How do I improve my energy level
15. Increase energy (1)
"The body is the translator of the soul into the visible." (Christian Morgenstern)
To summarize the key messages of this article:
Based on the results of a research expedition by Harvard Professor Herbert Benson to Tibetan monks in the Himalayas, it is explained how important it can be for us humans and the maintenance of our health to increase our level of vitality and that we are able to do so. The devastating effects of energetic exhaustion are briefly discussed. Physical exercises are described as the ideal way to increase your own energy level and two personal favorites of the author are presented.
Have you ever stepped into a swimming pool in autumn or winter when the water was cool? Do you remember the uncomfortable shivering and shivering at the same time, as if everything in you were pulling together? And how pleasantly different it feels when you plunge into the warm water of a thermal pool of perhaps 34 degrees that envelops you in the same seasons? Our inner perceived body realities, our experienced inner milieus, can feel just as different. The decisive factor in shaping this inner milieu is not genes, but above all our lifestyles. We have the power to rearrange our inner milieu for the benefit of every single one of our body cells, so that over time it becomes just as pleasantly warm as a bath in a thermal bath.
In 1981, a seven-person research team headed by Harvard cardiology professor Herbert Benson set out from America for distant Dharamsala (see Esch 2017). This is a place that is located on a plateau of the Indian Himalayas about 1,300 meters high, where the current Dalai Lama lives and where the Tibetan government-in-exile is located. The physician Herbert Benson had already met the Dalai Lama at Harvard in 1979 and asked him to examine some of his monks experienced in meditation, from whom he had heard amazing things: Those monks should be able to use certain purely spiritual techniques to do theirs Deliberately raising body temperature so that they were able to dry ice cold and wet linen towels that were placed around their shoulders, upper back and chest area. At that time it was now the valid state of medical science that physical-vegetative parameters such as blood pressure, heart rate or even body temperature were solely subject to the control of the autonomic nervous system, i.e. they could not be deliberately influenced. If the monks actually had the abilities ascribed to them, this would of course have overturned the doctrine of the alleged organismic autonomy of the 'autonomous' nervous system, which was then valid in the West.
After the Dalai Lama had finally given his approval to Benson's bold proposal, the experiments could be carried out in the Himalayas. The results were fascinating: “Just through the“ power of thought ”, through practiced immersion, they [the monks] managed to dry the cloths within about an hour. Each monk, three times in a row, always with the same result and with no visible signs of hypothermia or exhaustion. The scientists registered a temperature difference of almost ten degrees during the gtum-mo ritual. ”(This is reported by the neuroscientist, doctor and health researcher Prof. Dr. Tobias Esch, who a few years later had the opportunity to study with Benson himself (Esch, 58 f )). The temperature effect was already detectable on fingers and toes after a few minutes. Remember that the monks performed these feats in cool temple rooms in the high altitudes of the Himalayas! Raising the body temperature is of course not the actual purpose of the tummo ritual: It is essentially about awakening, strengthening and using the power of the inner fire in order to cleanse yourself of inner darkening and blockages on the way to enlightenment.
The technique practiced by the monks can be learned, even if the mastery demonstrated by the monks can only be achieved through long and intensive practice. For example, the young Tibetan Lama Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, who teaches in the West, offers courses on gtum-mo or tummo practice. Since it is also considered a practice of self and external healing - the mastery of the fourth level of tummo should be able to overcome any (own) illness - learning and practicing this practice could be worthwhile.
Now, in our everyday life, it is certainly not about learning these special skills. I have retold the story of this research here for two main reasons (* 1): First, this research forces us again and again to acknowledge that the mind can have a powerful influence on the body. The claimed autonomy of the so-called autonomous nervous system does not exist. Body and mind are inextricably linked. Secondly, it shows that we as humans are able to positively influence our energy system and to expand our limits in it. The Tibetan monks were able to increase their body temperature significantly by controlling their "inner fire". In our western civilization, in which we can warm ourselves to well-functioning heating installations almost at any time, it is of course not primarily a matter of acquiring this ability. Even the monks - as described - were by no means primarily concerned with this goal, even if mastering the inner fire and thus the body temperature in the harsh and cold mountains of the Himalayas is certainly very useful.
It is crucial that the research results (* 2) make it clear that we humans are able to increase our level of vitality - for the benefit of our health. The monks reached their goal spiritually and with the help of purposeful control of their breathing. What distinguishes us mere mortals from monks is that they have devoted more time and dedication to developing these skills and have been able to do so under the expert guidance of masters of the art. But in principle we as humans have the same potential and the same basic equipment and are capable of similar realization.
