Mind/Body Wellness

Yoga Science Teaches Us How to Transform Energy

You learned in grade school science class that energy can appear in either the potential or kinetic form. The electricity in the wiring of your home is available for any use you choose. When you turn a light switch to the “on” position, energy appears in the form of light. This is the kinetic state because the energy is being used or expended. However, when you turn the light switch to the “off” position, the energy remains in the potential state–ready to be used at the flick of a switch.

The inherent power of fear, anger and self-willed desire can also be stored potentially or expended kinetically, and it is your personal attention that determines in which state the energy resides. If the mind’s conscience, known as buddhi in Sanskrit, defines a particular thought as a form of energy that will enable you to fulfill the purpose of your life (a shreya), it is suggesting that you transform the state of that thought energy from the potential into the kinetic by taking some appropriate action. In other words, you are encouraged to think about the shreya, speak in service to the shreya, and take some physical action in service to the shreya.

Such emotions as fear, anger and greed are not inherently bad or negative, for if they’re handled skillfully, they can become helpful resources. If the conscience (buddhi) recognizes them as merely an ego or sense gratification (preya) that conflicts with your own Inner Wisdom, you are being asked to renounce your attachment to them so that their intrinsic power can be transformed and stored for your future use.

The laws of physical science state that energy cannot be created nor destroyed, but it can be transformed. Viewing Yoga as a sister science, the ancients experimented with controlling, conserving and transforming the energy of thought. Through trial and error they realized that when they renounced a single preya desire-what could be seen as a momentary temptation or a negative thought — the energy of that desire manifested in a different form.

Recognizing this process, imagine what would happen if, instead of gasoline, twenty gallons of crude oil directly from the fields of Saudi Arabia were pumped into your car’s gas tank. It would wreck your engine. Crude oil is simply of no use in a combustion engine. To become an appropriate fuel for your automobile, the raw oil must first be refined.

Each of us has the capacity to employ a refining process that can transform the raw, inherent power of every thought, desire and emotion. When the mind’s conscience, the buddhi, intuitively advises that the unusable, destructive and constrictive power of a particular fear, anger or self-willed desire is appearing in your awareness in the form of preya, you, as a Yoga scientist, have access to a mechanism for capturing and transforming that power. This refinement process is accomplished by consciously and willingly renouncing your attachment to the preya.