Today’s theme I call MOODS. It is one of many themes that have served clients in their search for an improved life. Hopefully, you will find yourself also connecting with this theme, connecting in ways you will find useful as you go about your everyday lives here in Ajijic.
When we finish today, if you are interested in knowing more about today’s theme, I offer you a free one-hour consultation in which we can review and discuss any questions that arise from this talk. Just provide me with your name, email address, and availability. I will coordinate a time and place for us to meet.
I recall how on many mornings over the years, I awakened wondering, “Why do I feel so different today than I did yesterday, even when little or nothing in my life seems to have changed!”
In addition to my own questioning, clients reported being confounded by strange energy shifts happening inside them, swings of energy they did not clearly understand. “Where did that come from?”
We need to explain things to ourselves when we confront a mysterious unknown like this. And, if we are not sure of the reasons behind such an unexpected change, our imagination encourages us to just make one up! Unfortunately, that can become one of the very worst possible alternatives.
I found this was particularly true with families, when parents were surprised by and reacted to changes in their children’s moods. Since it is unusual for a child to be capable of explaining why they are acting so differently from their usual style, this leaves a parent (or grandparent) having to guess! Wouldn’t it be helpful to have some kind of a guide?
Well, there is! We will describe one this morning, a guide which has been hidden in plain sight for many years, behind a veil of misunderstanding that made its use erroneous.
But first, let’s understand a little more about our tendency to worry. Consider how worry happens under at least three different conditions: worry about the known, worry about the unknowable, and worry about the unknown.
When we worry about something unexpected but known, it is usually brief. There is an immediate degree of familiarity with the issue, surprise is minimal, and the resolution seems limited to a picture arising from our memory of experiences. For example, your child arrives home from school sniffling with what appears to be another cold, and you need to become a nurse for a while. Exposure at school was the source before, so there is no surprise about the source this time. And, you have a recent memory of your child suffering briefly and then recovering quickly. Because of your experience, the circumstance is readily understandable, so worry about it is minimal. With worry about the unexpected known, you just do what you have to do, and what you know has worked in the past!
Worry about an unexpected unknowable is different. There is no history of experience to recall. There is no commonly-accepted answer available. There is no basis for intelligent guessing. It just seems too hard, and we feel comfortable in relegating it to another day in the undefined future. Later!
One example of worry about the unknowable comes from my own life, on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, just South of Los Angeles. The infamous San Andreas fault runs squarely through PV. And it is obvious. Some of the roads, like one called Portuguese Bend, can be seen slowly churning and convulsing, requiring daily repair by a road crew just to keep the road passable. In the distance, some houses can be seen slowly sliding down the hillsides.
Yet, thousands of us lived there blithely over long periods of time. We felt that the fault activity was minor enough for us to remain. And, whether or when a more significant shift might take place, well that was unknowable. So, we relegated our worry to some indefinite future, in spite of all of the warnings, along with the daily reminders of existential danger. No worries, Mate!
Now, with worry about the unexpected unknown, there is a surprise factor, and all possibilities are active. Because the unknown is a mystery and has to be explained, guessing is encouraged. This means that the explanation could be anything, again, with our imagination providing the most extreme and feared reasons that we can muster.
For example, remember how a sudden and unexpected shift in your child’s or grandchild’s behavior was a worry. Such a surprising development creates an unknown circumstance that catches your attention, and demands an explanation. There is no experience to call on, but the imagination is invoked, and a litany of possibilities crosses our mind while searching for the answer. More often than not, the worst possible alternatives come forward to scare us even further. What if…?
My experience tells me that of these three types of worry, people tend to worry much more intensely about the unknown, than about the known or the unknowable. This provides a good reason to clarify and understand what is behind those unknown, unexplained internal energy shifts that clients commonly report.
Through such worry experiences, I came to realize how worry can upset the natural rhythm of our lives. At one point in my meditative life, I came to appreciate how a wholesome life energy flow sustains the way “living things” are organized and function. And, it seems to have a natural rhythm. In our four books, my wife and I call this energy flow LIFE.
Worries can interrupt and throw our sense of natural rhythmic timing off. When we worry, we contract internally, tighten up, hunker down, and get out of rhythm with ourselves, and we even stop breathing! Then, in order to prove ourselves to be OK, we attempt to perform in exceptional ways that we are unprepared to fulfil at the time. This can force us to be someone we are not. More often than not, we choose extreme measures that can make the situation worse.
