Let's Get Off Our Buts

Part Four:
The Energy of Achievement

Creativity can solve almost any problem. The creative act, the defeat of habit by originality, overcomes everything.


In the East, the movement of energy in the human body is studied and charted as meticulously as the movement of, say, bodily fluids is studied and charted in the West.

As the merging of East and West continues, the wisdoms of each are being explored and incorporated by the other. Some Eastern health practitioners now have circulation charts on their walls, and some Western doctors have charts indicating the meridians of the body and acupressure points.

I'm going to talk about the movement of one kind of energy within the body--the energy of achievement. There are other energies, of course, just as there are fluids other than blood. I'm discussing the energy of achievement because it relates most directly to manifestation--toward making our dreams come true.

This is the energy of individual creation. It's quite powerful. It is also experienced as sexual energy (recreative or procreative) and as spiritual energy. (This is the spiritual energy as it is perceived within the body. What degree of spiritual energy there is outside the body--and how that might be organized and tapped--is a matter of speculation and belief I shall leave to The Gap.)

People experience achievement energy differently depending on what they call it. Just as a certain energy in the body can be called "fear" or called "excitement," so, too, the energy of achievement can be called creative, sexual, or spiritual.

Creative activity could be described as a type of learning process where teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.


This energy is produced in the body in an area that extends from about the navel to approximately mid-thigh. It extends in a band, all the way around the body. The center of it is the area known in Western anatomy as the perineum. To quote The American Heritage: "The region between the scrotum and the anus in males, and between the posterior vulva junction and the anus in females."

Even reading a dictionary definition about this center of energy is enough to activate many people's comfort zones. As we'll see shortly, this discomfort is precisely why this energy is not available as fully as it could be. For now, allow your comfort zone to do what it does, and read on.

The energy of achievement is designed to move up, toward the brain, where the mind directs it. ("Wash the car." "Fix dinner." "Write a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.") The mind is like the rudder of a ship--with small motions, it guides the powerful ship in the direction set by the captain (you).

Here's an ideal scene of how this energy moves within the body. The energy moves up, into the area of the stomach--a circular area with the navel at its center. Here it picks up excitement and more power-- the power to make changes. It rises further, to the solar plexus. Here, the energy becomes more focused and takes on a solid, grounded, reliable quality. The energy travels higher, to the center of the chest, where it acquires loving and caring. This excited, powerful, focused, solid, grounded, reliable, loving, and caring energy (I call it passion) presents itself to the mind, asking, "What shall we do?"

The process can go the other way, too. The mind may have a direction--a task--and send down for some energy. "Coming right up!" the creative energy responds, and rises to the occasion.

With this free flow of energy, directed toward a goal, it's easy to see how seemingly effortless the fulfillment of dreams can be. It actually sounds like fun.

Not many people, however, experience it in this way. What happens? If we overlay the comfort zone, and the misperceptions we were programmed to have about the use of various emotions, the answer is obvious.

The energy begins to rise from the creative center. Because it's coming from "down there," we immediately begin to wonder, "What's wrong?" Most of us were trained that any sensation from "down there" involves either elimination (when we were younger) or sexuality (a little later)--two activities that are icky at best and deadly at worst. One then feels either fearful or guilty, or--usually--both.

Excuse me, I have to use the toilet. Actually, I have to use the telephone, but I'm too embarrassed to say so.


If the sensation is some form of elimination, for many the first thought is, "Can this be postponed?" There is a great deal of fear connected with elimination--fear of germs, fear of pain, fear of touching anything icky, fear of terrible smells. (Actually, people don't much mind their own smells, but if someone else were to smell them--disaster!) Many people are embarrassed (another word for fearful) about elimination. There are almost as many euphemisms for elimination as there are for death--going to the rest room (what are you going to rest?), the powder room (what is there to powder?), the bathroom (you're going to take a bath?), and so on.

If the energy is perceived as sexual, the almost automatic response of most people is, "How do I get rid of this?" It is treated as some sort of irritation.

For some, fear and guilt insist that the energy be overcome, suppressed, crushed, "put down," and subdued. If this sounds like the response of a military dictator to a people's revolt, it is not coincidental. This energy, according to some people's training, is to be neither experienced nor expressed.

