Secondary is energy is energy that is derived from another energy, the primary energy.
One of the most common examples of secondary energy that enhances our lives is electricity.
Electricity, the flow of electrons resulting from electric forces, is caused by another primary energy being expended to create the driving force – the voltage. The electricity we use to power our homes and offices primarily comes the burning of natural gas or coal, nuclear fission, and increasingly through the power of the sun or the harnessing of wind.
In the case of wind-powered electricity, the primary energy would be due to temperature differences that cause winds that blow throughout the earth. Thermal currents result as air travels. Electricity is produced by the blowing wind rotating the turbine blades that in turn creates an electric force in the generator. The primary energy of the wind is transformed into the secondary energy of electricity.
Electricity can be easily observed and experienced as a secondary energy, while we may not be aware of the primary energy that is the true source of its power. For example we can merely flick a switch and then have light whenever we want. The electricity surges at our command, utilizing its energy to fulfill our wishes, providing light and/or power. Too often though we lose sight of the primary energy that is at the heart of all life itself.
The tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao[i].
The name that can be named is not the eternal Name.
The Tao Te Ching is wonderful book that contains timeless wisdom and its opening lines speak of the difficulty we have with conceptualizing the true source of all there is. In many ways we tend to focus on the secondary energies that are more readily apparent that the ultimate primary energy – God or the Tao.
Since the Tao could only create itself it was said that it fell in on itself creating the first force of Yin. As a result of the creation of Yin and the falling inward, a resulting opposite force, one that pushes out, was created which is known as Yang. Isaac Newton later postulated his 3rd law[ii] which states for every action there is an equal an opposite reaction. The phenomenon Newton codified of action and opposite reaction played out as Yin fell in and Yang pushed out. This back and forth of poles (Yin and Yang) gave rise to a third force Chi – which is the life force that we are most aware.
Chi, Prana and the Holy Spirit are all names for the animating force that energizes living things. But just like the Tao Te Ching stated several thousand years ago, that the name that can be named is not the eternal name.
While we have many names for the observable, derived energies, there is one, ultimate energy, an ultimate power, from which we all come from.
[i] Mitchell, Stephen (2009-10-13). Tao Te Ching (Perennial Classics) (p. 3). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.