Many of our New Year’s resolutions are quickly left by the wayside for one reason: lack of immediate gratification. We just don’t see results soon enough to encourage our participation for very long. It’s probably why we had to “resolve” to do it in the first place.
Our good angel knows that we need to drop ten pounds, quit smoking, meditate for a half hour a day, run a mile, or read La Divina Commedia (after first learning Italian), but pretty soon we’re out smoking behind the gym with the class shirkers, slackers, and layabouts.
I’m a big fan of instant feedback for my efforts. I don’t need to hit the jackpot every time I pull on the slot machine, but I want some indication that the damn thing is listening to me. When I learn a new martial art, I don’t expect instant mastery, but I do want to feel a significant shift in my energy field…now. If not, what am I doing wrong?
This is something I do every day, many times a day, that gives me a payout: I export coherence.
That’s right, I give it away.
And to export coherence, you need to have a bunch of it to export.
As anyone who has read any of my stuff knows, I’m a big fan of energetic coherence. Nothing gives you so much bang for the buck as does increasing your coherence. It makes you physically more powerful. It calms and focuses the mind. It relaxes the muscles. It balances the autonomic nervous system. It allows you to access the “space between thoughts.”
I could go on. And I have on numerous occasions. Like this four-parter on Negentropy. (In short, the more coherence that is present in any system, the less entropy. They are inversely proportional.) Coherence, particular energetic coherence, is the heuristic that powers my investigations. That is, using relative coherence as a guiding principle I have been able to untangle several puzzling paradoxes to reveal useful principles.
Here is a short explanation from a blog I wrote in 2012 explaining a little about energetic coherence. (See Taijiquan: Through the Western Gate for a more.)
Any living creature is much more than a biochemical machine. Biophysicist Mae Wan Ho points out that living creatures are dynamic and fluid, self-motivated, self-organizing, and spontaneous. We are coherent to some degree simply by being alive. Certain conditions can enhance that coherence, such as mental focus. At the highest levels, all components of the living system are in instant and continuous communication. The whole system acts as one. In some cases, it shows surprising similarities to a macrocosmic quantum system: a “Bose-Einstein condensate.” Upwards of a hundred TRILLION cells coordinate quasi-instantly as one.
As impossible as it is to clearly define “energy,” it is still a useful term. We use it to describe how “work” gets done. We know there is a reciprocal relationship between mass and energy. Similarly, it can be used to express qualities of a living creature. The qi of a rock is different from the qi of a puppy, even if they may ultimately be expressions of the same universal energy. Energy is more coherent in systems that are more “whole” in that moment. The energy of the june bug is more coherent before it hits your windshield at 60 mph. You are probably more coherent while doing your taiji form than while being stung by a swarm of bees.
Energetic coherence in taijiquan is a reflection of the degree of body/mind/spirit (shen) coherence in any moment. We learn to integrate them through our gongfu. Pointing and reaching with the index finger is amazingly effective for heightening coherence almost immediately. It seems to unify the “Living Matrix” of the connective tissue system, which is structurally like a liquid crystal. Then all the weird, anomalous stuff that taiji masters do becomes more available to you and me. It’s still mysterious and paradoxical, but we can all learn to do it.
And here is a talk/demonstration from The Society for Consciousness Studies Conference at Yale in 2015.
As I have often said, pointing and reaching with the index finger is not the only way to heighten energetic coherence, it’s just the best way I have found so far. It’s fast, reliable, predictable, and effective. And the more you do it, the easier it is to do.
It’s cumulative. Each time you heighten your coherence, it goes in the bank. You expand your body-mind’s capacity to process and circulate coherent energy. You learn to not only like it, but to expect it. You notice when there is a dip in your coherence and take steps to correct that.
But you don’t have to wait until you have massive coherent energy to start exporting coherence. Each time you export it, you get an immediate return.
How does it work?
You can see it immediately by noticing its opposite: exporting non-coherence. When you’re crabby, snarky, or sarcastic to family and friends you are exporting non-coherence. When you lie, cheat, steal, embarrass, undermine, threaten, etc. you generate non-coherence. You create relationships that are less harmonious, and that comes back to you. Karma.
Turn that around by meeting others with your whole being and positive energy and you immediately change the energy of the situation. This doesn’t mean that your angry boss will start making you cupcakes, but there will be a shift proportional to the coherence you bring into the relationship.
Coherence begets coherence. Coherence attracts coherence. You start by quietly becoming more coherent yourself, then notice the effect it has on the environment.
This is different than just trying to appease others or “make them happy” or wearing a phony smile. This is about finding the strength and peace that comes from wholeness. And then maintaining that wholeness when dealing with others.
So if you want to do something in 2017 that will change your life for the better, get more coherent more often and export coherence to others. And each time you do, take a moment to notice how you’ve made your world a little brighter.