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Energy Flow - The Great Exchange

by Amy Suplee(more info)

listed in psychospiritual, originally published in issue 108 - February 2005

The Natural Rhythm

Following the laws of nature, everything in life is meant to flow. That which ceases to flow causes stagnation, imbalance and depletion. If you look at such natural processes as evolution, photosynthesis, the biochemical reactions in the body, weather patterns and ancient theories in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda and Taoism you will notice that life itself is balanced when there is an equal exchange of energy. Everything in life is circular; every cycle continues to completion only to begin again on a different level. The end of one cycle is simply the beginning of another. If the flow of the cycle comes to a halt due to insufficiency, problems with dispersion, or over-abundance, an imbalanced state occurs. Following this idea, everything in life exists as an exchange of energy. Each element has a relationship with its counteractive part. Each relationship functions when there is a mutual interaction of giving and receiving. Balance occurs because one element does not take more than it needs and each element gives back to the source to maintain this idea of equilibrium. Therefore, only when this mutual exchange is not occurring, should there be an imbalance.

We as human beings are constantly striving for a state of balance, much like nature. Similar to the cycles of birth, death and rebirth in nature, our energetic components function according to our surroundings. Because our surroundings are in a constant flux, so are we. For example, some geographical areas undergo serious climatic changes where long droughts are suddenly followed by very rainy months, thus causing floods. Some areas of the world experience extremely hot summers and very frigid winters. The mind functions on a similar plane where we will be completely happy one day and lethargic and depressed the next. The body exemplifies this idea in its ability to be hot and cold, moist and dry, hungry and full, high and low, etc. These examples illustrate the duality and the polarity that exists in everything in our world, the yin and the yang, the ebb and the flow. This struggle for balance never seems to fully subside because balance itself is a theoretical concept. If you think of yin and yang energy, they are only in exact proportions for a nanosecond. Is a glass ever half full or half empty? By the time you count the molecules, it has already changed. Throughout our day, there is a constant ebb and flow of our emotions, our digestion, our mental capacity and our energy. So, perhaps the ebb and flow is the definition of balance; the energetic exchange abiding by the idea that there must be a give and take relationship, in everything that we do.

Fundamental Guidance

I have found it amazing how once you become 'aware' of this idea of exchange, you can walk into a room and sense that which is energetically favourable or depleting. This holds true for individuals whom we interact with, work environments, our geographical area in which we live, our home, but most of all, our relationships. Since we seem to have a relationship of some sort with everything in our lives, this idea can apply to everything that we surround ourselves with. I had an experience that is very common to most people: I was absolutely amazed to realize that getting released from a very negative job would be like getting a prescription for Prozac. My own body was in such a state of imbalance while working in this environment. I was aware of it, yet torn because it was my main source of income. However, I continued to lethargically carry myself through my days, without a whole lot to add to the other areas of my life. Because the job drained me so much, I was spending my money on outside resources: getting massages, Reiki and spiritual counselling. This was due to the lack of the 'give and take relationship'. I gave so much of my energy to my job without receiving anything positive back in return, and was instead inflicted with negativity by an angry boss. Because of this depletion, I was forced to seek outside resources to fill myself back up with energy. I am finding that many people are also experiencing the effects of this energetic interaction. So, perhaps, that is what our minds/bodies are trying to tell us. Do we really need prescription drugs and treatments or do we simply need to make a lifestyle change? It is amazing how many of us have the key to unlock our own door to happiness, yet we lack the courage to make the move. Intuitively, we each hold the answers to our own dilemmas. Yet, to find that key, we need to drop our fears and tap into our own intuitive consciousness, accessing the energetic realm, which will provide each of us with the information that we need to be balanced individuals.

Simple Complexities

So, how do we access the energetic plane? For one, we already live in it. The most symbiotic of relationships function on this level. For example, air exchange: inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide, a very simple concept that is crucial to our survival. Yet, on a molecular level there is much more to this process. When this exchange is efficient and in the correct proportions, there is proper functioning. When it does not, our bodies can become oxygen deficient and/or toxic due to the inadequate exchange. As we become more aware of the energetic exchange, on not only the microscopic level but the macroscopic as well, we can begin to understand what we as individuals (and a society) need to maintain homeostasis. We can then begin to see the direct correlation between the simplicities and complexities that give our world its functionality. The most complex ideas are actually very simply written when broken down into the constituent parts. We are energetic beings, operating correctly when the focal point is preventative maintenance and overall stability. For proper functioning, we cannot expend more energy than is available, nor can we manufacture and perform efficiently without the energy to supply that action. Our performance is dependent on the internal fuel source. Like a refrigerator generated by a power cord, we will not run if we are unplugged from our energy source.

