Alchemy of body and spirit

KNOW YOURSELF


Key ideas

  • Condition of existence: without energy, our life is impossible by definition.
  • Unified system: the human body and psyche interact on equal terms in the processes of energy exchange.
  • Priceless Capital: Spiritual traditions and scientific achievements give us the keys to harmony with the energy system of our world.

Svetlana returned home, as they say, without legs, with one desire – to fall on the bed and never move again. Fall asleep and sleep until the morning in order to somehow regain strength. But then the bell rings, she picks up the receiver … and it seems to throw her out from under the covers. The voice of the man, whose call she had been waiting for ages, asks if she would agree to spend this evening together. Svetlana rushes into the shower, dresses in a second, reapplies her makeup and flies to the other end of the city to spend a crazy evening there.

Where did this energy come from? Who would undertake to argue that only from those calories that the tired body of a girl has prudently accumulated? Yes, we need calories, but we are not machines that burn fats, proteins and carbohydrates like a motor burns gasoline.

For us, humans, assimilation, transformation and release of energy occurs differently, it is controlled by other mechanisms, including psychological ones. So what are we actually talking about when we use the word “energy”?

The nature of strength

What psychic force instantly mobilized the tired Svetlana? Love, or, as classical psychoanalysis clarifies, the desire for sexual pleasure? But it is unlikely that libido can explain the behavior of a passenger dozing all the way on the train, who suddenly wakes up and runs to catch a taxi, barely getting off the platform. Where does so much energy come from?

“Sex drive – our libido – is by far the most important part of a person’s energy, but it’s only part,” says cognitive therapist Eric Albert. “After all, the diversity of our needs and emotions is not limited to sex: we also experience surprise, guilt, envy, fear, impatience, anger and joy. I think the passenger’s behavior, like the actions of a girl in love, are primarily associated with the emotions that these people experienced at the moment when they had the prospect of getting home quickly or having a great evening. “

Emotions charge us with energy, evoke a feeling of inner strength, encourage us to be active and, in general, determine our vitality – this is confirmed by numerous studies of the psychology of emotions.

Thanks to the data of modern psychology, we know better today than in the era of Freud how and to what extent the emotional sphere affects our body. Emotions activate the autonomic nervous system, and our heart begins to pound wildly, breathing interrupts, dry mouth appears, cheeks redden, or palms sweat.

“Such reactions are necessary for the body in order to strengthen muscle activity, to become more active,” explains neurologist Zinaida Kolesnikova. – When, for example, we feel joy, small arteries expand, blood flow to the skin increases, the face turns red – such accelerated blood circulation facilitates the nutrition of all body tissues, and all physiological processes in it begin to go faster. Therefore, rejoicing, we feel lightness in the whole body, cheerfulness, a surge of strength. “

Most spend much more energy on mental activity than on physical effort

The vegetative system affects the endocrine and neuro-humoral, activating neurophysiological reactions: hormones and neurotransmitters begin to be actively produced – dozens of chemicals, thanks to which the interaction between neurons is carried out, on which our mood and activity ultimately depend.

Both the girl and the hurrying passenger instantly mobilized their strengths thanks to the release of adrenaline, which accelerated their heart rate and increased muscle tone. Further, their condition depends on how the circumstances will develop.

If the romantic evening goes well, and the passenger quickly leaves the station by taxi, under the influence of positive emotions, everyone will begin to produce a large amount of dopamine. Thanks to this neurotransmitter, they will have a great mood, they will feel satisfaction, pleasure, elation.

But if there is no free car, impatience can be replaced by irritation due to a decrease in the level of another neurotransmitter – serotonin. As a result, the passenger will not be able to convert the adrenaline energy into constructive actions and, most likely, will nervously pace up and down, feeling anger or depression.

These complex emotions arise as a result of the interaction of several factors, but one thing is certain: energy that is not spent for its intended purpose can turn against us.

Energy in physics

Natural energy exists in many forms: mechanical, chemical, electromagnetic, gravitational, nuclear, thermal. Some types of energy can be converted into others, but the total amount does not change. The formula proposed by Albert Einstein (e = mc2), establishes the equivalence of matter and energy. The equation predicts that a mass of one pound, multiplied by the square of the speed of light, under certain conditions will yield as much energy as a huge power plant. And when a handful of uranium turns into energy, an explosion occurs that can destroy an entire city with tens of thousands of people. Before Einstein, the world of matter, where mass rules, and the world of energy were in no way connected. Einstein was the first to show that these two worlds are permeable, you just need to be able to see the connection between them and learn how to convert mass into energy and back.

Assimilate and distribute

Does our physical form depend on the state of the psyche? Physiologist Jacques Fricker states: “Only 30% of the 2500 calories burned daily are spent on physical activity, 20% nourish the brain, the rest provide the metabolism in the body that supports life.”

When you compare these numbers to the 8,000 calories per day required by a professional cyclist, there is no doubt that most people spend much more energy on mental activity than on physical activity.

