J. Randall Stewart
20 - Into the Energy Flow - Part 2: Energy is the Essence
We’ve been talking about God as the energy of life that births and sustains all life, and how we can get more into the flow of the energy. Which reminds me, not more than an hour ago I was working on wiring a light. We just closed on our house about two months ago, and with the current medical sequester, we’ve been doing a lot of remodeling projects, one of which has been removing the drop ceiling in the kitchen. So, I’ve had to unwire and rewire the two main kitchen lights. But one of them is wired wrong. The standard for lights is to wire the power to the switch box, which then carries power up to the light when the switch is turned on. But this particular light has the power run to the light instead of the switch box. Don’t ask me why it was done that way. The house is over eighty years old, so who knows. What I do know is that I have to work with the light and power supply the way it is, for now. And the way it’s wired is just plain backwards. As a result, I was having trouble rewiring it. The reason for this trouble is that I have to feed the power from the light, down to the switch box, in a way that allows it feed back only when the switch is on, without interrupting the neutral which allows the circuit to complete. If the circuit can’t complete, it throws the circuit breaker, which is designed to shut the power off if there’s a break in the line. So, to recap, the power comes on, feeds to the light, but if it can’t get back to the breaker box the breaker in said box shuts off, because that’s what it’s designed to do. It’s all about the flow of electricity. When the electricity can keep flowing, everything works. When the electricity gets blocked, at any point, the power shuts down. Got it? The same is true with the God-energy of the universe. It needs to be able to complete the circuit in order to keep flowing from God, through us, and back to God. This is what we could rightly call connection, or communion. God’s life flows from him/her to us, but we must allow it to flow back to God in order to keep the flow going. Sometimes we can do that directly, and sometimes through the flow of God in others. But in any situation, when the flow gets blocked, we don’t keep experiencing more of that flow. So, the question is, how does this God flow work, what blocks the flow and what keeps it going? Good questions.
It’s fairly easy to explain, at least conceptually, what keeps the flow of God coming to us. We have to keep giving it away. Electricity works directionally. It cannot move back and forth along the same line. That’s why the circuit must be completed, which is to say, why the electricity must come in and go back out in order to keep flowing. Now, electricity can also just sit in the line, there but doing nothing. It’s present, but not flowing, and therefore serving no purpose and doing no good. When the flow of God is blocked, in our individual lives, it’s not like God is no longer in us or with us, it’s just that God’s presence in us isn’t doing much good. That flow is still coming to us, in a way that still sustains us, but not in great abundance. In order to increase the flow of God into our lives we must learn how to open up the flow of God out of our lives, which allows us to experience the same connection to God that he/she already has with us. Getting into the flow of God never means getting more of God for ourselves. We really have all of God we need to sustain life in the most basic sense. But if we are to experience God fully, we must start learning how to let God flow out of us in ways that pour back into others and God. It’s not about God needing something from us, but about completing the circuit in a way that connects us back to God. As in any relationship, a one way giving really doesn’t work. The person getting may seem to be benefiting the most, but really, both are suffering from the disconnection, just in different ways. Transactional relationship doesn’t work. God doesn’t need us to sustain him/her, God wants to be in a relationship that has a good amount of flow, where we both are in the movement of enjoying the mutual exchange of love. That means we must let love flow out of us towards God in our limited capacity, so God’s limitless love can continue flowing to us in ways that produce a thriving life. The only way that works is if we attempt to model God’s kind of love, a love that is always flowing out and in. As we get into the flow with God, we learn how to let that overflow into others. Connection breeds more connection, but breaking also breeds more breaking. We tend to reproduce our own stance towards life, whether we intend to or not. If our energy is positive, it will have a positive effect on others, and if it is negative, then we will affect others negatively as well. So, one of the first things we need to do when beginning to try and recognize this flow is learning how to sense when the flow is positive or negative, or when it is moving or blocked.
