Wasting Energy Surviving
Worrying about the future and trying to figure out what we’re going to do about future events can take up a lot of our mental attention and energy. Likewise, thinking about something from the past and trying to glean the kernel of knowledge that a situation might yield, or trying to understand how we should have done it differently, can also take up a fair amount of time and energy.
It can so completely absorb us that we become unaware of where we are, what we’re doing and what’s going on around us.
The trouble is that a lot of this rehashing of the past or concern about the future doesn’t lead to any change, or decision point or taking any action. So it’s just wasted energy. It’s especially wasteful in the energy department if the things we’re chewing on have a less than positive feeling state they bring with them.
All animals have a way they can alter how their body is working in response to demands from their environments. This is how a gazelle can go from grazing placidly to running for it’s life in seconds. This survival physiology tends to take over from well-being physiology when we feel a threat to our survival. Unfortunately, unlike a gazelle we can feel a threat to our survival when we get wrapped up in our thoughts, if those thoughts are about things that affect our survival, like income, social position and connections, time and resource management…a lot of the things that we might spend time thinking about.
Survival physiology takes a lot of energy. If your body mind is getting ready to evacuate because there is a hurricane coming, it isn’t putting any energy into fixing the roof and cutting firewood.
We have more energy when we live in the present.
It can be hard to stop putting energy into thoughts about the past and future. But it’s especially useful to do that because it’s the present moment where potential and creation exist. If we want to solve anything, then we want to have access to potential and creativity and have our energy freed up in order to make use of what comes in.
We can get to the present moment through noticing physical sensation, because sensation happens in the present.
This is really why massage is relaxing, because all the sensations bring our attention into the present. As we come to more fully inhabit the present we might notice that we’re safe. That our survival isn’t being threatened in that moment. Even if it’s being threatened by something abstract we have more access to the creative potential that could help us see a solution we missed before. We would also have more energy available to act on a solution.
The present is also where change and healing occur. When we come into the present moment there is a potential to shift our trajectory if we want to. We don’t have to go back to being who we were or how we were.
All in all, it’s a real benefit to our organism to spend time bringing our body and mind into the now, where it can be relaxed, aware, safe and full of creative potential.