I learned a Sanskrit chant in yoga teacher training many years ago:
Om Purnam Adaha
The English translation goes something like this:
This is fullness.
That is fullness.
From fullness, fullness is born.
When you take fullness from fullness,
only fullness remains.
The first time I chanted this. I thought it sounded absurd; in fact, I could barely keep from laughing. But as 2012 winds down and with it, my energy, the words seem much more profound.
I use many yoga tools to help clients build energy, but one of the most profound practices has more to do with daily life than life on the mat. Energy–our ability to give to ourselves and others–is much like a well. When we’re healthy, our energy well is full and our sources of replenishment are abundant. In those times we have plenty to give to others.
My personal energy well is fullest in the summer, when light and warmth surround me, I sleep well, and I have quality time to share with friends and family. In summer, I am “full,” and when I am full, I can give of my energy to others while still having abundant energy left for myself.
The deep dark days of winter are different. During those times, my well runs dry. If I don’t focus on filling myself first, I have nothing to give to others, no matter how worthy their cause might be.
So this winter, I plan to spend time doing activities that fill my well. Not because I’m selfish, but because I’m generous. Only when my own well is full can I give from that abundance to others.
In that spirit, I’d like to offer the reflection below to each of you.
A Meditation to Re-fill Your Well
- Sit comfortably, with your spine erect and the crown of your head floating up to the ceiling.
- Allow your eyes to close and notice your breath—without intentionally trying to change it. Bring your attention to the sensation of the breath in your nostrils.
- When you are ready, imagine all the things in life that fill your energy well: people you love, activities you enjoy doing, gifts of nature, even something as simple as taking a hot bubble bath or savoring a square of smooth, dark chocolate. Let these thoughts float through your awareness as images, sensations, smells, tastes, or anything else that is powerful for you.
- When your mind wanders, bring it back to the sensations of the breath. Then imagine again everything that brings you energy and joy.
- After several minutes, ask yourself the following questions.
- What do these images tell me about how I can increase energy and foster joy in my life?
- What actions can I take in the coming year to invite more energy, joy, and gratitude into my daily life?
- When you become distracted by other thoughts, simply notice that distraction. Then, with your next inhale, ask yourself the above questions again.
- Continue this meditation for ten minutes or longer if you’d like.
In this coming year, may your well–and the wells of those around you–be full to overflowing.