We have forgotten the concept of universal energy, proved to a more modern world by Albert Einstein with his famous equation about relativity. But centuries before Einstein there were cultures around the world that understood the energy that permeates every living thing—Japanese (Ki), Chinese (Chi), Sanskrit (Prana), Lakota Sioux (Neyatoneyah), Hebrew (Ruach or Roohah), Tibetan (Lung), and so forth.
Not only does the familiar phrase “we are all energy” hold true, but that energy that flows through us, between us, among us, and around us, binds us to every other living thing. At the heart of it all is a oneness, a connectedness not just to other humans, but to plants and trees, birds, animals, insects, the oceans, even the very ground we stand on. When you go outside and sink your feet into the grass in your front yard, you send an energy signal to Mother Earth to feel your vibrations, to open a channel of connectivity, to harmonize with your energy. If, at the moment of connecting, you’re feeling happy or joyful or grateful, you bless the earth with positivity. If you’re feeling angry, anxious, or sad, then you imbue those feelings into the ground.
Everything we do, think, and feel becomes part of the fabric of our environment, the people around us, the community we live in, and so on. The butterfly effect, whose name was coined by meteorologist Edward Lorenz, shows how the smallest of actions—the flapping of a butterfly’s wings—can cause major upheaval in another location and time. The first precept of Buddhism states, “I undertake the training to avoid taking the life of beings.” The word being applies to all living things, not just humans. Pesky mosquitoes, rodents that carry diseases, unwanted plants and trees are all part of that edict. We’ve been conditioned to believe that it’s okay to kill or remove or get rid of these beings as part of daily life because everyone else does the same. But as we awaken, as consciousness raises, as the collective becomes more enlightened, perhaps it’s time to change our habits and embrace more loving selves.
North Georgian Tom Blue Wolf talks about “all our relations,” the thread of life, of energy that connects all living things. We experience this life in the early morning birdsong, the running of sap through an old growth tree, the rush of clear spring water in a stream near a garden, the majestic wonder of a deer standing in silent salute. These pieces of life ask nothing from us and exist without our doing, yet how much more significant might they be if we looked on them with more consciousness?
There’s a profound grace that comes with the attentiveness of being more conscious. Through the awareness of the breath, the simple act of noticing the inhale and exhale, we can begin to experience that deeper connection, that quiet that resounds with energy, that relation to all things. Even one moment is beneficial and carries tremendous importance. Imagine everyone, everywhere, doing the same thing, being in that space of awareness.
What would happen if we were all to breathe as one?
[Originally published in the Conscious Life Journal, September 2017]