A higher energy level goes hand in hand with better health. Our level of vitality is not our destiny, but changeable. These are the central assumptions of this text.
A higher energy level goes hand in hand with better health.
But of course it also has other advantages: Having more energy is an invaluable survival advantage! Strength and power make it easier for us to deal with all the efforts and challenges of our life. They bring confidence, initiative and decisiveness with them. People with a high level of vitality are very attractive to others with their radiant liveliness. In addition, your own ability to perceive is increased and more of the inner wealth inherent in us can be experienced. And if you manage to combine this increase in energy, strength, and aliveness with compassion and humble understanding of your own weaknesses and those of your fellow human beings, you can become a truly helpful benefactor for yourself and others.
These are important insights at a time when complaints of burnout and exhaustion have reached epidemic proportions. Lack of energy (* 3) seems to have become a common ailment, to which environmental pollution, genetic and epigenetic framework conditions and various social stressors certainly contribute.
The depletion of internal energy reserves, which so many people complain about today, lowers our ability to work and can temporarily destroy it completely, as happens in burnout. Our working world has played a part in this: The Arbeits Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health ’complains in its 2016 working time report that dependent full-time employees in Germany work an average of 43.5 hours per week, i.e. approx. 4.9 hours more than contractually agreed. “As early as 2 hours overtime, respondents report health complaints much more frequently. The more overtime, the more likely you will experience sleep disorders, tiredness and exhaustion, but also depression and back and lower back pain. " (4 *) But not only that. The effects of exhaustion are diverse and include our whole human being and our relationship to other people and the world in general. Exhausted people are more irritable and more prone to violence. Exhaustion reduces our ability to concentrate and the performance of our short-term memory. Exhaustion can lead to an intensification of addictive behavior - alcohol, drugs, but also video games etc. - in which we hope to find relaxation. Exhaustion makes us perceive our environment and fellow human beings more negatively and often leads to mental attitudes of cynicism ‘and contempt. Exhaustion makes us much more prone to anxiety and depression. After all, exhaustion significantly reduces our speed of reaction (cf. * 5). And of course exhaustion makes us more susceptible to illnesses, if only because our immune system is weakened as our energy stores are depleted and there is less vitality available to defend ourselves against internal and external threats.
If loneliness is added to exhaustion, one has a human scenario in which illnesses have an easy time of it. Many of our problems, be they physical, emotional or spiritual, ultimately have to do with exhaustion and loneliness.
It is therefore all the more crucial for maintaining or regaining our health to know and use ways and means that increase our vital energy level. That is elementary. If you recall the widespread and dire effects of exhaustion on so many levels of our existence, you may find the motivation to do something about the burnout and lack of energy. And there is really no shortage of ways to do this: Over the millennia, people in all cultures have developed and practiced exercises and techniques that serve this purpose. We can achieve this goal on all the different levels that make up our human existence, i.e. on material, emotional, cognitive-mental and spiritual aspects of our existence. In the thinking represented here, the functions of energy intake and its metabolism are not reduced to the intake and use of food, but relate to the totality of our possibilities to do this, be it through physical exercise, breathing or via the supply of other forms of (emotional, mental-spiritual, spiritual, social) nourishment. These other forms of energy generation will be discussed in more detail in a second text - Increase Energy 2.
Level 1: The material body
I want to begin the discussion of the possibilities of increasing one's own energy level in this text on the simplest and most tangible level of the “gross” material body. Because working on the concrete body is always the ideal way to achieve the stated goal. We do not need the spiritual techniques of Tibetan monks to get closer to this goal. It is enough to have a body and be ready to work with it. (Another piece in the mosaic - increasing energy (2) - is intended to describe thoughts and exercises that are effective on the other levels and aspects of human existence mentioned above.) Our body is a system that allows us to absorb and store energy and transform them into internal and external actions. Cardiologist Deepak Chopra goes so far as to combine the competence of physical energy control with the creation of material wealth: “The physical body can be thought of as a tool with which one can control energy: it can generate, store and use energy. If you know how to efficiently generate, store and use energy, you can create wealth however you want. " (Chopra, p. 72) Is that motivating for you?
