Archive for the ‘power’ Category

Impossible is nothing

May 28, 2008

I saw this on a poster recently and really really like it:

“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in a world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”

Mohammed Ali

From beneath you it empowers

November 18, 2006

From which direction does the spirit come? Does the living force of the universe fill us from above, or does it come up from underneath us?

I’ve been discussing healing energies with a friend recently. Reiki, chakra healing, and a number of others are all healing methods from different traditions that involve the practitioner holding their hands just above a person’s skin. The practitioner intentionally channels energy through their hands into the person’s body. They often ‘feel’ where the healing is needed by getting a sense of hotter zones from the patient’s body. The patient often feels a deep heat radiating from the practioner’s hands. I’ve had this done to me several times and the feeling is amazing, a  kind of resonant, buzzy heat that feels very very good.

In yoga there are several techniques which involve scooping energy from the ground, and pouring it into your head (or crown chakra). In aikido your energy comes from your ‘hara’ your centre of gravity, about four centimetres below your tummy button, but it requires that you are ‘grounded’, that your centre is closer to the earth than it would be when standing normally. 

The name Reiki derives from ‘rei’ (meaning ‘soul’ or ‘spirit’) and ki (meaning breath or ‘life force energy’). Some schools teach that Reiki energy enters the practitioner through the crown chakra, some that Reiki energy enters through the root chakra at the base of the spine, before becoming centered in the heart chakra, and flowing out through the practitioner’s hands. Regardless of which direction it comes from this living energy “knows what to do” and goes “where it is needed the most.”

In the 7th season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer the ‘big bad’ they have to deal with is the ‘First Evil’, the most primal and original essence of evil. The Buffyverse is deliberately theistically vague and doesn’t say much about god or the devil. The First though is very very bad. It starts appearing in dreams in the forms of deceased people delivering the message “from beneath you it devours”, or to two of the characters who are in Mexico and so have to translate the message “it eats you starting with your bottom”.

In conventional Christianity we have this notion of bad things coming from underneath (hell) and good things coming from up above (heaven). The eastern traditions seem to place more emphasis on energy from the earth, on being grounded and connected to that underfoot. It makes some sense, it’s where all our food comes from, and therefore our life energy. Of course the energy that makes our food comes from the sun. So maybe we need to reach and connect both up and down.

I don’t know the answer to my question, but I do think it’s worth exploring. I do like the notion of the ‘living force’, something that surrounds us and flows through us. That we are projections of this living energy that chooses to collect and arrange some atoms in such a way that we can move and act in the world. That we can be conduits for good.

Learning to fly

October 13, 2006

In my dreams I can fly.  Not always very well. Often I struggle to get altittude. Sometimes I can’t soar like I want to, but I can fly, and in my dreams I can, and other people can’t.

My son often talks about super powers. We often have debates about which super powers would be preferable. “Would you rather have heat beam eyes, or be able to go invisible?” I’ve told my kids a few times recently that when you’re an adult you get new powers and some of them are super. I didn’t really know what I meant until I read this. I had some vague ideas about how you gain the power of being responsible for yourself, about being able to communicate with people in a deeper, more capable way than you could when you were younger.

Peggy talks about powers that seem to be spiritual in nature (rather than the physical powers that most comic book super heroes have). I’ve for a time had a sense that some people had spiritual ‘powers’ that others didn’t. The obvious ones like Ghandi, the Dalai Lama seemed to have a spiritual resilience. Dan Millman too addresses the notion of spiritual powers in the Way of the Peaceful Warrior. I’ve never before this seen them articulated in a Quaker sense though. It seems almost unquakerly to talk about powers. Powers are something that differentiate us, make us special, unique, better than. This feels so opposite to Quaker notions of equality that it feels uncomfortable to even talk about it. But we’re happy enough with the notion of people having different gifts. And as Quakers we seem well versed with as a very few small people being able to make a huge difference through faith and speaking truth to power. So maybe it’s OK for us to have powers too.

I resonate with some of the powers that Peggy speaks of especially the first two, but some, like quixotic vision and time travel I don’t even begin to understand or experience.  Hyper-resilience I am interested in. I’ve always been fairly good at discipline, and I’ve seen eating well and exercising as disciplined activities that give me the energy to do the things I want to do. I’ve never seen them though as a means of connecting with the ‘divine power source’. This really struck a chord with me, eating and exercising as acts of worship and connection with that which is.

So maybe if I keep at it, one day I’ll be able to fly. Somehow though, that doesn’t seem quite so super a power as being able to love.