Friday, February 24, 2023

Crinkly Energy

"Nothing's happened," Ajahn Sucitto said, when speaking about worry, "and I started to feel all crinkly about it all." 

I like the word "crinkle" to describe energy.

The first few times I heard the phrase it just sounded poetic. But then one day, I realized it was literal. 

I'd been scrolling on social media. I noticed how I got a bit juiced up to hit That Link about That Awful Thing, even though I knew it wasn't going to make things any better. As I watched the desire rise, I felt my energy actually crinkle. For real. The energy near my forehead, right hand side kind of crinkled up like a cotton shirt that had been slept on. I stayed with it while the impulse faded, and my energy smoothed out again.

Smooth is what we want. Crinkles are all right, and mostly inevitable, but smooth is what we are shooting for. In that smooth relaxed open state, we are at our best: our most creative, most open to insight or perception, most accepting. It feels good.

So it's worthwhile noticing what the energy is doing and finding fresh ways to describe it: 

  • a little numb mid-back
  • weight above the right shoulder
  • a vague congestion near the jaw
  • a little burble or flutter at my back left ribcage (some of them are fun)

I wonder if they have better words to describe these sensations in other languages? English seems so limited at times.

I might feel a bit knocked around or crumpled, or feel sensations like heat or cool, pressure or weight. The energy could be bristling, sinking, lifting, pulling or expanding. 

These are are worth our attention. As I was writing this paragraph and getting stuck on some of the wording, I could feel the tension rise in the back of my neck. I relaxed the muscles in my neck deliberately and then watched the crinkled energy follow suit. There was no point in pushing through the effort when my energy's all rumpled up. 

How is it now? Well, at the moment, my energy seems pretty relaxed. Maybe a bit fluffy over there, in a nice way.

A mantra: "What does this feel like in my energy?"

Bonus: Following what the energy is doing rather than getting caught up in the drama or mental knots themselves can give a busy overactive intellect something more useful to do.