Even if you have doubts about it, the following applies in any case: exercise and physical training are among the most important preventive health measures and broad-spectrum healers, as any doctor confirms - even without asking. That is known and trivial. A good level of fitness is no guarantee that you will not get sick; however, it significantly reduces our susceptibility to disease. The moderate training in fitness studios and other sporting activities - carried out carefully - are ideally suited to strengthening, harmonizing and regenerating our energy system. The better our body system is now able to absorb energy, to hold it in and to make it available for coordinated activities, the healthier we are. The higher our vitality level, the higher our harmonious energy vibrations, the more inner soil we have for wellbeing and health within us. And the less likely life's inevitable challenges are to throw us off course. This also applies to older people. Eckart von Hirschhausen, himself a doctor, reports the following phenomenon in his bestseller “Miracles work miracles” from 2016: “Weight training was offered in an old people's home. And a year later, 15 percent were gone. Did they overexert themselves? No, they moved back home because they noticed that they could still cope with a little more strength and mobility on their own. "(Von Hirschhausen, p. 386) And for all of us:" 15 minutes of exercise a day is enough for a clearly positive effect. ”Overall, it is the sum of the small movements distributed over the day that makes the (healing) difference (ibid., p. 387).
The healer Rosalyn Bruyere, whom I got to know personally, considers her healing activity to be quite a power-consuming affair and actually practices weight lifting and dumbbell training on a regular basis. She thinks that holding and radiating large amounts of energy is significantly improved by well-trained muscles. Mrs. Bruyere is not just anyone: After her qualities as a healer became famous, she was examined in the eighties of the last century by the German professor Fritz-Albert Popp with the help of an emission photometer. With the help of this device, Professor Popp was able to prove that cells in living organisms emit light in a certain visible spectral range. He called these rays of light from the living cell biophotons. The interpretation of this phenomenon is controversial in serious science. However, the existence of light emissions from living cells is now completely undisputed. You can check and use this very specifically in everyday life. My wife, for example, taught her daughter as a child to choose the fruit or vegetables in supermarkets that she felt was the brightest. Because from its biophotonic radiation it can be deduced how healthy the piece of fruit or vegetable is and how much it also serves our health and recovery.
Popp now examined Ms. Bruyere with regard to her biophotonic radiation. It showed, among other things, that she emits a much higher number of biophotons during healing than was measured in her everyday life or in other people. She is evidently able to control the emission of this radiation in a spiritual way in order to initiate self-healing processes in her patients.
How can we now use our body to increase our energy level, to stabilize this higher energy level in us and to keep it in inner balance? There are many very specific and millennia-old exercise techniques, the effectiveness of which has been proven and which, in addition to increasing our energy level, can also contribute a lot to the better integration of body, soul and spirit (yoga, Qi-Gong, Tai Chi, the various martial arts, etc. .). Many of these techniques involve the breath because the breath is of course an elementary and indispensable source of energy. Breath control is also an indispensable part of the aforementioned tummo practice. Conscious breathing techniques are an excellent means of feeling and being more vital.
My two personal favorites on the body level
I would now like to introduce you to my two favorite physical techniques for increasing energy levels. In both techniques, breath and movements are linked in such a way that a great inner vitalization process is quickly achieved.They involve the whole body and do not require any further aids, so that they can usually be used at any time.
The first of my personal favorite exercises comes from the ancient Tibetan wisdom teachings and is called Tsa Lung. 'Tsa' is Tibetan and refers to the energy channels accepted in the body and, as a concept, is similar to the energy channels of the meridians known from acupuncture. In Tibetan, 'Lung' denotes vital energy. The meaning of the more well-known Sanskrit word 'Prana' or 'Chi' in classical Chinese medicine is similar.
I learned Tsa Lung from the aforementioned Tibetan Lama Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, who teaches in the West. Tsa Lung consists of five individual exercises, each repeated one to three times. If you want to try out the five movements of the Tsa Lung, you can watch the Lama himself doing the exercises. In the first YouTube video he presents the first two exercises; in the second video the lama demonstrates the other three exercises.
If you want a deeper explanation of these techniques, which I highly recommend, you can find them in Tenzin's book on the healing powers of Buddhism, in which he explains in detail the ancient Tibetan shamanic energy and element teachings of his Bon tradition and the Tsa Lung exercises . It is of course a great oversimplification when I describe this method here as a method of increasing energy and improving inner balance. The method has enormous spiritual depth and sophistication, but my presentation may initially suffice for domestic use and the stated goals.
My second favorite is the series of exercises known in the West as the "Five Tibetans". These exercises were popularized by Peter Kelder in the 1980s. While the name may be misleading - the '5 Tibetans' seem to be completely unknown in Tibet itself - I still consider this series of exercises to be an excellent method for the goal stated in the title of this text. Here is an introduction and here is a YouTube video with additional warm-up exercises.