So, what exactly is our source of energy? Because energy is all around us, in every plant, organism, being and non-being, the air, and the universe, we give and receive energy all day long. Our internal energy supply is everywhere. Depending on our individual lifestyles, this exchange can be mutually beneficial or very taxing. The mind, body and spirit follow the laws of nature, and within these laws it is known that if we take in more energy than we need without expending, we end up with excess. This can be clearly seen in our relationship with food. If you eat more than you burn off, the body has no choice but to store the excess as fat. Concurrently, if you eat too little while the body engages in over-activity, one becomes malnourished and lethargic.

Mirrored Potentiality

A similar relationship can occur in the environment in which we live. Because everything with which we have a direct relationship interacts with our energetic field, we are shown a mirror image of ourselves with relation to the element of interaction, whether it be a person, an environment, music, artwork, etc. For example, the environment with which we choose to surround ourselves mirrors back the way we see and feel about ourselves in that environment. The partner that we choose mirrors back the qualities that we have within ourselves, and our behaviors through that other person. Therefore, when considering whether there is a mutual correspondence of positive energy, we may want to ask ourselves: "Do I like who I am in this particular environment? Or do I like who I am and how I see myself while interacting with this person? Is there an equal exchange of energy or do I feel as though I am constantly the teacher and this person is the student or vice versa?" At times, this can actually be beneficial even if the interaction is negative, because we are able to see those qualities within ourselves, which need further attention and improvement. This seems to be a fine relationship if one is aware and willing to be open minded to the constructive criticism that is being presented, as long as it doesn't become completely taxing to either individual. Sometimes these types of relationships seem to be absolutely crucial in order for us to continue our own path of personal and spiritual growth. This need can be felt on an energetic level. When we tap into our own energetic resources in this way, we are drawn to who/what we need at the appropriate time.

One's environment can be very depleting if it does not offer a person what they need for growth and stimulation. We all have very different needs, which in itself is very balancing for society. For if we all had the same likes and dislikes, our world would be extremely chaotic and even more competitive. Some find the big city to be very appealing and obtain their zest from the excitement of it all, while others require natural settings such as mountains and ocean. Perhaps others seek out opportunities for education, religious gatherings, music, art, etc. We all have different needs and stimuli, which fuel our internal fire. It is quite powerful when you visit an area and have the ability to feel the energetic vibration in your body. We ALL have this ability! It is simply the external current integrating with our own energetic patterns thus creating a response that can be felt. Following the definition of entropy, there is an 'inevitable and steady deterioration of a system'[1] without energy or work fuelling that system. Therefore, order turns to disorder due to the randomness of interacting molecules, without the energetic component to direct those molecules. Order itself, creates a pattern and within this pattern there is an energetic transaction occurring.[2] Therefore, we function accordingly when the external life that we live in and our internal energetic patterns are correlated and aligned with what our body needs for homeostasis.

I have also found that this idea is absolutely crucial to consider when pertaining to our personal relationships with people. When partnerships become imbalanced, I have most often noticed that it is due to an imbalance in the interchange. This is likely to occur when one person gives more to the other while the other takes without reciprocating. In time, the giver becomes depleted while the taker feels suffocated. The most functional of relationships are those where each partner supports and gives while yielding to each other's growth and purpose.[2] In order for functionality, both partners must be aware and practise this energetic dance to ensure that one is not stepping on the others' toes. Many of us have heard or said the statement, 'he/she sucked the life out of me'. This is exactly what occurs. Not only does this occur in a loving relationship, but amongst friends and colleagues as well. Those who are in need of an energetic boost can act as a leech and cling onto the other individual, sucking the life energy out of that person. Because energy is so vital for our functioning and survival, we tend to feel this imbalance at a very deep level. This type of imbalance is often manifested in the body/mind as anxiety attacks, panic attacks, depression, lethargy, chronic fatigue and other debilitating diseases.

