Monday, August 24, 2009

Simple Energy

Waking up in the morning, there is a simple decision to be made. Most days, we make this decision without even really recognizing that we're making it. If you court a habit of careful self-observation, though, you will perhaps come to recognize this decision you make each morning, each moment.

You can choose to live the day by applying the brakes. Or you can live your day in free-fall, going with the flow.

I suspect that this common decision process is a matter of energy, with a physics very much like magnetic energy. Either we react against things as they are——like magnets of the same polarity repulsing each other; or we're drawn into life, like magnets of opposite polarity pulling one toward one another. 

It's easy to get in the habit of reluctance, of applying the brakes. Living this way, you feel a quiet protest against things as they are. You resist the mortality of the physical body as seen in everyday ache and pain.  You're a little reluctant to get out of bed, to do things. In this mode, your knee-jerk response to the world is one of quiet negation, reluctance, ennui. My hunch is that this impulse arises as a rejection of that most formidable of truths—that we're mortal. In an attempt to deny that truth, we quietly deny life itself.

Normally, I think, this mode of reluctance is present from time to time in all of us, but within a context of give and take. Resistance one moment is replaced by attraction the next, and life is an orchestra of interplay between two energy strains. Fortunately, not many of us are mired in negation all the time. Most of us experience both.

Still, it seems to me that one mode or the other generally has the upper hand in most people. Many people live recessively overall, with reluctance toward the world as it is. This is, I think, the actual prevalent attitude of our culture, this quiet fear and reluctance toward life. Others, rarer individuals, have a happier, more risky approach, in which they meet most of life's idiosyncracies with interest and enthusiasm, moving forward rather than resisting life. 

And I further believe that this isn't a matter of fate or innate personality, but rather that we can choose which club to belong to. The default is the recessive style, I think, as culturally it seems to be the status quo. Fear, after all, pretty much rules us these days, and because it's so common we don't realize it's a choice.  

But although there is some leap of faith required, it is entirely possible to release the brakes and make the leap into the unknown land. I know a few people who h ave managed it, and others who experiment with it from time to time.

A teacher once described this moment to me in the following way:  "It's like jumping from an airplane, only to realize that there is no ground to crush you when you fall. Not only that, but there never was any ground to start with."

1 comment:

Molly said...

I like your thoughtful ruminations on everyday life. I'm wishing my youngest would embrace life and a new chance at Uni instead of being negative and reluctant......You're right about there being a lot of fear about these days. When I was young we were nervous and shy, but excited about life's possibilities and eager to try new things. Sigh!