From atoms to humans, everything is composed of energy.
Atoms join to make molecules and compounds that grow into
food and eventually become your uncle’s hair, a pinky finger,
and the maple tree in the front yard. Within the body energy
manifests on many levels, from thought and electrical impulses
to move your hand or kick a ball, to heat, and on to substance
or matter such as oxygen-rich blood, mineral-rich fluids, and
body tissue. Metabolism orchestrates the physical and chemical
processes that construct and deconstruct the body, always in
a constant state of motion. Metabolic processes break down
matter like fat and glucose to make energy, and assemble
nutrients to make matter like bone, muscle and fat. Matter and
energy cannot be separated—neither can the mind and body,
for they lie on a continuum of energetic density. This concept is
known in different cultures by many names, like Chi, Ki, Prana
and physics. The names differ but the ideas are largely the same.
What matters to most of us is having the energy to feel engaged
and positive, with the spark to pursue what we want, and with
a little left over at the end of the day. This begs the all-important
question. Energy—where can I get some?
Air is the most vital nutrient. It provides oxygen to stoke the
internal flame. Without it, like fire, we will die within minutes.
Water is the second-most important element. dehydration kills
in a matter of days. Food, while third on the list, is comparatively
minor, given that starvation usually takes longer than thirty days
(but ranks first as the national obsession). Light has been a hit
since Genesis day one, but a prisoner can remain in darkness
for months on end, perhaps years, without death (albeit not
without suffering insanity). Heavenly energy suggests more than
one interpretation. For some it means spiritual nourishment,
while others feel it mainly as the warmth and energy of the sun.
Receiving energy from the earth ranks lowest on the list of bar-
talk subjects. Here again, science may be of assistance.
If you were a plate of Jell-O, then the earth would be like
your little brother shaking the table, except that he would never
The Essence: Relaxation + Movement + Energy = Health
I would like to begin by welcoming any and all readers, veterans and skeptics alike. Since I qualify for both categories, I’d hate to be excluded from my own book. I came to this work in 1993 as a curious, yet analytical skeptic in desperate need of help. Raised by a family of engineers and thus akin to the proverbial wolf boy, by high school I was elbow deep in physics, chemistry and calculus, with an eye on aeronautical engineering. My mind was trained to accept only that which can be seen, touched, and proven in a laboratory. I haven’t strayed far, as you can see by the formula above. When my meditations are unfocused and muddled, when my mood is unpleasant and I become frustrated, I too need to remind myself that this is not make-believe or mysticism. Science has shown time and again that meditation works, that the manifestations of energy can be observed but not always understood. Quantum physics is bridging the gap between the physical and what some would call the metaphysical. Geneticists and monks, universities and top researchers have joined to explore the mind-body connection, and demonstrate that meditation is the key to unlocking untapped potential for health, longevity and inner-peace. For broader appeal, meditation even has an alias; it’s called relaxation (with but a few qualifiers).
Relaxation is the essence of The Essence; it is the crux of the formula for health. On all level—mind, body and spirit—if you can truly relax, then optimizing your health is possible. The mind, freed from repetitive patterns of stuck emotions, grows aware and can hear the body’s needs and intuition’s guidance. Movement becomes a normal expression of the body, both internally and externally, flowing naturally from the energetic to the physical and vice versa. The heart opens up as love; compassion and gentleness dominate. Energy grows abundant as you access all the sources and it settles down to your center, collecting there until it overflows throughout the body. This is not a beer and a movie kind of relaxation. It is deep, peaceful and centered, the body supple and fluid. Yet, it is still little more than relaxation, relaxation that can be practiced throughout the day with gentle persistent intention.
By Another Name
Meditation is Focused Relaxation
Relaxation with Purpose
One of my greatest concerns was that I would lose many people if I talked about energy and meditation. of course this would be unavoidable if the truth were told. This is not, however, where I started. You could choose to discard a third of the chapters, opting for the exercises while changing your eating habits, supplementing your diet and reducing your exposure to environmental toxins as I did. The rewards would equal your efforts. But if you are riding that rollercoaster of suffering, it won’t willingly stop without the mind’s involvement, for this I hope you will go the distance. It is a truism that if you don’t control your mind, it will control you.
What follows was borne out of thousands of years of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Taoist philosophy, Yogic practice, decades of scientific inquiry and 17 years of personal experience and observation. Applied across cultures on the young and old alike, it is not too late to access the original instruction manual encoded before birth—your own innate knowledge. Whether you are in your 20s and not feeling up to par, or late in life, sick and bedridden, these methods can renew, recharge, refresh and enliven your mind, body and spirit. It is never too late to turn back the clock. Whether you’re a novice or a longtime seeker, healthy or ill, this book was written for you. You will benefit, whether you prefer to simply dip your toes in, or imbibe deeply in the esoteric.