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By Grant Lawrence
We have all experienced it. The times life seems to go in a certain flow. We seem to be moving in the right direction effortlessly. At other times, life seems a terrible struggle. Surely, we would all like to spend more time in that Flow of life that makes us feel so good and so whole.
In Asia there is a general understanding of this energy and it is called by some cultures as Qi or Prana. It is a flow of energy that sustains all of life. There is the belief that a blocking of this energy is the source of disease. In fact, in traditional Chinese medicine there is the concept that the human body is a small universe composed of interconnected systems. When there is an imbalance (yin/yang) with respect to the life force or Qi then there will not be healthy functioning.
As a mental health professional, I witness daily the damage that the blocking of emotional energy causes to mental and emotional functioning. After establishing trust with the client, it is imperative that therapist facilitate a re-connection to the client's inner and outer world. Often, in an attempt to avoid pain, a client will block certain thoughts and feelings. But there is generally a big price to be paid for this lack of inner awareness and understanding. The psyche finds a way to manifest that which is being blocked and that can result in depression, addictions, dysfunctional behaviors, and breaks with reality.
So then, this feeling of being in the Flow is actually something that captures the essence of health of body, mind, and spirit. The blocking of the Flow is something that can have deleterious consequences to the total being of a living system.
How is it that we can spend more time in "the Flow" and less time in the struggle of life?
The answer can be found in an understanding of systems. A system is "a group of independent but interrelated elements comprising a unified whole." Our body is a system that operates from elements working in harmony and balance with each other. The body works in various stages of homeostasis or stability but it functions in some sort of balance until it is overcome with disease or dies. Life is composed of an infinite number of systems.
Systems function as either, more or less, closed or open energy systems. A closed energy system is more isolated from its environment and more constricted from environmental interactions.
A closed system contains limited energies and will run down. In contrast, a more open energy system is an interacting system that is able to gain a potentially unlimited supply of energy from its surrounding environment.
The key to living more of life in the Flow can be found in applying the principles of openness in our own lives. When we are constricted, we have shut down much of our communication and interaction with the rest of life around us. We constrict ourselves by limiting our awareness, our focus, and our feelings to a very narrow range of energies that exist within and without us. But when we are open we have a great interest, care, and feeling for life. We are aware of the life that is going on all around us and we feel energized by it and motivated to share in the life process with other living beings.
Again as energy systems, we cannot be completely open or closed but we can become more or less open or closed. The choice is ours. What type of life do we want to live and how much joy do we wish to have in our own life. We can shut down to much of the energy that Flows as life and become a more closed energy system. Or, we can open up to life's energy Flow by living in greater Awareness and we can experience life as more Loving and complete.
Many believe that Love is impossible to maintain or even have. But that is because there is a blocking of Awareness of the basic principle of life. When we maintain Awareness we come to understand the principle that we could not exist without the rest of life. When we understand that we have our life because of other living beings then we develop a great appreciation and care for that which gives life. This awareness of the truth of our existence opens our minds and hearts to the energy Flow of life (Qi, Prana) and it also heals us. It brings us greater joy and happiness in our lives.
So an Awareness of the reality of our lives will open our hearts and minds and will be felt as the power of Love. What will flower in us will be a great and powerful Love because we will now be a more open system. We will experience the Flow of life that is really nothing more than a restoring or healing energy that allows us to live in a healthy balance within and without ourselves. The blocking of awareness of the Truth of life is constricting and it leads to all manner of physical, emotional, and societal ills.
To live Life more fully and in greater Love then there has to be an openness that arises with awareness of the Truth.