This post is dedicated to the memory of Marg and Mal Brierley, two dear friends of my family, who were on Thursday 15th February 2018 tragically killed in a car accident. No words can express how large a hole has been left in our worlds. The words I have written were hugely inspired by their love and support over all of my 36 years.
One of the greatest things happened to me 18 months ago… I became an auntie. An auntie to a little ball of pure, untarnished energy. I really had no idea how much this addition to my world would effect me as a human being, inspire me, remind me of things missing from my life, bring me joy. This small being fascinates me as I watch her grow, experience, learn. As I see her ‘become’ … she becomes frustrated when she is unable to express herself, she becomes delighted as she conquers a new word … and, of course, because she is one of my kin, I think - wow - she is so advanced - she is so clever - she has so much potential!
It is this idea of unbridled potential that has monopolised both my thinking and my asana practice over these last few months. I have been grateful to be able to return to my yogic explorations as ‘experiment’ rather than ‘lifejacket’. I have been laying foundations here in Myanmar, allowing my theoretical projects to begin to take shape, to be planned - ready to be actioned - they sit now - poised with potential.
But as I have been planning and plotting, as I have been meeting new colleagues and laying pathways to change - my head has been full of an obsession of what potential actually is and whether some of us are ‘born’ with more than others, which in turn helps some of us seem to ‘achieve’ more than others in life or is potential something that is purely ours to control?
In the west we are obsessed with ‘fulfilling our potential’ ‘achieving’ ‘striving’. From schools to offices, and even now within mainstream commercialised ‘spirituality’ we are encouraged to ‘break free’; to live our passions; to do what matters to us (and I am all for encouraging that!).
The dictionary definition of potential is ‘possible’ (as opposed to actual); capable of becoming; a latent excellence of ability that may or may not develop. The concept of ‘potentiality’, refers to any ‘possibility’ of a given thing and was first talked about by Aristotle. He believed not all possibilities are the same and that actuality, in contrast to potentiality, is the motion, activity or change i.e. the energetic transmutation that represents the fulfilment of a possibility.
Science terms potential energy as the energy that an object has due to its position in a force field. For example; gravitational potential energy is dependant on an object’s vertical position and mass; elastic potential energy as found in an extended spring. These energies are potential as they will be converted into another form of energy, such as kinetic (energy in action). Then there is chemical potential energy, which is a product related to the structural arrangement of atoms or molecules. In a chemical reaction, the chemical energy of a substance is transformed to another form of energy, for example when a fuel is burned, the chemical energy is converted to heat. In digestion, food is metabolized in a biological organism.
Science has proved that the basis of the ancient Chinese medicinal theories (e.g. acupuncture, acupressure etc.) work with bioelectromagnetics. All living cells possess attributes which are normally associated with electronic circuits, electric potential energy. Not only do all living cells produce and radiate energetic oscillations of very high frequencies, they also receive and respond to oscillations imposed upon them from the outside world. Biophotons are described as the energy communication medium between life forms. What science has also now confirmed is that biophotons emitted by the human body can be realised through mental intention thus our cells take their signal from our beliefs altering cellular energetic frequency and communication. So the stress of living controlled by our ‘ego’ through time based thought, alters our cells energetic vibrancy, thus affecting our potentiality.