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The Relationship Between Energy and Health

Don't Be a Toaster

by Michael Braunstein

Can a mere thought block energy? Can a mere thought cause disease? A study at Duke University in 1997 found that thoughts leading to negative emotions like anger or sadness actually constrict the blood vessels of the heart, a condition known as ischemia. Ischemia starves the flow of energy to the muscle and is a precursor to heart attack.


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One of the most beautiful women in the world was calling long distance from Shreveport and I felt bad.

"I feel all dried out," she said. "I had a great time visiting you, but I feel, I don't know, just like I've been around too much energy. I feel dehydrated almost. You're so intense. Are you always so intense?" she asked.

"Hmmm," I thought to myself after we got off the phone. "Now I feel bad. Gee, too much energy." I felt like I was doing something wrong; like there was something wrong with me. I mean, I was enjoying life; we enjoyed one another when she visited. Now the idea came in that there was such a thing as "too much energy." My mind struggled with that. How can you have too much energy?

I entertained that notion for a while. "Maybe I should turn down the wick," I thought. But having energy was fun. Somehow having less of it didn't sound right. Then it occurred to me. Energy wasn't the problem here. Energy isn't a problem. Blocking energy is the problem. It is only when we resist energy that we have any problem at all. Energy is. There is nothing we can do about that. There is nowhere in the entire universe where you can hide from energy. It is everywhere. Where energy is resisted, there is form. Hmmm. Thinking about it, it became evident. A simple example made it clear.

Look around you. In the building you're in, there's lots of energy. Massive amounts of unseen electrical current spin through the walls around you. Megawatts of juice from huge powerplants squeeze through wires at the speed of light, inches from your body. No problem! But resist that energy, stick your fingers in an outlet, you got a problem. Go ahead, block the energy and then tell me how you feel.

Or think of a ten-ton truck rolling down the street at 50 miles per. That's a lot of kinetic energy. But it's no problem. In fact, it's a good thing. It's doing its job and everything's hunky-dory. But get out there and stand in front of that truck and resist that energy - you got a problem, about ten tons of it.

Energy is not the problem. Resisting energy is.

If we just make it a case of physics, we are told that it all began with the "Big Bang." (Is anybody else out there tired of hearing that term as the explanation of the beginning of things?) Well, in the "bang," a walloping blow of energy rushed outward in the expansion of the Universe and it's still going on. That energy flows on and on. It reaches from "there" (the beginning) to "here" (the now.) We're still in that flow, that wave of energy that started way back when. It's still going. Did you think it temporarily stopped so that we can watch the Superbowl or something? You are, right now, absolutely, positively still connected with that very first movement of energy. The Big Bang is here and now all around us. It is not some remote event that just happened "billions and billions" of years ago. It's here, we just aren't exactly clear on how to recognize it.

Now when I was a kid, one of the things I remember science and teachers saying was that "All energy on Earth ultimately comes from the sun." Well, now it's making a little more sense to realize that in fact, all energy on Earth ultimately comes from that "Big Bang." I mean, after all, where did the sun come from? While you're busy thinking about other words you can use instead of "Big Bang," let's look at some other ways to see the metaphor.

Everyday experience tells us that resistance to energy will cause wear and tear on a system. At one point, Freudian psychologists suggested that in dreams, our body is often symbolized by a car. OK. Thanks Sigmund, we'll go with that for a moment. With a car engine, we know that if we don't put oil in it, we'll have a problem. This is because there's a lot of energy going through it. The purpose of the oil is to reduce the resistance within the engine. The parts move against each other. Without lubrication, the resistance increases, heat is generated, the parts virtually weld themselves together and the engine dies. It's a permanent thing. When an engine blows up, it's over. You want your engine to run for a long time? Keep the resistance to energy down by keeping it well-oiled. Energy good. Resisting energy, bad.

Let's look at just one level first. On the scale of physical anatomy the same is true. A simple example of the flow of energy in our bodies is the circulation of blood. Blood carries energy to all the cells in the form of nutrients and oxygen. Duh. Ok. And in the most simplistic sense, that's the flow of energy we most easily see in our body's world. Block that flow and you got problems. In fact, we've just mentioned the number one health problem in the USA: heart disease. And "billions and billions" of dollars are spent on medical ways to keep that energy flow going. We use last-resort methods of reaming out the arteries with drill bits, taking the gook that blocks them and smashing it against the walls with balloons (angioplasty,) or sawing open the chest and replacing the pipes themselves (bypass.) So what do we end up hearing in the media, from our doctors and our dear old moms (and by and large ignoring)? Advice on how to live, eat and act to keep healthy and not block up our arteries.

But the physical is just the end-result level where the blocking of energy shows up. Wouldn't it be nice if we could relate to the potentially disastrous outcome of a clogged-up heart artery much earlier, even before it becomes a "physical" manifestation? Are there more subtle levels where this energy blocking occurs and can we address it there? Is there a level beyond physics where we can begin to keep the flow of energy going? Hmmm, "beyond physics." Do you mean "meta-physics?"

