returning potential energy

Hopefully, in some science class somewhere during our formative years we learn about potential and kinetic energy. It seems like some smoke and mirrors when they teach it to you. At least it did to me. What do they mean this thing that isn't moving or doing anything at all is full of 'potential energy.' I remember thinking thoughts like, "Well, until we get the energy out, how do you know it's really in there?" Potential energy seemed a lot more like 'fake' energy, or 'pretend' energy. [It's funny revisiting the thoughts of childhood.]

Anyways, nowadays we understand much more this idea of potential energy. It's the same as the 'purchasing power' of the dollar, etc, etc. Grown-ups deal almost entirely with potentials. Once the energy starts to be actualized, it's usually too late to channel it and do something with it. A major goal of adult life seems to be to become aware of potential energy early enough in the process in order to direct and control it's transformation to kinetic or actualized energy. That's what investing is. That's what strategy is. That's what long-term and even short-term and basically any kind of 'planning' is. Even martial-arts are absorbed with preparing yourself to be able to channel the energy at the last second so that it won't get the jump on you.

This is all summed up in the teaching איזהו חכם הרואה את הנולד - Who is wise? He who sees that which will be born.

Now, when we get into Kabbalah and Hassidut, something entirely different becomes immediately apparent. Suddenly they acknowledge two vital states in our progress. Ratz, w'Shav. (רץ ושב) Running and Returning. We run run run, actualizing all the energy we have, achieving as much as is within our reach, and then we return, we sit. When we sit we reflect on the running, reflect on our achievements, reflect on our place our purpose, reflect on our potential energy.

By breaking our work down into the two states of Running and Returning, it gives us a lot of insight into how the world really works. Everything works through Running and Returning, just not everyone is aware of it. Without the sitting, the Returning, we can't achieve very much Running and vice versa.

An interesting physical example of this is the Hurricane. Scientists are only just discovering that what goes on in the eye of a Hurricane, the calmer more peaceful area, is actually what really fuels the fury of a Hurricane.

Of course. This is something we know. The Running is enhanced by the Returning.

Still, it's nice to see examples of the Torah's deepest lessons underlying all of the framework of creation.


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