After a busy day at work, we come home and rest on the couch for a while, sometimes watching TV or reading the paper. We come to the dinner table for a bite to eat, then go back to the sofa or easy chair, saying that we're "out of energy." Then the phone rings. It's a friend inviting us to do something we love-bowling, dancing, golf, or to go somewhere we enjoy. Suddenly we feel rejuvenated! Where before there was "no energy," now energy floods through our body and we are excited to be active.
What is energy? Where does it come from? How does it diminish or grow? Are there ways to increase our energy? And as we get older, instead of feeling that all of our energy is draining out of us, is there a vitamin we can take or a diet we can eat-or is there something else we can do-to help our energy levels?
If you have asked those questions, you have joined thousands of others who understand what energy is when they are experiencing it or they don't have it, but who don't know where energy comes from or how to get it.
Energy surrounds us! We know energy by what it does, but we haven't really come to understand what it is at all. The dictionary defines energy as "1. vigor in the exertion of power; strength in action; forcefulness of expression. 2. action; activity; operation. 3. (Physics) capacity to do work. Those definitions seem rather vague, which is precisely how energy appears to us. We recognize energy most effectively by its results.
Benjamin Franklin tested the energy of electricity in his famous key and kite string experiment. Carl Van Doren quotes Joseph Priestley, a contemporary of Franklin, who much have related the story in great detail and read it as it is described below:
"As every circumstance relating to so capital a discovery (the greatest, perhaps, since the time of Sir Isaac Newton) cannot but give pleasure to all my readers, I shall endeavour to gratify them with the communication of a few particulars which I have from the best authority.
"The Doctor, having published his method of verifying his hypothesis concerning the sameness of electricity with the matter of lightning, was waiting for the erection of a spire [on Christ Church] in Philadelphia to carry his views into execution; not imagining that a pointed rod of a moderate height could answer the purpose; when it occurred to him that by means of a common kite he could have better access to the regions of thunder than by any spire whatever. Preparing, therefore, a large silk handkerchief and two cross-sticks of a proper length on which to extend it, he took the opportunity of the first approaching thunderstorm to take a walk in the fields, in which there was a shed convenient for his purpose. But, dreading the ridicule which too commonly attends unsuccessful attempts in science, he communicated his intended experiment to nobody but his son" - then twenty-one, not a child as in the traditional illustrations of the scene - "who assisted him in raising the kite.
"The kite being raised, a considerable time elapsed before there was any appearance of its being electrified. One very promising cloud had passed over it without any effect; when, at length, just as he was beginning to despair of his contrivance, he observed some loose threads of the hempen string to stand erect, and to avoid one another, just as if they had been suspended on a common conductor. Struck with this promising appearance, he immediately presented his knuckle to the key, and (let the reader judge of the exquisite pleasure he must have felt at that moment) the discovery was complete. He perceived a very evident electric spark. Others succeeded, even before the string was wet, so as to put the matter past all dispute, and when the rain had wet the string he collected electric fire very copiously. This happened in June 1752, a month after the electricians in France had verified the same theory, but before he heard of anything they had done."
Although Franklin recognized the truly awesome power contained within the spectacular thunderstorms, electrical power remains much the same today as it was in the 1700's-invisible, mysterious, and capable of providing great benefits or great danger, depending upon how it is used.
Thus we know electricity exists, whatever it is. But in addition to electrical currents, there are other kinds of energy. There are air currents, ocean or water currents, heat, cold, light. All around us, constantly throughout the day, we utilize the benefits of equipment that operates based upon energy. Cell phones, radios, televisions, microwave ovens, computers, fax machines, cameras and camcorders, washers and dryers and dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, remote controls, satellites-the list is probably endless. Interestingly, the wavelengths or frequencies of many of these items permeate the air around us. It is difficult to find a place on Planet Earth where there are no signals present; where frequencies do not go. And the wavelengths do not just go around us. They go through us. So no matter where we are, we are constantly bombarded with energy.
Energy exists at different frequencies in every thing, animate or inanimate. Each thing that surrounds you or is measurable is identifiable by its energy frequency. Additionally, every thing that you "see" as being solid is not really solid. It is a mass of atoms, combined at various densities to form objects. Living tissue operates with higher frequencies than, for example, rocks. But every one and every thing give off energy.
The bombardment of vibrations that affect our bodies in the lower frequency ranges include heat, light, smell, laser beams, and movement. Higher frequencies are generated by radios, TVs, cell phones, microwaves, infrared, visible light, ultraviolet light, x-rays, and gamma rays. Even schools of fish and flocks of birds move in synchrony because of vibrational signals called "wave resonance."
The popular song from the 70's by the Beach Boys talks about "picking up her vibrations." Most of us have met someone with whom we just feel a connection. The recognition can appear almost instantly. We often call these people "kindred spirits" or "soul mates," and we may feel we have known them before. Perhaps it is because, like a tuning fork, we are operating on similar wavelengths.