There are two energetic impulses in the universe: contraction and expansion. Contraction is energy moving inward. Expansion is energy moving outward.
Contraction increases density and creates gravity, which pulls objects in. Expansion dissipates matter and creates antigravity, which allows objects to move away.
Contraction is achieved through a process of tightening – atomic particles coming together. Expansion is achieved through the process of relaxation – atomic particles moving away from one other.
Everything in the universe, including what we call matter, is comprised of energetic impulses. The overall nature of these impulses – inward or outward – determines the nature of the entity. Energy is always moving. Never static.
Human beings are energetic fields held together by some sort of inward gravity. The fields are always in flux. Expanding and contracting.
Every person, at some level, understands this flux. In fact, consciousness is itself a field within the larger field of fluctuation. From contraction to expansion. Back to contraction. Then expansion… ad infinitum.
Think about the taut exhilaration you feel on a roller coaster. Or the serene, almost liquefying sensation you have when meditating at the end of a yoga class.
Relaxation is what allows you to avoid conflict, overlook disappointment, and appreciate the best of your life. It allows our finest philosophers the space to discover their most profound insights. It allows monks to enjoy isolation and master archers to shoot arrows with Zen-like perfection.
But relaxation does not build skyscrapers or write novels. It is contraction that does that. Contraction provides the energy and impetus for artists, musicians, scientists, and businesspeople to create.
Contraction is also what locks fearful people in their homes and drives mad people into the streets.
These two impulses are always and everywhere. They are evident in everything we do and how we behave. They are built into our biochemistry. In the cells of our bodies and in the atoms that comprise our cells. They are present in every sound we hear, every odor we smell, every texture we feel, and every image we see. Contraction and expansion are the essential energetic components of our thoughts, feelings, and dreams. Even of our unconsciousness.
We are reminded of these impulses by a thousand natural patterns. These patterns include the beating of our hearts and the two primary experiences of life: birth and death.
Everything in the universe – including man and everything he has created — is a reflection and a result of these interactive impulses.
All our technical, artistic, and philosophic achievements are reflections and results of contraction and expansion. So is all the waste and war and death we have caused.
Contraction and expansion create our history and our future too.
We cannot escape these impulses. We cannot deny them. But if we learn to accept and understand them, we may be able to live fuller, happier, and perhaps even better lives.