Sustaining the Self

This exchange is also crucial for those who advise/counsel others. At one point, my own spiritual advisors warned me about this exchange. I was taught the importance of an 'exchange of services'. I was told that there must be a trade of services or an exchange of money, which is imperative for one who is in the healing arts profession. This system of bartering allows for the energetic balance to remain. I experienced the downside of this firsthand when a friend of mine was in need of some guidance. As I continued to support and give to this person, I started to become very weak myself. He was depressed and very emotionally drained from a person who had taken his energy and therefore, like a sponge, absorbed everything that I had to give. Because of his own emptiness and lack of self-awareness in relation to this issue, he gave little in return. But, I felt a true need to help this person since he seemed to be at 'rock bottom'. We all seem to reach this point eventually and I felt as though I was guided to his life to help him see the light at the end of the dark tunnel. But, in doing so, I neglected the messages that were coming to my own system. I thought that I could simply use my own outside resources to refill my tank. This continued for a couple of months until he began feeling better. At that time, my system finally broke down because it was far too depleting, and I became ill. I was again re-introduced to the importance of this energetic relationship.

Some of the most amazing healers seem to have an ability to override this idea by tapping into the universal energy source. I believe that it is fully doable yet it takes a lot of practice to tap into this source and use the energy, while continuing to give unconditionally to others. I do not believe that our society as a whole is at this level YET, but seems to be moving in that direction. I believe that we must first learn how to balance our individual physical worlds, thus creating balance in society, which will allow for the transcendence beyond our sensory experiences, desires and attachments. We can then fully utilize the abundant spiritual energy, which is within our reach.

Goodhearted Generosity

Giving to one another is a beautiful thing and the key is that we should give unselfishly without expectation. In fact, if our society made a conscious effort to act with the intention of benefiting others rather than ourselves, I believe that we would live in a much more harmonious and balanced world. The laws of action and reaction confirm that every intention/ belief/action that one sends out into the universe will have an equal and opposite influence reciprocated back to that individual. I believe that imbalances in our society occur when we specifically do something to benefit ourselves rather than others. We tend to make judgements based on our tangible reality. Yet, you cannot make logical sense of a spiritual world. We, as multidimensional beings, have an innate recognition and frequency, which speaks to us all the time, if we learn how to listen. We simply have not been trained to do so. By tapping into this higher consciousness, we are accessing the energetic realm of which we all exist as 'one energy'. Therefore, when we do things to benefit others, we are also creating a better world for not only ourselves, but the society as a whole.

The art of balance occurs when our daily actions are inspired by the universal principle, following the notion that we in fact are inseparable from the cosmic energy force. The erroneous conceptions of reality in which we see the 'self' and 'others' as separate entities rather than an inter-dimensional, intertwining force is in my opinion, the root cause of imbalance.[2] When tuned into this type of consciousness, we can tap into the energy of our surroundings and see whether it is an environment enriched by those who give to it, or whether it is simply a place where people live off the land and take from the earth without giving anything back in return. With this same idea, we can then recognize whether individuals function on the notion of 'taking' or 'reciprocating'. Following the theory of yin and yang as well as ancient Taoist teachings, we as individuals need to make adjustments to our lives as necessary, which means adding and subtracting elements to maintain this state of balance.[3] So, when the glass becomes more empty than it is full, an addition should be made, and vice versa. The art of this process is to NOT fear our own paths, which requires 'letting go' of some people/situations when appropriate and adding change and new elements to the life equation when the moment is ripe to do so. By 'naturally selecting' situations that flow in accordance with our own individual energetic patterns at a specific time, we will attract like beings with this contagious energy.[3] This will help to balance our society because we are diligently working to increase the level of positive energy from the inside out. As we give, we will see this energy flowing out of the people we affect and into others as it is passed along. If we all do our part and live by these higher standards, we will make this a much better place to live. (C. Merrill, personal communication, April 21, 2004). When this interchange takes place we are giving knowledge to one another. Since knowledge is light and light is power, we as a society become uplifted and can, therefore, function at a higher vibrational level, which allows for more love, honesty and peace.


1 Cleary T. Awakening to the Tao. Shambhala Publications Inc. 1988.
2 Marciniak B. Bringers of the Dawn. Bear and Company Publishing. 1992.
3 The American Heritage Dictionary. Houghton Mifflin Company. 2001.

Inspired By Francke G. 2003-04.
Merrill C. Aspen. CO. 2004.
Sandy P. Santa Cruz. CA. 2004.


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About Amy Suplee

Amy L Suplee LAc MTCM is a Licensed Acupuncturist and Master of Traditional Chinese Medicine. She owns hers own clinical practice called Window To The Sky Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine outside of Aspen, Colorado ( She has published other articles for Positive Health. She is an Acupuncturist, Herbalist, Reiki Master, Reconnective Healer, Spiritual Counsellor, Massage Therapist, and Nutritional Coach. She can be reached by


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