Some pull God in at this point, telling themselves that fear and guilt are really Direct Messages from the Almighty. It's not "moral" to feel this energy, they tell themselves. What was a simple revolution becomes a battle for one's Immortal Soul.

For others--many who consider themselves "sexually liberated"--the desire to eliminate any sexual feelings is just as strong. They, however, attempt to use action rather than suppression.

When the creative energies begin to rise and are perceived as sexual, one is, in the popular terminology, horny. Horny does not mean, "Oh, I'm going to spend loving, tender, intimate moments with the one I love." Horny means, "How can I get rid of this energy?" Satisfaction is defined as what you feel after this energy is released. Promiscuous sexual activity--with self or others--releases the energy. The feeling behind the release is fear --fear that the energy will increase, as though sexual feelings were some sort of curse, and if the pressure is not immediately released, we might explode .

I'm at an age where I think more about food than sex. Last week I put a mirror over my dining room table.


Both suppression and promiscuity are based on a deeply seated cultural taboo against sex. Yes, sex is everywhere in our culture, but it's everywhere because of the taboo. This is especially true of humor, which is a great barometer of what is forbidden and what is accepted by a culture. Jokes about the forbidden are automatically funnier than jokes about the acceptable.

"But sex is a natural function. Wouldn't it be joked about because of that?" Moving the blood through our body is a natural function, too, but how many jokes are there circulating about blood flow? Without the sexual taboo, jokes about sex wouldn't be so titillating.

We look for sex jokes. We even have a special term for puns of a sexual nature--double entendre (borrowed from the French, of course). ("I am now going to attempt," Bette Midler told her audience as a drum roll flourished, "my world-famous quadruple entendre!")

The result of this sexual taboo is guilt. We feel something we shouldn't be feeling--that nobody should be feeling--and we feel guilty. Rather than explore the underlying belief and accept that having sexual energy is not "bad," many people suppress the feeling, or rebel against the guilt and act on sexual feelings promiscuously. Either action is a reaction to the guilt.

The confusion this can cause when the energy is being used creatively or spiritually is obvious. One may be involved in a creative project. The creative energy is flowing more and more. Then, for a moment, it is interpreted as sexual. "Oh, dear," the creating person says, "I'd better do something about this," and moves into his or her habitual response to sexual energy. Be that suppression or expression, the use of the energy in a creative way is stopped.

The same happens when people are involved inspiritual practices--prayer, meditation, contemplation--and the spiritual energy begins flowing. When experienced for a moment as sexual, the same turmoil about "what-to-do-about-sex" takes over, and the spiritual heights to which one can ride this energy are not reached.

Creativity represents a miraculous coming together of the uninhibited energy of the child with its apparent opposite and enemy, the sense of order imposed on the disciplined adult intelligence.


When this energy is needed for creative or spiritual work, to eliminate it--through suppression or expression--before it has a chance to get beyond the fear and guilt of the stomach is not productive.

I am not advocating increased sexual activity for the suppressors, nor am I advocating celibacy for the expressers. I am suggesting that the sexual energy be considered a welcome energy in the body. It is not bad. It does not have to be suppressed or eliminated.

Allowing it to simply be there forms the basis from which one can choose how this energy will be used. That choice may be to use it creatively, spiritually, or sexually. When we're "on automatic," we cannot choose.

Let's say the energy makes it past the stomach. It has gained excitement (rather than fear) and power to change (rather than guilt). The next hurdle is unworthiness. This is a formidable one. "Who do you think you are to have this kind of energy? And just what do you plan to do with it, anyway?"

Even if a person has pondered these questions intellectually and arrived at a satisfactory conclusion, seldom is that conclusion grounded so fully in the body that it automatically answers, "I am me, this is my energy, and I'm using it to fulfill my Dream." (If using it as spiritual energy, the body might respond, "This is God's energy, and I'm using it to do God's work.") Unworthiness's only response to this is, "Oh, all right, you may pass."

Unworthiness stands as a gatekeeper. It has an important job: let only a certain amount of energy pass for a certain task. As I discussed before, most people, unfortunately, have unworthiness programmed to allow almost nothing to pass--they are unworthy of all things, certainly all new things.

