Have you ever wondered why some people have more life energy than others? Why some people can go, go, go all day their whole lives and others struggle to make it day to day? The following explanation, based on the theories of Chinese Medicine, came to me from Kathryn Komidar & Bill Ryan of Toward Harmony Tai Chi & Qigong (www.TowardHarmony.com ). I particularly like how they have included the importance of our relationships with other people. Acupuncture can be very good at increasing energy levels, especially when it is combined with the self-help ideas outlined below.
According to Chinese thinking, each of us has two major sources of life energy that we draw on to get us through our days and our lives.
The first source of energy is what the Chinese call “prebirth energy.” This is the storehouse of energy that you are born with, that you come into the world having. Some people are born with great storehouses. Others come in with next to nothing. In the United States, those with a lot of prebirth energy would be known as people with strong constitutions; they live their whole lives doing whatever they like whenever they like and never slow down until they die. Those with only a little prebirth energy are considered to have weak constitutions; they struggle their whole lives with illness and injury.
The second major source of energy for us is what the Chinese call “postbirth energy.” This is energy that you gather after you are born, which supplements and can even strengthen your prebirth energy. You can gain postbirth energy from a number of sources, including the food you eat, the earth under your feet, the heavens above you, large natural sources of energy around you – such as large trees, lakes, oceans, and mountains – and other people. Food is a very important source. You want to eat food that not only is nutritionally good for you, but that is also very much alive. This is one reason why we are drawn to food that is very fresh, whether it is freshly picked, caught, or hunted.
We constantly exchange energy with the earth, the heavens, oceans, large trees, rivers, lakes, mountains, etc. Since many of us have just returned from vacations near the ocean or in the woods or mountains, we know how rejuvenating it can be to spend time in such settings. This doesn’t come about just because we slow down and are less stressed (although that helps). In such settings we open ourselves to the natural energies around us, and we literally breathe and soak them into our bodies. This does not occur when we are surrounded by concrete, plastic, electric lights, pollution, and noise. In such settings, our bodies close off to or are closed off from what’s around us.
Many people gain energy from being with other people. It’s very natural for people to exchange energy as they interact. Some people are “electrifying” to be around; others are “draining.”
With regard to your everyday life, your prebirth energy is like your savings account and your postbirth energy is like your checking (current) account. With either account it’s better to be gathering more than you expend. Yet some people have such a large prebirth account that they never have to worry about overdrawing their postbirth account. They can always draw on their prebirth savings. Those with no prebirth account must always be extra careful that they spend no more postbirth energy than they bring in. How they live their daily lives is very important. Even those with large prebirth accounts doneed to be careful. Have you ever known or heard of someone with a strong constitutionwho had a very serious accident and never quite recovered to be what they once were? From a life energy perspective, in order to survive and recover from their accident they had to draw down their whole prebirth account.
Once you become aware of and begin to think about the sources of your life energy, then you can become more conscious about how you manage your accounts. You can monitor both intake and outflow. In particular, track whether you are getting enough sleep. Sleep is the time of day when
most of us relax deeply and most easily receive and absorb energy from the environment. Also track what foods you eat, how much time you spend outdoors, how much time you spend with what types of people, etc. For example, when you exercise do you take in more energy than you expend? When you walk, do you try to connect to the earth and the heavens? When you work, do you constantly put out without ever taking in energy from one or more of the sources we’ve discussed? In other words, are you drawing on your reserves in order to get things done?
For the next two weeks try to be conscious of your energy inflows and outflows. As you plan your days note whether each thing you do will take or give you energy. And at the end of each day before you go to sleep, do an accounting of what you did. Which activities gave you life energy? Which activities took it away? This simple monitoring practice may help lead you toward important changes in your life that can bring you more energy for life.
Enjoy. Kathryn Komidar & Bill Ryan