Anorexia and bulimia, as well as depression (when a person eats and sleeps a lot, but remains lethargic), serve as evidence of the huge influence of the psyche on the absorption of energy. More precisely, on the interaction of the mental and the physical, as Jacques Fricker reminds of: “Why is the energy effect of carbohydrates felt long before they are absorbed? Because the brain, as soon as it receives a signal from the senses that calories are about to enter the body, immediately releases the available reserves. “

Another example of this interaction is that some people eat badly because they feel bad. But the opposite is also true: well-being worsens when a person does not receive good nutrition. So it is difficult to separate the physical and mental sides of life.

The vital force we need comes from the cosmic energy that fills the Universe

Dr. Deepak Chopra, an American endocrinologist from India, is an adherent of Ayurveda, a centuries-old Indian medicine that harnesses the healing power of the mind. To the question: “Why do waves, wind, fauna and flora never get tired, but people get tired so often?” – the doctor replies: “We lack serenity, we do not accept the world as it really is. Otherwise we would become as tireless as the swell of the sea. “

Such an anthropocentric approach to “natural energy flows” irritates many and even outrages some. But Deepak Chopra is not the only one who preaches Eastern ideas about energy to the Western world.

Thanks to yoga, qigong and shiatsu, many have heard of Indian prana, Chinese qi and Japanese qi (all of which are different names for the same energy).

“The vital force we need comes from the cosmic energy that fills the Universe,” says Lydia Klass, a Zhong Yuan Qigong instructor and participant in international trainings at the Shaolin Monastery. – We receive this energy from our parents at the moment of conception, we draw it from food, air, hormones and the environment. Once in the body from these five sources, energy is distributed through channels called meridians. “

Energy in psychoanalysis: libido

The founder of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud believed that the human body is a complex energy system governed by the law of conservation of energy. And the main source of vital energy is needs or drives. They create tension in the psyche and force us to act to release this tension. Once the need is satisfied, we get pleasure, and then a new need arises. At the same time, Freud considered sexual energy to be the most essential for the development of personality (he called it libido).

The Swiss analyst Carl Gustav Jung, whom Freud considered his successor, abandoned the sexual understanding of the term “libido” and referred to psychic energy as such – this is what caused the breakdown of the relationship between Freud and Jung. “Libido is the body’s need for its most natural state,” wrote Jung. “From a genetic point of view, the bodily needs that make up the essence of libido are hunger, thirst, sleep, sex, and emotional states or affects.”

Find joy in yourself

Western science has a hard time accepting the concept of life force eluding the world’s most famous equation e = mc2, since it cannot be measured otherwise than by its effect.

“We know that the cells of the human body can interact with each other by means of electromagnetic signals of various ranges of radiation: radio signals, ultraviolet and infrared radiation,” explains physicist Vyacheslav Pikush. “In this case, useful information is contained in the frequency or amplitude of the signals, and not in their power.”

Perhaps this is the explanation of acupuncture: of course, scientists do not yet have enough sensitive equipment to detect such signals, in particular, weak electric currents flowing through various systems of energy distribution inside the body (in the Eastern tradition, through channels, meridians). But science took a lot of time to explain the nature of the passage of a nerve impulse, which can be very noticeable if, for example, you hit something with your elbow.

We return to where we started: the more accurately we try to define life energy, the more surely it escapes us. You can perceive it as an incomprehensible initial force, expressed in the Big Bang. Or as a “vital impulse”, about which Henri Bergson and the philosophers, deservedly called vitalists, argue – for them all nature is filled with “the rudiments of life” that carry divine energy.

The maximum amount of energy is released the moment we experience joy.

Perhaps the most important thing in energy has been understood by Eastern thinkers and we should listen to them? “Qi is not just a cosmic energy that is enough to capture,” says doctor Liu Dong, a qigong teacher, with a smile. “The goal of qigong and other practices is not to supply fuel to the body, but to communicate with the cosmos, which gives joy.”

Indeed, the maximum amount of energy is released at the moment when we experience joy – it is this emotion that stimulates the release of the hormone of pleasure. Fear, on the other hand, often fetters us.

Then the question about energy and fatigue can be asked differently: how to learn to live with a feeling of inner joy, regardless of the conditions in which we have to develop and move forward? We all, to varying degrees, are able to find the answer to this question.

Many secrets of this source of life have yet to be solved, but the development of science and familiarization with spiritual traditions open the paths available to everyone. And this invaluable capital is always at our disposal. And under our responsibility.

Energy in the Eastern Tradition: Kundalini

According to ancient Indian traditions (yoga), the cosmic energy (prana) in our body is represented by the energy of kundalini. She is symbolically depicted as a sleeping snake coiled up in a ring or spiral at the base of the spine, in the lowest chakra. The goal of many Eastern practices is to “awaken the snake,” that is, to learn how to control life energy. There are certain exercises for this. Upon awakening, the energy begins to move up the spine, from the lower energy centers (chakras) to the upper ones, transforming and expanding the human consciousness. When the kundalini reaches the highest chakra, in the region of the crown, the human consciousness loses its individual boundaries and merges with the highest consciousness of the absolute – the Cosmos.

  • Vitis Vilyunas “Psychology of emotions”, Peter, 2006.
  • Simon Brown “Chi Energy. School of self-knowledge “, Rosman-Press, 2004

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