We can think of energy as coming in waves with peaks and troughs.
Emotion Is “e-motion” : “energy in motion”. The peaks and troughs are the euphoric highs and the depressive lows.
Artisitic temperaments are often quite sensitive to these ups and downs. When they’re scarily out of control, doctors may medicate for bipolar. Though flattening out mood swings can bring a semblance of “normality”, the intervention is unfortunately not without side effects. Understanding that the swings are a natural movement of energy can remove a lot of the scariness.
When we non-judgmentally observe energy swinging at the emotional level, we are better placed to understand swings - “polarities” - on the other levels of being.
Women gain insight into this through the menstrual cycle. But the waxing and waning of sexual, reproductive energy is something we are all subject to. Freud and others have noticed that when reproductive energy is “sublimated”, it can help build up culture. What does this mean?
Sublimation is not repression, because its achieved with awareness. It means raising energy up from a more gross to a more subtle condition.
Sex is grosser because it’s to do with the body; cultural renewal is subtler because it’s to do with ideals and aspirations. But, as previously described, there is one and the same energy, at times appearing gross, at times subtle. (By the way, since Will is the spiritual force behind cultural renewal, it is fair to say that there is a Tantric love play going on between the creative force and creation!).
Sex and mood swings are examples of energy cycling at the bodily and feeling levels respectively. Feeling is the receptive side of emotion, desire is the active side. We can observe our desires. In a sense, we are all prone to be ‘control freaks’. We want to have and to hold, possess and manipulate the things and people in our lives. Institutions and nations do it too.
A power struggle consumes us, with its two polarities of control and surrender.
How confusing this can be! Observe how some people ‘do power’, but seem to be devoid of vulnerability. Others ‘do surrender’ to the point of blanket victimisation - and seem to be lacking any sense of agency. Learning to be comfortable in positions of control and surrender enables us to transcend the tensions at the emotional level of being. Again, like mindfulness and meditation, this is about taking up and laying down. We are lions, we are lambs.
Intellectually, energy demonstrates in our authentic opinions. At one extreme, a thought wells up with full vigour of originality. At the other extreme, we have adopted a thought formed elsewhere. Both polarities are valid. The original thought will be reflected in other places; the ‘received’ thought must echo something in ourselves. But nothing is a concept until it is grasped - known and experienced as “mine”. Recall, that knowledge is the marriage of (interior) wisdom and (exterior) understanding, expressed as skill and opinion.
When we ‘breathe in‘ at an intellectual level, our thinking is being formed by an authoritative source. When we ‘breathe out‘, we apply and express concepts we have made our own. In turn, we become an authoritative source for others.
Awareness of breathing in and out should lead to awareness of the cycling of thought, which energises the subtle mental atmosphere of the planet. In the atmosphere of the planet, the oxygen signature of evolving life is unmistakable. Reasoning by analogy, we should expect something similar in the emotional and mental atmospheres. Then we can practise subtle as well as gross environmentalism.
With shootings and bombings featuring in the news, many are becoming scared to go into public, especially in the high-risk places. Do we live in a world that is fundamentally safe (with isolated exceptions) or fundamentally dangerous (with isolated exceptions)?
At a still deeper level of our being, energy cycles between sustaining a benevolent and a malevolent worldview.
As energy moves we can swing from believing that Something or Someone Good is in control of the world to believing that Something or Someone Evil is in control of the world.
Faith, hope and love will elude us if we are not aware of the polarities at this subtle level. One moment we can be convinced of our abundant blessings and experience the joy of a metaphysical contentment. Next moment we are overcome by a sense of scarcity and poisoned by discontent. We are poisoned when we resist being ‘poor in spirit’. We are OK being ‘rich in spirit’, but being poor seems to suck. The rich get richer, looking to grow their abundance, while the poor get poorer and fixate on not losing what little remains to them. One’s life is the last thing one can lose. We inhale life and hope; exhale despair and death.
Finally, there is the subtlest cycling of energy, related to that ultimate question at our core. It may show up as an existential question. Why is there anything here at all? As against nothing?
Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles. Breathe in existence, breathe out non-existence. Becoming is the cycling of energy between being and non-being. Philosophers speak of two moments in the flow.
So the energy that manifests as mood swings at an emotional level, manifests on the subtlest level of all as something words can barely hint at : “Now you see me, now you don’t”, or, “now you see it, now you don’t.”