“Energy has its own intelligence” is one of my favorite phrases. Maybe I like it so much because it’s one of the divine truths that came to me early in my exploration of Ananda, yoga, and meditation.
What the heck does it mean?
Energy waits for you to do something
We were in the midst of remodeling our temple in Palo Alto, and so every Saturday was a bit chaotic, transforming our deconstructed construction site into a peaceful oasis of inspirational beauty. One Saturday afternoon, a friend of mine set me the task of fluffing up the cream colored curtains that masked storage cubbies at the back of the sanctuary, which were stacked with tools and construction material. I worked carefully across one side of the room, fluffing, fluffing, and then moved my ladder over to the other side of the room to begin the second half of the curtained expanse.
A few minutes later, my friend clumped by, carrying something big and awkward, and took the time to encourage me. “Looks great! When you finish this side, go ahead and fix the other side.” I twirled around and said, “Oh! I’ve already finished the other side!” He laughed and said, “Oh. Okay. Hhhmmm. Maybe Sandy can do the curtains.”
In other words, I wasn’t doing a very good job, because I had no idea how to do what I was supposed to be doing. I had no clue how to move forward. My friend wisely swapped me out for more creative hands, and all was well.
Energy teaches you by doing
And I started working with cloth.
I paid attention to how the cloth draped as it swept across the front of the altar. If I secured it there, it would add another swoop. If I pinned it up here, the gathers would fall gracefully there. If I taped it down here, it could cling solidly yet softly here and flow seamlessly there.
I started creating beautiful altars.
Energy wants to flow
And then there were the flowers.
My lifelong strategy for flower arranging had been to shove them into a vase and hope they nestled gracefully along the edge, filling the space with beauty and color. It rarely worked, but it was all I knew.
That strategy wasn’t going to work for the Palo Alto altar, which was massive. It required behemoth arrangements that would radiate beauty all the way to the back of that cavernous room.
My one clue was oasis foam, the magical securer of flower stems. After that, it all came from my creative imagination, that seat of lurking energy.
My first glimpse of the intelligence of energy was walking into the flower market and finding myself surrounded by buckets and buckets of blossoms. I walked through all of that beauty, and amazingly, some blooms popped out from their neighbors. Sometimes it was the size of the bloom, or the shape of the petals, but usually it was the color that spoke to me. I would pick up this bundle and that, nestling them against each other on my cart, and then look for another color that wanted to be on that cart, too.
I’d talk to the flowers on the drive to the temple and tell them how beautiful they were. “You get to stand in front of dozens and dozens of people tomorrow, and they are going to love how beautiful you are! They are going to feel so inspired when they look at you. You are going to open their hearts.” They would jostle along beside me, beaming happily.
I’d lay all the flowers out on the workbench, choose some vases, soak the oasis, walk out to the altar, and feel the energy in the room around me. Going back to the flowers, I’d pick up one stem and hold it next to the vase. “You want to be this tall.” Snip. “And you want to stand right there, at that angle.” Press. “You want to be this tall.” Snip. “And stand there,” so on and so on.
Step into the flow of energy
I didn’t know any rules. I had no techniques up my sleeve. I wandered amongst the flowers, and they told me to put them on the cart. Each stem told me where it should go, where its face should be. The creative energy flowed through me and out my hands. It was captivating.
Those flower arrangements did inspire people with their beauty. Those beautifully draped cloths lifted people’s hearts. Those altars brought light into people’s eyes.
The flowers taught me. The cloth taught me. Energy has its own intelligence. All we need to do is to step into the energy flow and pay attention.