not only sustains plant life, but transforms solar energy into food energy to sustain all other life on earth. No matter where on earth we look at life, in any of its manifestations, we can always draw a straight line path back to the sun as the source. Energy itself is intangible to our five senses, yet it drives all life as we know it.

The Opening Offered: Our physical world is tangible, perceived with the five senses. The energy that shapes that world, however, is invisible. Constantly at work, however, it organizes information, creating our experience of life. We gain glimpses into this energy in the form of intuition, dreams, visions, synchronistic experiences, but largely it’s at work behind the scenes, creating order from chaos. As we grow awareness and new ways of seeing, we gain access to the inner workings of this energy in our lives, and can tap into it in service of our greatest potential. 

Each of us has a unique reason for being here, represented by our natural essence, the “how” of our life’s unfolding, that part of self that wants to express itself in how we choose to live, our life’s greatest potential. As we discover our authentic truth we have the choice to devote our energy to its manifestation and fulfillment. In doing this, we open to the underlying order and flow of nature’s principles as our guiding force in life. In addition, our life’s energy equation shifts toward one of meaning, balance and sustainability. This expands our sense of time, allowing the energy of our truth to fill the space provided. 

Prevailing Wisdom: When we complain about how our lives don’t work, we often identify our enemies as time, money, job, relationship or even luck. Because we’ve come to believe these things have power, we’ve grown to fear them. We’ve created all manner of elaborate structures in life to keep them at bay. Not only can we not control them, but each is in limitless supply in our world. By identifying them as enemies, however, we create a hostile environment in which to live, which requires a fight with the hostile forces. We even see signs of winning this fight as an example of being alive, when all we’re really doing is draining energy in the process. Curious; the only aspect of life we can control is the one in limited supply – how we use energy. If we use it on negative thoughts, we’ve got little left for positive ones. It’s just that simple, and it’s a choice. The problem that sustains our troubles in life is that we don’t know what matters most to us. If we haven’t discovered our own unique creative essence, then we can’t devote energy to it. 

The Opportunity/Promise: When you discover that authentic truth living inside you and begin to consciously devote your life energy to what matters to you, how you experience life changes dramatically. Because you’re doing what truly matters to you, you enjoy it more. With enjoyment comes expansion of time; time seems to disappear when you are doing what you love. From loving yourself more, connections with others and with the world deepen. With deeper connection comes an opening to the depths of your own consciousness; you tap into the natural energies of your intuition, imagination and spirit. True meaning comes from your own internal experience of life, not from any external thing or measurement. You will have created a sense of meaning that is uniquely and powerfully your own. 

Nature’s Story: It seems humans are unique in the universe for being able to live something other than their own essence. Not true anywhere else. A spruce tree doesn’t get mad that’s it’s too cold during winter. A nautilus doesn’t worry about the shape of its shell. Yet each is miraculously and beautifully tailored to be exactly what it is, and it simply can’t help itself. Nature’s processes and principles are simple, yet the manifestations are infinitely complex. By putting energy only into expressing its own essence, every organism contributes to its ecological niche, and ensures its sustainability. Elegant simplicity.

An example of the conflict between the human dilemma and nature’s way is the fight between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Mississippi River. Rivers are alive; we might best think of the word river as a verb rather than a noun; a river is a process, not a result. If it stopped and became just a result, it would no longer be a river. A river’s essence is to move water along a least-energy path from land to sea. The least-energy path is rarely a straight line (a life-lesson all its own). If a river encounters rocks impeding its flow, it finds a new path. “Offending” rocks let the river know; the river responds. No summit meeting; no project plan; no second-guessing; no denial. Even without rocks, rivers tend to meander; it’s their way of finding lower-energy pathways. If the Corps of Engineers accepted how rivers do this, they’d stop trying to make the Mississippi River go somewhere it doesn’t want to go. The river’s “intention,” by the way, informed by its own feedback, says there’s an easier way to get to the Gulf of Mexico than by way of New Orleans. It “prefers” to join the Atchafalaya River a few hundred miles to the north. Problem is that nature’s way has been deemed by the Corps of Engineers as “inconvenient,” hence billions of dollars spent “messing.” In the long run, any attempt to change the flow of the Mississippi River is futile. For the engineers, it’s an issue of drama, that there’s something wrong with the river’s course that needs to be fixed. For the river, it’s an issue of possibility, that there’s a lower-energy path to the Gulf of Mexico. Unlike us, nature seems to love to find easy ways to do things; furthermore, nature can’t not do this; she will always find the lowest energy path, always find new possibilities. I’m not sure why that idea seems to confound the Corps of Engineers. One thing I am sure of is that the river passes no judgment on those who would try to mess with it. 

My Story:  I now see how much energy I’ve wasted in life, trying to right things that weren’t wrong, plan things that were inherently unpredictable, control things that can’t be controlled. Science told me there is always a least-energy path. Science did not tell me how nature found this path against a backdrop of unity, wholeness and allowing, not a backdrop of fragments, scheming and force … creations of my mind. I brute-forced a lot of results, simply due to my myopic viewpoint on energy. 

I wrote earlier about how life is more like tending a garden than like building a house. It’s all about energy. In building a house, you collect materials, create a plan, and make a house. Brute force. In tending a garden, you create conditions conducive to growth, with soil, light, water and nutrients. You don’t “make” plants grow, however; they do that on their own. Your role is to allow them to grow. The skills needed to tend gardens are opposite of those we’ve learned to develop, and the process is opposite of how we’ve been taught to see life. Looking back (for I couldn’t look forward so well back then), I see so many places I would have done so much more of what I wanted to do had I been able to “allow” rather than force.

An Invitation: Does your energy go into creating the life you want, or into to fighting the one you’ve got? What would it be like for you if you could adopt nature’s way of seeing and apply it to your life, instead of the other way around? What if you truly knew your unique essence, your reason for being here, and designed your entire life around its expression? What if the meaning you needed in life could show up naturally, just from your being your true self? How could the simplicity of living your essence open you to a much larger experience of life? What if time no longer mattered because you “had it all?” What if you accepted complete personal responsibility for the reality you’ve created? Big questions; not easy answers. Stay with the inquiry for a while; see where it may lead. Life’s a journey.


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