Whether we realize it or not, we all operate from the place of this flow. If you didn’t know, the flow is mostly beneath the surface. We rarely see electricity. What we see most is how it works. When we flip the switch, the electricity flows and the light comes on. When we run the vacuum cleaner, the electricity flows, the motor spins, and the dirt gets sucked up. The visible is what we see on the surface of things, but the energy is the real essence behind it. What this means is that the energy is the power behind external actions, and that the quality of the energy determines the positivity or negativity of what we experience. Think about it. When someone is angry, you might simply focus on the words they’re using to express that anger, but don’t you also feel the power of that anger on a deeper level. If someone were to speak those same words, but without the power of anger behind them, you wouldn’t get the same effect. In fact, if I may use a more vulgar example, I could say the phrase “fuck you” in twenty different ways that mean twenty different things. I could say it with fury, and really make a lot of people mad, uncomfortable, or afraid. I could say it with humor, and make those who know my humor really laugh. I could say it with indifference, joy, sarcasm, snark, condescension, and many more emotions and produce totally different meanings. Why, because it’s not the words that hold the deepest meaning, but the power behind them. Now, that’s not to say that words have no meaning. Words can certainly help nuance this power in more clearly discernible ways. But, when we really start to tune into the power, we’ll begin to see that we can discern quite a lot about what’s going on inside people without the help of any words at all. We do this all the time, but perhaps give it little conscious recognition. It often registers to us below the surface, because we haven’t learned how to recognize the same power within ourselves, behind what we’re also doing and saying. Regardless the words or actions, it’s always the power behind them, whether negative or positive, that speaks the most. Can we not simply look at someone and know, somehow, what they are feeling, thinking, or going through? Sure, there is what we call body-language, but that just further affirms this idea, that the real power behind everything is the flow or blockage of this God energy.
So, what’s the real benefit of beginning to understand and identify this energy in ourselves and others? When we better understand the energy source, we’ll better understand its outward expression, and realize that the way things present on the surface is different at their essence. Let me explain. As I’ve grown in my own ability to recognize the power behind things, I’ve better understood how people are acting and how I am reacting. For example, what’s going on when I feel sexually attracted to someone else. Yes, I'm married, but I still feel random sexual attraction. No judging. When I feel that attraction, I used to just take it at face value. The message at face value is, I must find this other person attractive. I’m literally feeling an attraction for them, but what I’m feeling is energy. And if I’m feeling that energy, I must ask these three questions; “where is it coming from, what does it mean, and what should I do about it.” Being more aware, I’ve come to realize that, most often, that energy is coming from the other person. I’m feeling their energy of attraction. So, the next face value assumption I could make is that they have an attraction for me. That’s the meaning I could take, and thus decide from there how to act. Most of the time, how I would choose to act, in a mindless, reactive state, is to return or repel that attraction. This is a self-focused response. But when I examine the deeper energy, I can realize that there are many other things going on behind that felt energy of attraction. Most of the time, what is going on, is the expression of some kind of deeper need or desire, stemming from some kind of emptiness. In other words, attraction is usually a negative energy expressing a need from a wounded state of being. Negative energy is a vacuum, positive energy a force. Negative energy is always felt as the power of trying to pull something into us, or out of others. Positive energy is the power of trying to give from ourselves to others. With negative energy, the real, deeper message can often be something like this, “I feel worthless, unloved, unnoticed, unwanted, so I’m putting off a negative/taking energy of wanting you to notice and value me, which you will translate in your ego-centric state as me wanting you, when what I really want is to be healed of this broken wound that keeps me feeling like I don’t matter and can’t really be loved.” Does that make sense? When we are asleep to the deeper energy of life, we will likely translate everything through our broken ego-centric needs, which means we are constantly putting off and taking in negative energy which is always mistranslated and misunderstood. All negative energy is such because it reverses the intended flow of positive, Divine energy. Positive energy flows to us without our effort. Negative energy results when we are trying to get something to flow into us. Sounds like the same thing, but it’s not.
Remember, the circuit must be completed in order to reconnect this good energy back to God. That means the abundant energy of God already flowing to us must then flow back out of us. That is the flow of love, which is always a flow of giving. It is an outpouring flow. The negative flow is opposite. It is the flow of taking, of trying to draw out of others what we need. The reason it blocks the flow of God’s love for us, is that it begins from a stance that denies that flow, and affirms the false reality that we do not have this inflowing and must somehow make it happen for ourselves. It is our attempt to turn the flow backwards, into ourselves instead of out of ourselves. It is like trying to reverse the current of a raging river, and attempting to move in opposition to that flow. That’s why it is so draining. It is literally what kills us, in every part of our being. It is a kind of physical and spiritual death. It is what the Christian scriptures call "hell", not a physical place we go, but a state of existence we may live in now, right here on earth. And it has everything to do with being in or out of the flow of Gods life-giving, love-centered energy. However, as we begin to tune into the deeper essence of this energy flow, beneath the surface of the external world, we can begin to see things as they really are, and react to them as we really should. Then we not only learn to see and love others in the reality of their true state, but we can also tap into the deeper source of God’s love for us and others. Back to my sexual attraction example. When I feel the