Bull At A Gate Energy: Crash, Bang, Thump
From the time I was a little kid, Mum used to call me a
“bull at a gate”. It was her farm-girl way of telling me I was
going too fast, bumping into things and knocking things over in my passionate haste to get ahead of myself. I was bursting with energy. The irony is, Mum was also a “bull at a gate”, and in fact, she even said it so fast it came out as “bulladagate”! I was, to coin a phrase we use a lot in Australia, a “chip off the old block” in other words just like her. So Mum and I crashed and banged and thumped our way at top speed through housework and schoolwork and gardening and walking and just about everything. As you can imagine, we produced quite a bit of noise!
Sound is energy. The louder the sound the more energy it
carries, the more energy went into making that sound.
What does energy mean in terms of how we go through life?
Listen to your effects when you do the dishes, serve food, close the doors, pull out a chair, walk, speak, pat someone on the back, sweep the floor, put down your briefcase or your shoes or the dog’s dinner. And if you are deaf, I’m sure you already feel what I mean!
How loud is what you’re doing? How much sound comes out? The louder, the more energy. And if energy is coming out, it’s coming out of you, because you’re the one moving things around. And if that energy’s coming out of you, it means you’re losing energy. How tired do you feel at the end of a day of moving through life roughly the way you have been and are now? How would that be different from the way you’d feel at the end of the day if you were making a conscious effort to be gentle in all you do, using sound as the feedback? In other words, aiming for each thing you do to sound quieter than it used to. I used to need at least 10 hours sleep per night just to get through the next day feeling reasonably normal. More sleep was required if I wanted to feel really lively. Crazy!
How are you with that in your life? Or do you drink coffee and consume sugar to suppress the tiredness? Is this crazy too?
Not only are you losing the energy that you are banging and crashing and thumping out into the world, but everyone and everything else gets pummelled by that energy. You know how it feels if you are in the same room with someone who is washing the dishes in anger. But do you realise that energy keeps going? It cannot be created or destroyed. It never stops moving. So even if you were in another room and never knew someone else was washing the dishes in anger, you still get affected. The energy of that anger is still flowing outward, filling the house, the neighbourhood, the world….. No wonder we are all in such a stress-mess!
One day in 1997 my partner – who had a poorly developed sense of tact but thus often said what needed to be said – asked me not to be so noisy as I did things around the house. Boing! I had never even been aware of the sounds I was making, being a “bull at a gate”. Ironically, just like in the case of my Mum, he was also a very un-gentle bull at a gate. Easy to complain about someone else doing what you’re not aware you’re doing yourself! Nonetheless, that raised my awareness and I began paying attention to my movements. I did become quieter, but the racy energy inside that was bursting for release was still there, and I did not progress very much with my gentleness.
Fast forward 12 years, and I found myself in a community hall with a couple of hundred people seated for a lecture on health. We were all settled and ready to listen, when the speaker asked us to do everything in reverse right back to sitting in our cars with keys in the ignition then come back in and sit down again, but with a difference. We were asked to do everything gently and consciously in every moment and in every movement.
Picture 200 people walking as if balancing a carton of eggs on their heads – hilarious! But I was too involved in being “consciously present” to get into laughing at anyone else. And any inclination to laugh died away when I felt the amazing difference in my body. And that wasn’t all. All 200 men, women and children gently, consciously, walked back from the car park, entered the hall, reached their seats, placed their cushions, bags and jackets, and sat down. What happened next was indescribably beautiful and I’ll never forget it.
Everyone felt it, you could tell. There was a silence, a stillness, yet no tenseness. There was a feeling of incredible expansion, as if what was in the room was bigger than the room. It felt very light, very freeing. There was a feeling of peace and oneness, deeply so. There was a feeling that absolutely everyone was perfectly ready for the next thing. No restlessness, unfinished business, unnecessary thoughts or movements or distractions getting in the way. Poised. Open. Together. Awesome!
Having felt that amazing stillness and oneness, and knowing deeply that this is what I’ve always wanted, I began practising conscious presence and gentleness in earnest every day. Of course, a lifetime of unconscious patterns make for a pretty stubborn program to bust, and I probably spent three quarters of the day being much less gentle and aware than I was capable of. But it got better. And better. And then I made another discovery that “blew my socks off”, and yet, as a scientist, should have been blazingly obvious to me.
ALL is energy. ALL is because of energy. And energy is always there and always moving, affecting everything not just for a moment, but permanently. Ever since I was in high school doing physics I had well-understood and appreciated this as academic and practical knowledge.
But the discovery that blew my socks off was when it went from being knowledge to something that I could feel in my body. This changed my life. I’d get home after being at work or out and about with the pressure of life taking me away from that moment-by-moment awareness of how rough or gentle I was being. Now I could actually feel the loving gentleness still there in my house from when I’d left it there that morning. It was on the kitchen sink, in my bed, wherever I had done my movements in gentleness and conscious presence. And coming home to that made it easier to drop the day’s raciness and tension, come back to myself and keep being gentle.
I’m an intense mover and doer with my mind and hands, hardly ever stopping. One day I had the inspiration to use my fingertips as a focus for my remembering to be gentle all day long. Reach for a keyboard to type, a dish to wash, a veggie to cut up, a chair to move, a door to open – fingers lead the way. I figured that I could sharpen my awareness faster and more efficiently by focussing on the small area represented by my fingertips. And it worked. I’d go to grab the loaded laundry basket, and my fingertip awareness would make my mind come back into the present. And realise that the basket I was about to lift was actually too heavy for the wellbeing of a woman’s pelvic floor and spine. Then I would take out half the clothes and instead make 2 trips to the clothesline. At first I’d think: but everything’s going to take so much time! And discovered that I was wrong. It might have taken slightly longer to hang out the washing, but I did not subsequently lose time having to deal with back pain, tiredness, pelvic floor problems…. the list goes on, and I also felt very serene and happy doing the chore. Add that up over all the activities of life and it makes a big difference.
Grace at last
I stopped being a bull at a gate. I stopped getting bruises and scrapes. I stopped dropping and breaking things. I stopped winding myself up in reaction to things that were not going as fast or as smoothly as I wanted. My level of inner tension and frustration and anger reduced to a lower level than ever before. I loved, trusted and appreciated myself more. I became more confident. I enjoyed doing even the most mundane tasks, because I felt loving and gorgeous doing them, and my surroundings reflected that back to me. Then my friends, workmates and family, whether working with me, coming over for a meal or just hanging out, started to feel it. And some of them wanted it for themselves. And started doing it too. And so the gentleness and love spreads outwards, just like the energy it comes with.
More energy experiences (published on other sites):
Sucking It Up