Repeatedly responding with such a contrived reply over a period of time, can become a problem in itself, whether we are over-reacting or under-reacting. In one of our recent books, Too Much, Too Little, Just Right, we provided sixty everyday solutions for moving from constricted extreme responses (either over-reacting or under-reacting) toward more expansive and successful balanced approaches.
Simply stated, our contrived extreme behavior is often the result of fear invading our imagination, which works against the natural rhythms of our inner energy supply. Feeling threatened unleashes automatic patterns of reacting for us all. When one of our habitual fear tendencies is triggered, and anxiety becomes allied with our imagination, we contract and hunker down for protection. Possibilities diminish, choices are restricted, and the very worst becomes quite feasible. One way to avoid the possibility of an undirected imagination is to maintain a sign on the door of your imagination that reads “NO FEAR ALLOWED IN HERE!”
In our most recent book, Karma Transformed, which was recorded from 16 years of formal and informal meditative experiences, the following instruction about fear came to us:
Fear reactions cause us to contract into ourselves for protection, which causes dysfunction in the long-term, and even disintegration. Generally, distress blinds the vision to alternatives and freezes mental and physical mobility. This is the exact opposite of the direction that We intend to move, which is toward the expansion of your experience, toward your wholeness.
Be aware that the emotion of fear is powerful enough to precipitate physical problems. It is better to focus on transforming the intensity of your fear response, than that of tissue repair or the lack of it. The body is designed to heal itself, given the right environment.
But fear is toxic to the environment of the physical body and prevents healing from taking place in an intelligent way. The body’s intelligence has its own direction, and fear intervenes destructively. If you choose to heal the body without changing your fear environment, it will not serve you well. However, if you choose to focus on healing your fear environment, it will serve you forever. (p.138f)
On one notable day, driving down the Palos Verdes Peninsula hills to my office, I realized how exhausted I was. I was worried about having enough energy to cope with the day’s busy client schedule. “How can I work with clients when I am this tired?” A clear and confident voice answered “Just tell your clients that you are tired?”
As simple as it seems, that was a new thought for me. My professional training had been against such a move. Until then, I had little choice. Now, with this new option, other possibilities could come into the picture.
As soon as I allied with the voice, the fatigue with which I was struggling went away and I felt a burst of new energy that saved the day. Each one of my clients understood when I voiced my concern, and their individual counseling experiences remained uncompromised.
Like I did, notice how you can experience energy fatigue when you either over-react or under-react in the extreme to an unknown. Then we are left with two things to worry about; the unexpected energy change as well as the fatigue that accompanies it and expands the worry. This puts us more discordant with ourselves and with our inner energy resources.
So, let’s return to the original question that I asked: “Why do I feel so different today than I did yesterday?” This question remained a mystery to me until one Sunday morning in late 1973. I awoke, put on my bathrobe and sat in a living room chair…all day. Unlike the usually active person I was, I had no energy for anything.
“But I cannot just sit here! I must do something?” Then I remembered that one of my clients, a flight attendant supervisor with an international airline, had given me information to review about a new personal energy guide that the airline was inaugurating. The Japanese had already instituted this idea within their national railroad system. She was very excited about the possibilities.
I found it. I read It. With the data it provided, I calculated and graphed my own profile. Amazing! The results that I graphed fully captured my energy state. Before me was a picture of precisely how I felt at that time!
How exciting! This is something I can use with clients! Maybe it can partly explain those difficult-to-predict energy fluctuations that clients often report!
Two of my clients, at that time, were avid joggers. One was an Air Force fighter pilot who jogged in order to have uninterrupted quiet time to plan and strategize, relying more on his thinking and mental energy for motivation. The other client jogged because he loved animal nature, the fresh air, the green vegetation and the blue sky, relying more on his feelings and emotional energy for motivation.
I graphed their energy profiles and told them that I could now predict the quality of their jogging on any given day. They smiled, and politely agreed to listen. I described what I thought their next jogging experience could be like.
At our next meeting, I asked how their jogging went. Each client answered the same way: “Nothing like you predicted!”
What? How can that be? It worked perfectly for me, why doesn’t it work for them? As we talked together, it became clear that each client jogged for very different reasons. Their motivations were different even though their behavior was the same.
I had assumed, along with the energy guide explanation, that “similar behavior meant similar motivations.” It was now evident that this is not so! I asked for a second chance!
(Maybe behavior was not what I had calculated and graphed about myself either?) Now, with a different approach (recognizing different qualities of motivation for the same jogging behavior) my second prediction with the same client joggers worked beautifully. This time I assumed that my clients were showing “similar behavior but with very different motivations.”