Still working with the body metaphor, consider your breath. (No, we're not talking about aromatherapy.) Ever sit in a tense situation or notice when you're doing something really stressful that there's a tendency to hold your breath? Why resist the flow of energy that way? Take a tip from my favorite metaphysician, Michael Jordan. When a pro basketball player steps to the line to shoot a free throw, watch 'em. Usually the good ones will take a deep breath or two and "the free throw's up, it's good." Or haven't you ever heard from anyone, (maybe your mom) "Hey, if you're tense (or angry) just count to ten and take a couple of deep breaths." To take that very idea to a subtler level, don't wait until you notice the end result, i.e. tension or anger, but keep the energy flow going from the outset by learning good, conscious breathing techniques. By using techniques like that, it's like keeping the oil in the engine. Remember the oil filter ad? "You can pay a little now or a lot later," it says. In metaphysics, you can pay a little attention now or it will take a lot of your attention later.

Or look at the way you hold your body during the day. When you become aware of holding your body all scrunched up or it feels like your shoulders are pulled up around your ears, relax! Let the circulation flow, the energy flow. We're talking a practical application here! There are countless ways on that mundane level to keep the energy flowing clearly without resisting it.

But it's time we start looking at a finer discernment of energy. There are levels of energy that Western medicine just doesn't know how to work with, though it envies those who do. (That's why you see conventional medicine trying desperately to catch up to the "alternative" therapy ground swell that is growing in America.) Traditional (alternative) therapies recognize energy on more subtle levels than conventional awareness possibly can. Acupuncture, for example, is really based on correcting any imbalances in the flow of energy through the body at the level where that energy is known as chi. (In studying acupuncture, Western science is trying like heck to measure or evaluate something it probably will never understand.) Chi is an example of energy at a finer level than just physical. Addressing a blockage of energy at that level, before it manifests physically, makes more sense.

There is a field of energy around the body that Western science does take advantage of right now. It's that field that allows nurses to attach electrical leads to the skin and monitor your heartbeat with an EKG. It's not necessarily chi, but it's a good example of an energy field that is subtle and overlooked by the casual. In fact, IT, (the industry acronym for the largest and fastest growing segment of the economy, Information Technologies) has not overlooked it. Soon, very soon, you will carry a PID, personal information database, in your pocket just like a business card. When you shake hands with a client or new contact at a party or convention, the PID in your pocket will transfer information to the PID in the pocket of your new friend, and vice versa. All the information usually held on a business card and much more, like your photo, the time and location of your meeting, etc. will show up on the credit-card sized smartchip in your pocket. The medium for this exchange is the subtle electrical field that flows through the body and along the surface of the skin. No wires, no radios - the handshake closes the connection. PIDs are available right now but hardly widespread. They will be. Sorry for the short detour back into physics. By the way, did you notice how cool you thought the idea of a PID was? That's an example of how easily romanced we are by the physical.

Let's get even more subtle. Can a mere thought block energy? Can a mere thought cause disease? A study at Duke University in 1997 found that thoughts leading to negative emotions like anger or sadness actually constrict the blood vessels of the heart, a condition known as ischemia. Ischemia starves the flow of energy to the muscle and is a precursor to heart attack. Researcher Elizabeth Gullette said "What surprised me was the power of the association and the fact that negative emotions can actually trigger ischemia." The findings summarized that "negative emotions double risk of ischemic attacks for an hour after the emotional trigger but positive emotions reduce the risk of such events." There you have it. Holding on to a negative thought about someone or something blocks energy flow. A positive thought reduces risk. Imagine that. Metaphysicians are aware of many more examples.

Stress is factually aligned with disease and illness. We've known that for a long time. Regarding the actual relief of stress, Western convention teaches little and knows less. One is hard-pressed to think of any Western medical protocol that has anything to do with stress relief. They may talk of exercise or maybe meditation but they don't usually do anything about it. That is understandable - they didn't learn it in school. Conventional institutions are rushing to offer programs to address stress with things like yoga and meditation classes. The better ones hire teachers who have been in the field long enough to know what it's about. Other programs send their people, who have trained and studied a Western way of doing things for years, to a weekend workshop to study a discipline with metaphysical elements and try to skate through with little or no real experience in the field. The idea is the same though. Learn a way to reduce stress. Learn a way to stop resisting energy. That is essential. Learn how to not resist energy - learn to go with the flow - and your "engine" (read "body") will last longer. Learn how to use your breath. Learn how to use your diet. Especially, learn how to adopt new attitudes and thoughts away from judgments, resentments or expectations. Thought is the key to the whole reduction of stress.

The flow of energy through the universe is inexorable. And you can't just get out of the way; there's no where to go! One must learn how to go with that flow, not resist it. Electricity flowing through the house is not a problem. Plug in a toaster and the resistant element gets nice and hot. That's ok for a toaster, not for a body. Don't be a toaster.

Be Well.

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Michael Braunstein is Executive Director of Heartland Healing and certified by the American Council of Hypnotist Examiners in clinical hypnotherapy. He graduated from the Los Angeles Hypnotism Training Institute and was an instructor at the UCLA Extension University for 11 years.

Heartland Healing is devoted to the examination of various alternative forms of healing. It is provided as a source of information and not as medical advice. It is not meant as an endorsement of any particular therapy, either by the writer or by Heartland Healing Center, Inc.

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