Using an ancient philosophy of energy to help you create better characters
This is the seventh and final part of a series of posts that exist across multiple blogs. You can find links to the other posts in the series here.
We’ve discussed the four lower Energies and the two higher Energy in those previous posts. Now we come to the highest level Energy—Consciousness, or a state of being in which the inner journey is close to final destination. Those who experience Consciousness Energy recognize and accept that they have a higher purpose, that their lives belong to all beings. They understand the absolutely essential practice of compassion, kindness, and non-harming.
You might think of Consciousness Energy as a personal experience of enlightenment or at least a glimpse of greater truth, such as the instant of true understanding some people gain during a near-death experience. At the very least, it might be what my friend Justine calls a moment of clarity—an instant in which the mind understands that perfect happiness is simple. Unfortunately those moments disappear as quickly as they appear, and most of us are right back where we started.
A healthy Consciousness Energy is built on balanced Earth, Water, Fire, and Air. With Earth providing a stable and secure base, Water providing positive self-image and flow, Fire providing determination and vision, Air providing movement, Ether providing the ability to express truth, and Light affording us the ability to see clearly, Consciousness Energy can help us see more clearly what matters and where our path lies.
Consciousness Energy speaks to sorcerers, shamans, and spiritual masters. These are the best of humans—provided they continue to follow the illuminated path. This also makes them a bit dull as literary characters, but they serve well as helpers and guides for your protagonists.
Classic Consciousness Energy Characters
- Yoda, of course
- Spiritual masters of any faith or philosophy
Consciousness Energy is evident in the connection between mind, body, and spirit. It contains a wisdom beyond intelligence, and an understanding far beyond compassion. It is the beginning of all things. Some of the symptoms of imbalance in Consciousness Energy might be cynicism, close-mindedness, rigid beliefs about spirituality, excessive attachment to a belief system, or a detachment from the physical world while attempting to live in the mind.
Classic Consciousness Energy Imbalanced Characters
- Lucifer, a being so close to Godhood and yet lacking the final acceptance of humility
- Spiritual masters who have gained enlightenment, but remain unable to let go of the mundane world and its desires
Questions to ask about your character:
When you discover (or determine) that Consciousness Energy imbalance is present in your character, take some time to mull over the implications.
How does Consciousness energy imbalance affect your character’s behavior and outlook?
- How and when did she see with her inner vision? What truth became clear to her?
- What changes in her behavior and outlook came about as a result of her vision?
- How quickly does her vision fade? Does she try to hold on to it? Or is she more comfortable slipping back to her familiar view of life?
- Does she tell anyone about her new understanding?
- Does she share her knowledge freely and with a generous heart? Or does she force it on others and insist it’s the one true view?
- Does she seek financial or social gain in exchange for her knowledge?
- What caused the imbalance in the first place? Was it lifestyle, stress or trauma, a loss of connection to the authentic self? Was it caused by some outside force?
- What other symptoms might be present? Start with the brief list at the beginning of this post and extrapolate.
How to strengthen the Consciousness Energy association in your writing
You can reinforce the effect of Consciousness Energy by using subtle indicators of this imbalance. For example, you might
- Use words and phrases throughout your narrative that call to mind the Consciousness Energy qualities: clear, vision, silent, nectar, saintly, gentle, understanding
- Use the color violet, perhaps in clothing, furnishings, cars, or eye color. What does this color mean to your character?
- Bring in other elements associated with this energy. Is your character a spiritual seeker? A spiritual leader? Does she embrace the role for the good she can do or for the adulation it brings? Is she a teacher only, or still a student of life?
Practice & Prompt
1. Choose any character from your work in progress. Make a list of physical, mental, and emotional traits characteristics that you’ve already assigned to that character. For example, let’s say you’ve written: holds strongly to her faith, has intuitive flashes about other people, sincerely desires unity with a higher power, ignores basic bodily needs, lacks interest in social relationships.
2. Where did her imbalance originate? When and why did the imbalance fluctuate and grow stronger or weaker? What scenes relay this information to the reader?
3. Within the context of her story, how might the imbalance be mitigated?
4. What element of your theme is manifested in Consciousness Energy? How can you use the character’s imbalance to strengthen the theme and vice versa?
One or more of your characters will almost certainly be dealing with Consciousness Energy imbalance. Now that you’ve experimented with ways to use that imbalance to flesh out a character, you’ll want to move on to other characters and their imbalances. Part of the fun of this character building system is watching how the energies dance with and poke at each other.
You can find links to all the posts in this series at Part 1-Earth Energy HERE.
Deborah-Zenha Adams is an award-winning author of novels, short fiction, CNF, and poetry. You’re invited to learn more about her at www.Deborah-Adams.com http://www.Deborah-Adams.com
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