I frequently wish I had the temperament for natural science. For as long as memory serves, natural wonders have fascinated and drawn me.
Last night, my wife grabbed me to come out on our deck and watch a distant storm cloud. The rest of the dusk sky was perfectly clear so the enormous, anvil shaped cloud was on stage.
Lightning charges raced throughout the cloud, illuminating the interior from one side to the next and occasionally wrapping around the outside. I sat mesmerized. The same way I have since the first time I watched an electrical storm at 16 years-old. Only this time, I was less concerned about how the show occurred and my thoughts ran to its application on our lives. (I know…I’m a success nerd.)
Lightning is supposedly formed in the clouds through ice crystals rising and falling inside of the cloud and colliding. These collisions give off electrical charges. The charges separate into the upper and lower halves of the cloud like a battery has negative and positive halves. The interaction between the two is what shows up as lightning in the clouds.
We’ll come to the lightning striking the ground in a moment, but I want to talk about this action in the cloud first.
The essence of lightning is energy. This energy is generated by H20 going through changes. First as water on the earth, evaporating with the introduction of heat and rising, losing the heat and reforming as water so that some of it can come right back down to earth in the form of rain. Some of it though, loses enough heat to form ice and begin the process of building energy in the cloud. (Still with me?)
Building your perfect storm
Okay, imagine the water as your thoughts. They are gathered in your mind as rivers, lakes, streams, or even puddles. When you introduce learning of any kind it stirs your thoughts and begins to change some of them and they rise into your conscious mind. No differences are obvious yet, but the process of your environment changing has begun.
As you continue to study and learn, more thoughts rise and begin to accumulate. This is where new ideas and perspectives start to form. Maybe you see yourself or those around you in a new light. Perhaps past pain and hurt, which was only a muddy pond in the corner of your mind, is combining with new insights to show you a different reality.
Some of these thoughts form together quickly and come falling back down into your mind to nourish and refresh you. It could be a gentle rain or monsoon, but new ways of thinking are coming down. Your choice in that instance is to receive the rain and grow, or let it run off and start the cycle again.
The rain that didn’t fall
For the thoughts that remain in the “air” of your consciousness, the intensity picks up. The higher they rise, the more like they are to form into a solid and join the other disjointed pieces of your life. Jagged pieces of memory, hope, and intention, banging around on each other.
New thoughts of hope and inspiration colliding with old beliefs about personal worth and capability. As they hit and conflict with each other, energy builds inside of you. Yes, it requires both negative and positive to have energy. Look around and realize that energy does not exist unless you have both positive AND negative. It is the interplay between the two that creates the charge.
See yourself as the cloud which contains the thoughts and visions of what you want, as well as the history and beliefs that have you where you are. Acknowledge that they conflict with one another and the energy which comes from that conflict. You need it for massive change. You need that energy for the strike!
How it goes BOOM!
You see, lightning doesn’t just jump out of a cloud and hit the highest object in an area. The flashes we see hit the earth, or something on it, are a cooperation between the cloud and object. (Still here? Good. I’m going somewhere with this too.)
The energy in the cloud is looking for somewhere to go, a path. But to begin with, the cloud starts several paths called step leaders. They flow from the cloud for a distance, pool up some energy, and flow off in a different direction. As it gets closer to the ground the step leader starts to split in even more directions. This isn’t the lightning yet.
On the ground, different objects sense the approach of the clouds energy (the step leaders) and they send up a streamer. Picture the streamers as requests for energy and the step leaders as suppliers. There might be numerous streamers sent up from objects in an area, but only one makes the connection.
When a branch of the step leader and a streamer connect, the circuit is complete and all of the energy from the different branches of the step leader is pulled from them and sent into the branch which made connection. Eventually sending the energy out of the cloud into the object through this connection.
The transfer is obviously intense. So much so that the air surrounding the completed path explodes! That is the lightning and the thunder. What we know as one the most marvelous and powerful displays of nature is actually the residual of a transfer of energy.
Aim your lightning
All of that energy building in you has to go somewhere. When we get excited by new possibilities our tendency is look in 100 different directions for something to pour in to. Unfortunately, there are 1,000’s of people and objects sending out streamers in an attempt to drain your energy. Unlike the storm cloud of nature, we can better control where we strike and what our energy is poured into.
Our step leaders don’t have to be random. When we realize the building of energy around certain ideas, it’s important to craft a vision for where we would like the energy to go. Is it a new or deeper relationship or perhaps a career move? It could be anything, but our ability to guide the energy intentionally is what matters.
Imagine different ways to create what you want from this new thought or belief and allow yourself to explore those potential paths. Don’t just allow the first streamer you make contact with to drain you. Be prudent and evaluate the options. There will be plenty of them.
Once you’ve found the destination worthy of your energy, connect! Pour your energy in to it and make the air explode around you. Do something massive that shakes the earth!
More importantly, always engage the process that started it all. Learn. Challenge yourself and your preconceived notions. A life without storms is a life without energy. A life without energy… well, what’s the point?