What if the unexpected mood changes that clients earlier reported are the result of these inner energy shifts, these motivational changes? Well the answer became a resounding yes! Since then I have confirmed such calculations, graphing hundreds, maybe thousands of clients over these 45 years of use. And, the results were compared with each client’s actual experience. Even the question I originally asked today about feeling different every day could now be answered and confirmed!
To gather a mental picture of how these energies operate, think of the long pendulum on a grandfather clock slowly swinging from one side to the other, gradually changing the time on the face of the clock. In this way our motivations can change from one state to another, as our inner energies alternate, influencing our moods.
Shifting energies over time can cause motivational changes something like the following, combined in a myriad of ways.
First, there is an interest in being active, later an interest in being passive;
an interest in turning outward to participate, later an interest in turning inward to just observe;
an interest in talking, later an interest in listening;
an interest in relating, later an interest in being alone;
a sudden clarifying awareness of what isn’t being said by others, and later a sudden clarifying awareness of ourselves.
In addition, behavioral choice is not lost on these energy fluctuations. No matter how we feel, we can design every day the way we choose to behave. However, depending on our energy state, there may be a price to pay if we do not recognize and respect the quality of resources that we have available to us at that time. Our collaboration with the shifting internal energies is the key to our greater success.
I call these energy swings Personal Energy Profiles (or PEP), and they are predictable. Why is this? The theory that I cannot substantiate suggests that at birth, at the time of first breath, a regulator clock turns on and these inner motivational energy patterns begin, all with different frequencies and periods, which remain steady for the rest of our lives.!!!!!!
In the late 1960’s, when this ground-breaking energy idea became sufficiently well-known, the Las Vegas Gambling complex joined in, and began using it, calculating odds and predicting outcomes for various sports, games, and contests. Not knowing any different, they erroneously assumed behavior to be the predictor. Their calculations did not work predictably, so they discarded the idea.
One reason why the Las Vegas calculations failed to be true is that there is rarely a direct link between our motivations (derived from inner energy fluctuations) and our resulting behavior. However, several influencing factors cue the way that we behave no matter what our motivations are.
Some of the behavior influencing factors, independent of our motivations, are our choice (taking into account our superseding incentives and values), our perceptions (associated with our expectations and aspirations), our conditioning (based on our training), our regulation of daily life balance (depends on eating, resting, physical activity, work, socializing), the press of circumstances, and even more.
Even a flood of scientific research triggered by this idea at the time made the same erroneous assumption. The technique did not work consistently, and eventually the energy guide gained a bad reputation with Las Vegas as well as with the general scientific community. Motivation works. Behavior doesn’t.
As you can guess, it is important to individualize these Personal Energy Profiles (PEP). Prior to individualizing the energies, everyone born on the same birth date (day, month and year) has exactly the same graphical pattern of inner energy resources. How can that be? That means millions of people have exactly the same internal energy patterns. NO WAY!
Fortunately, we can account for individual differences, even with everyone being so very different. After a person has used PEP for a while, they gain sufficient conscious awareness of their own inner energy shifts, and the value they give them, to start predicting what will occur. We can use this experience to personalize the graphs by adjusting the ratios of relative preference they give their energies. Their awareness of preferences changes the shape of all curves in the graph which then fit that person’s uniqueness.
The four energies of PEP that I commonly use fluctuate regularly with periods that vary between 23 to 38 days. As a result, they move in and out of phase, rather than moving in unison, with no repeat patterns within a person’s lifetime.
Our physical energy resource, our emotional energy resource, our mental energy resource, and our intuitive energy resource,
The fifth energy curve is a summary or COMPOSITE ENERGY, the combined effects of all four energy states at a given time. The period for this curve to repeat is greater than one lifetime, and it is the best curve to start with as you are learning about the nuances of energy experience.
There are a number of free internet sources who can plot these energies for you (called BioRhythm calculations). Please note that I cannot vouch for the accuracy of their calculations. Although, I know the accuracy of my own chartings, and can explain how to use them. Remember that I offer a free one-hour consultation to help you understand how to use this valuable discovery.
In conclusion, the question that fascinated me for so long about varying moods is now a tangible source of valuable information. It helps me make the most out of fluctuating energy resources by displaying my daily motivations. In addition, I now have a meaningful paradigm that summarizes human energy fluctuations in some of its admirable complexity. Mystery moods are now understandable and meaningful within my daily experiences. This information helps me know myself, and provides data for decisions as to how I want to conduct the daily music of my life. I wish the same for you…