Visualizations, affirmations, sanctuary work, and so on, give unworthiness new instructions. "It is all right to let energy for the fulfillment of thisDream pass. In addition, you are to add to thisenergy some of your solid, grounded, reliable energy."

When the energy gets above unworthiness, it comes upon the third checkpoint. There it often finds a wounded heart.

You've got to create a dream. You've got to uphold the dream. If you can't, go back to the factory or go back to the desk.


Most people, over time, have developed a definite attitude toward emotional hurt: "I'm never going to let that happen to me again." They wrongly believe that it was the caring that caused the hurt, "And if I never care about anything ever again, I won't be hurt."

This is the I-may-never-win-but-at-least-I'll-never-lose attitude we discussed earlier. It is a decision made in early childhood, and the limited logic and perception of a child become the "rule" many people use to govern their adult lives.

To this rule, the energy of achievement is a major threat. "This Dream you're going after--it's a risk. We might fail. That would hurt, and I can't stand being hurt anymore. You can't pass." If pressed (by now the energy is fairly powerful), the anger that often covers the hurt arises and says, "I said no. I mean no. Now leave me alone."

When the heart is taught, with gentleness and affection, that risk is a part of winning, and that hurt often is a part of caring, and that hurts eventually heal, it can allow the energy to pass. The heart, of course, being the heart, automatically adds loving and caring to the energy as it moves through.

At that moment, the heart thrills. In giving, it isreborn. It comes alive. It has something--the Dream--to love again, and loving is its nature, its very life. The wounds of the past begin to heal. The wounds are forgiven, and, as importantly, forgotten.

If all this energy arrives at an unfocused mind, of course, the energy is all dissipated, scattered here and there. The power to fulfill a Dream is lost. That's why I've spent so much time in this book on the significance of the Dream--the importance of knowing the specific destination toward which the ship is to be steered. I've described what happens when the energy begins in the creative center and rises to the mind. When the mind sends its request down for some achievement energy to fulfill a given project, it's easy to see how the mind's request might never make it through all the possible roadblocks to connect with the very energy it seeks.

The first challenge the mind faces is the wounded heart. "We've been hurt too many times by your bright ideas. Go away." The mind returns to its station, where yet another "best laid plan" remains unfulfilled.

Any activity becomes creative when the doer cares about doing it right, or better.


This is why most people have so many wants, desires, and "good ideas" bouncing around in their heads--they never got them past the hurt (and its close friend, anger). This is why the excuses many people have for not living their dreams are so filled with blame. "I would have done it, except so-and-so let me down," or "so-and-so would have let me down."

If the idea does get through the heart, it gathers the caring energy and moves on. Until it comes upon unworthiness. "You can't have this goal just now. You're not good enough just yet. Come back later."

This is why so many projects we really loved failed. Unworthiness is subtle in its sabotage. One of its key weapons is "Later." The concept of "later" makes sense to the mind--it's logical. Not everything can be done all at once. The mind buys this, and returns to the brain to wait. (I'll talk more about later in a little while.)

If the mind does move through unworthiness (often with the anger of the heart saying, "Enough with the laters, already!"), it enters the land of fear and guilt. Here, one logical-sounding reason after another is given for why nothing should ever change in any way. Fear and guilt know how to cite scripture and verse--from books, movies, TV shows, newspapers, or one's own life--as proof that the proposed idea is unworkable, preposterous, and downright dangerous.

The mind, dazzled by this seemingly factual presentation, goes "home" to think. It tries to discover a less dangerous way. Alas, fear and guilt shoot down every idea the mind formulates with even more logic than the last time. (The fact that some of the new logic contradicts the previous logic is not always noticed.) And so the mind is left alone--pondering.

The essential conditions of everything you do must be choice, love, passion.


All these energies are part of our success mechanism . That this mechanism has been misdirected and incorrectly programmed (for adults, at least) does not in any way affect the usefulness of the structure. (It is, in fact, doing a very good job at what it was programmed to do.) Please remember: the goal is not to "get rid of" any part of this mechanism. The goal is to redirect and reprogram it so that it achieves what we choose--not the choices made for us by parents, teachers, and society when we were too young to make choices of our own.

There's nothing to winning, really. That is, if you happen to be blessed with a keen eye, an agile mind, and no scruples whatsoever.


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