If I have enough time, I do both series of exercises one after the other, first the ‘5 Tibetans’ 21 times, then the ‘Tsa Lung’ exercises three times each. It now takes me around 35 to 40 minutes to do this. When I started doing these exercises, it took a lot longer. It has proven to be very good for me to supplement these exercises with a subsequent silent meditation. The reason for this is that both methods are powerful instruments that can arouse a great deal of internal energy or bring accumulated energy back into motion. All this energy wants to be newly integrated into my system, which gradually changes and can hold more and more energy. This change of the organismic container of my life force - nothing else is my body - to a greater holding capacity takes place all by itself in the subsequent silent meditation! It is a bit like the body of water in a lake that has been churned up by the energy of the wind or a storm and is initially cloudy as a result; if you give it time and calm down wind and weather, the water will clear again all by itself. Except that the shores of the lake that contain and limit the water have also expanded. Regular practice gradually pushes the limits of the holding function of our body container, which is expanding more and more.
These are my very personal favorites when it comes to physical exercise in this context. If you want to learn and try these exercises, I ask you to do so with a good teacher. You can also use the videos provided, but please be careful not to overuse yourself while practicing. They are really powerful techniques. Experiment with which frequency of practice is right for you. As a beginner, it was enough for me to only do the '5 Tibetans' once a week, because I quickly felt its intense effect and needed time to integrate it.
These exercises don't have to be right for you. Maybe they feel more comfortable in the gym or in Zumba classes or when dancing or in the gymnastics group or the like. Perhaps they prefer to do the 'sun salutation' from yoga or strength training, or they already have their own form of physical exercise. Maybe you are into aqua gymnastics or enjoy Qi Gong. Everything is perfectly fine. The only thing that matters is to find something that you can practice that suits you! From the really rich fund of physical exercises that mankind has accumulated in the meantime and tried out over thousands of years, choose a proven exercise or series of exercises that you enjoy and that best fulfills the purpose of increasing energy for you. Remember that we only do and maintain and make routine what we enjoy!
If you have found such an exercise then take advantage of it. Preferably moderately but regularly. As always, of course, practice makes perfect.
Over time, and especially if you supplement your physical exercises with meditation, you will increasingly experience that your inner milieu will feel cozy and warm. Just as if your internal organs and all of your body cells were bathing in gentle, warm and soft water.
* 0 The picture that illustrates this mosaic stone on the home page shows an installation by the Czech artist David Cerny. I saw and photographed this installation for the first time at NordArt 2016. (Incidentally, all the other photos on the start page were taken by me to avoid copyright disputes from the outset.)
* 1 The neuroscientist, doctor and health scientist Professor Dr. Tobias Esch, who himself worked for some time at the Mind / Body Institute in Harvard, describes the events in detail in his book about the "self-healing code" (Esch 2017)
* 2 In 1982 the New York Times reported on the results of the research expedition to the Himalayas. And Herbert Benson, who must have been inspired and strengthened by his experimental evidence, founded the "Mind / Body Medical Institute" that same year at the venerable elite University of Harvard, which is dedicated to researching the possibilities of the indissoluble connection between spirit / Psyche and body in medicine should be devoted to. The institute still exists - today under the name "Benson Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine" - and is of inestimable importance for the advancement of this research direction and its recognition in scientific circles.
In 2001 some similar experiments were carried out in a laboratory in France - again with the participation of monks. Again something fascinating was found: These monks, for example, were able to arbitrarily reduce their oxygen consumption by more than 60 percent.
* 3 I would like to avoid entering into a discussion about what exactly is meant by energy and therefore use the simple physical definition first. In physics, 'energy' is simply defined as the ability to do work.
* 4 from: BGW Mitteilungen 01/2017, p. 5
* 5 See this internet article.
Benson, Herbert (1997): Healing through Faith, Munich: Heyne
Bruyere, Rosalyn (1998): The Secret of the Chakras. Our energy and light centers, Munich: Heyne
Chopra, Deepak (1998): The seven spiritual laws of success, Munich: Heyne
Esch, Tobias (2017): The self-healing code. The neurobiology of health and contentment, Weinheim Basel: Beltz
Kelder, Peter (1989): The Five Tibetans. ISBN 3502250359
Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche (2004): The healing power of Buddhism, Kreuzlingen / Munich: Heinrich Hugendubel
von Hirschhausen, Eckart (2016): Miracles work miracles. How medicine and magic heal us, Reinbek: Rowohlt
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