deeper, negative energy behind that attraction, instead of selfishly accepting or rejecting the surface representation, I can see the deeper need and begin to address it. Instead of saying, “oh, this person thinks I’m attractive,” and either affirming or rejecting their advances based on my broken need to feel important, I can say, “oh, this person feels like no loves or notices them,” and can then react to the deeper need by affirming that they are valuable, not for how they may feed my own broken ego-need for acceptance, but for how they are a part of the God-energy of love already present in them, simply because they are alive. The same is true with so many other negative energies. Whether we see it or not, we are mostly asleep to this deeper energy, simply reacting out of our negative energy to the negative energy of others. In other words, we’re all walking around trying so hard to reverse the natural energy flow of the universe in an attempt to draw out of others what God is already trying to pour into us. Back to the river illustration. Think of it like a steady stream of water pouring into the container of our lives. Think of this container like a self-contained holding tank, with no other access but two shut-off valves, one at the front and one at the back. God controls the back valve, and we control the front. Imagine that God wants to pour into us a steady, life giving stream of water that will overflow into every part of our being. So, God opens his/her valve wide, and the water starts pouring in. Then what happens? The tank begins to fill with water, and eventually it will fill all the way up until there is no room left. Now, let’s just say that some of the water in this tank represents the energy we need for life. So, we do have a steady stream of life-giving water from which to draw. But let’s say that our consumption only taps into a fraction of that life-water on a daily basis. Let’s just say that our use is ounces compared to God’s inflowing of gallons. Eventually, the tank will fill, pressure will build, and our personal use will only take a little out every day. What happens in that situation is that God must close off his/her valve almost all the way, because the little we use requires only a little to replace. God cannot continue pouring great amounts into a mostly full tank that loses only a little every day. But, then let’s say that we decide to open our valve and begin to let all the excess out. We decided to go gang-busters and just open that valve all the way. Then the tank begins to flow out. Then what happens? At that point God can open his/her value accordingly and begin to pour more into us, because we are pouring more out. Thus, the inflow of this life-energy increases as the outflow increases. Then we are constantly experiencing a fresh flowing river of this God-energy pouring into us, because it is also always pouring out. But the opposite is also true. When we block that flow, even the life-water we already have begins to get stagnant, old, and toxic. God’s inflowing is always meant to keep flowing. God is a giver, and love is a giving flow, always pouring out in a never-ending cycle that ensures everyone will always get filled, but only as we continue to lean into that reality and keep the flow going. When we do that, we begin to experience what the Christian scriptures call heaven, not some far off afterlife where everything is perfect, but a present state where everyone has everything they need in order to feel loved, accepted, secure, and satisfied by the very life-energy we were created for. It’s what the Christian spiritual teacher, Paul, called the fruits of the Spirit, which are “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” What Paul calls spiritual fruit is just another way of saying that the flow of God’s life-giving, love-energy is all the things we’ve always known would fulfill us. You many not identify every quality on that list, but you know they’re all good, and about what makes life good. Couldn’t we all use more love and joy. Don’t you wish you were more patience and self-controlled? When we are in the flow of God’s positive energy, we no longer need to try and extract our self-worth from others, or seek the empty praise and affirmation from those just as empty as us. When we truly feel and know that God loves us, and are completely filled by that good energy, then we are at peace, and can see the reality of a world were all is given to us, and nothing need be taken from others in order for us to be filled.
I hope you don’t mind, but I’m taking my time and walking through this concept of God-energy very slowly. I just want to really hit it home, especially since our concept of God is often cemented in the idea of a lone, singular being limited to some ethereal throne in some kind of distant heaven throwing down thunderbolts when his/her kids get to rowdy and out of line. I grew up with that kind of image of God. Yet, even Christianity attempts to speak of God’s ever-presence, the reality that God is not limited to a limited space, but is everywhere. But mostly that gets mistranslated into the idea that somehow, God’s mind reaches out from that distant throne in a way that enables a reading of our world without a direct involvement in it. In our overly mind-based culture we often, also over identify God as a mind. But a mind can be cold, detached, calculated, disembodied, and often capable of doing things a full-bodied person never would. The image of God as a mind, detached from the full presence of embodiment, can easily become a cruel, authoritative tyrant in our minds. But a God fully present in our world, in every way, is better understood as the flow of life-giving energy that sustains and fulfills all life. That’s just another way of saying that God fully embodies all life in the same way we do, and so can not only understand our reality and consequent needs, but is right there with us in it. God feels everything with us, because God is everything in us. God as this energy-force doesn’t mean God is not personal. This idea in no way cancels the Christian concept of God’s personhood, it actually, fully affirms it. It’s just that the Christian idea of God has often gotten twisted and mistranslated over the centuries to resemble something more like the Greek gods than the true essence of a God who is, actually, fully present in life with us, just like the Bible says. So, we’re going to continue wading into this God-energy idea as we keep revealing what that looks like in more detailed ways. I hope you’re in for the long haul. I want to explore this idea as fully as I can, because I want you to lean in and learn how to experience this life as fully as you can. It’s really meant to be good, and I hope you’re catching a taste of that good flavor as we explore these ideas. Thanks for staying with me so far. Let’s keep going.