The core of a human being - that source of virtually boundless creative power as well as physical and psychic energy - will never be found by dissecting the human body. Nor can it be arrived at by analyzing the human mind. Yet a sense of what I call living from the core or the soul, an experience of living - living truthfully to your own values - is something each of us experiences at certain times in our lives.
Although most of us only happen upon this experience accidentally, it can also be cultivated by pursuing actions which we enjoy, or which make us feel good about ourselves and our lives. It can happen when we fall in love, when we feel happy because everything seems in harmony around us, or when we feel pleased with ourselves, our children, or some accomplishment. In such moments everything seems to fit together, or feel right, and life has meaning. Such a sense is central to an experience of living with energy.
The techniques for building a high-energy lifestyle are only of lasting value if you value yourself and live your life on that assumption.
tuning into core energy
Psychologist Abraham Maslow, who spent his life studying not human pathology but rather human beings who lived their lives with great energy, creativity and joy - he called them self-actualizers - referred to the special moments in our lives as ‘peak experiences.’ After examining the experiences of thousands of high energy creative and happy people, he came to the conclusion that these self-actualizers have certain things in common. They tend, for instance, to be the healthiest people in society mentally and physically. They tend to have a lot of values in common too such as prizing simplicity, wholeness, effortlessness, truth, honesty, uniqueness, completeness, and perfection - in fact, the same values one might expect mystics to possess. They are, in effect, fully functioning people who tend frequently to have peak experiences - moments of great happiness, rapture, ecstasy - in which life’s conflicts are at least temporarily transcended or resolved. Other psychologists, anthropologists and philosophers have described Maslow’s self-actualizing person too. Carl Rogers - perhaps most appropriately of all - refers to Maslow’s self-actualizer as a ‘fully functioning’ person.
Out of their work has emerged a whole new picture of what it is to be human. It has changed our perspective, so that we no longer see a human being the way Freud did - as a collection of repressed destructive urges, only barely restrained by learned moral constructs from destroying ourselves and others - but as potentially autonomous human beings. We recognize that the destructive and self-defeating tendencies which we all have are far less the hidden truth of a person than the results of a frustration in the expression of what Maslow called the Self - or soul - of life itself. Not only boundless energy, but happiness and freedom from this frustration and from negative thought patterns and the behavior they engender lie in letting your natural self-actualizing tendencies (which in most of us are still weak or dormant) develop. Until they grow, we all regress into fear and frustration or laziness. Once they become stronger, one’s life becomes an ongoing process of energy release, growth, and unfolding of potential as well as, quite simply, much happier.
what are your peak experiences?
Describe a moment or moments in your life where you felt a sense of `living from your core' - a time when everything seemed to work for you, where you felt temporarily fulfilled and good about yourself. If you are not sure you understand the idea, simply describe a moment when you felt particularly happy. Remember the scene as vividly as possible and use as much detail as you can to recall your impressions. Use this description as a reference point from now on for how good you can feel and how wonderfully life can fit together. As you become more and more self actualizing and come to live more and more from your soul, peak experiences become more frequent.
create new visions of you and your life
Now start now to dream of what it will be like for you to have all the energy you ever need. Begin to play with a number of clear mental pictures of yourself fit, well and looking great. But don't just consider the physical changes you would like to make. Get to know the person you aim to be and see yourself in this image. Record what you see, hope for, want to bring into being in a notebook and refer to it often when you feel unsure of your goals and direction. Here are some of the characteristics of high energy self-actualizing to use as inspiration:
An exceptional ability to cope with change and to learn from it. Most people have trouble with change. It is unsettling and frightening. It needn't be. It all depends on how you look at it. We all face fear with changes, but the more you come to live from your core - to manifest your soul energy - the more you will tend to view change not as threatening but as a challenge to learn from and grow from, whether any particular change at face value appears to be `good' or `bad'. And as far as failure is concerned, instead of being a source of fear, it can be viewed as something that shows how to deal with a similar situation in the future. After all, human beings do fail sometimes.
No great worry about saying ‘No’. Not aggression, but assertiveness, plays a central role in creating energy. It implies a strong sense of your individual right to your values and opinions, and a tendency to respect the rights of other people as well. You need to be able to say no to a food or drink you don't really want, a request from a lover or spouse, a demand from a child or a colleague. The best way to develop healthy assertiveness is simply to practice it. It feels a bit strange at first, but the more you do the easier it becomes. Paradoxically, only when you are positively assertive can you discover what real unselfishness is, because then what you give is what you choose to give, not what you feel obliged to give.
A well-conditioned body. This not only brings you energy, it also helps you cope with stress better, look better and younger, and strengthens your sense of self-reliance. It also shifts hormonal balance and brain chemistry, making you highly resistant to depression and anxiety, and highly prone to feeling good about yourself and your life. Top-level fitness leads to a freedom to achieve excellence in other nonphysical areas of your life as well. It increases stamina, strength and flexibility, not only physically but emotionally as well.
A marked absence of common minor ailments and troubles. Most people believe that the Monday morning `blues' or the aches and pains in joints after forty are a normal part of living. But they take up little space when you have an abundance of energy. `Normal' means moving with ease, and feeling pretty good about things day after day - sometimes feeling very good indeed - not because something stupendous has just happened, but because when you are really fit and well that is the normal way to feel.
Laughter comes easily. An ability to laugh at the absurd (including yourself when appropriate) and a sense of fun are perhaps the most important of all the high-energy characteristics. Joy is health-giving. Paradoxically, often the most delightful sense of humor parallels a strong sense of purpose in a person - another high-energy characteristic.
Integrity. The more you become a self-actualizer, the more you set your own standards and live up to them. Your values become a source of strength and energy for you. You don't have to compromise them to achieve some temporary advantage. You can feel the truth, be who you really are, and make your life work.