People are increasingly complaining of ‘stress’; of getting “burned out”; of being drained of energy.
We all have a sense of energy and whether our vitality is up or down. Human energy gets channeled into work, sport, socialising, exercise and study. It gets used physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. For example, we could expend energy physically at the gym; emotionally, when encouraging someone in need; intellectually, when explaining some concept we’ve read or studied; and spiritually when wrestling with our demons. In certain situations, energy may flow on many or all levels at once - as in making love.
Wherever energy does not do effective work, it is wasted. Wherever it flows in the wrong channels, that is, in the wrong activities and/or the wrong networks, it is wasted. Wherever it is expended without awareness it is wasted.
Living more fully entails getting better at conserving and directing energy...Mindfulness is mastering the economy of human energy.
Let us ask : where will our thoughts be wasted, dwelling on matters that feed our despair? Where will our words be wasted, fanning flames of antagonism that can derail the beginnings of understanding? Where will our actions be wasted, apt to be misperceived and twisted into shapes undeserving of our intention? Let us then gather this energy and divert it toward an appropriate purpose, form and audience.
School children learn in physics that there is a close relationship between energy and work. So too, in living, proper energy economy shows us our true work. It may not be obvious what our “true” work is; the work that makes a real, permanent contribution in the greater scheme of things. It is possible to dismiss or devalue it. What brings money and status can even obscure one’s true work.
What pays the bills may not necessarily be one’s true work. Career path does not necessarily map onto destiny. The output of product or service from our workplaces may not be our true creations.
Remember the four stages of the creative process : Will, Purpose, Plan and Implementation. Work is the product or output of the creative process. It also involves the application of knowledge. If knowledge is “the marriage of wisdom and understanding applied as opinion and skill”, then it follows that it is a waste of energy to manufacture opinion or exercise skill without a foundation of wisdom and understanding. Conversely, if pure knowledge is not applied, true creations cannot emerge, leaving us and the world impoverished and thirsty for energy.
As in the material economy, so in the spiritual economy, there are conventional and alternative sources of energy.
“Stealing” from others in a zero-sum-game is the competitive way humans generally secure energy. Alternatively, there is a cooperative way that taps a higher source. We start harvesting this alternative, renewable energy the moment we realise ‘my best interests perfectly align with your best interests.’
The energy grid is common purpose, but the ultimate source is Will.
What makes free will truly free is its being one with the impulse that renews culture. We live in a global culture that consists of myriad forms - artistic, technological, legal, institutional. They range from bobby pins and bus timetables to the latest fashions and gadgets to the executive decisions of the UN Security Council. The impulse to renew these cultural forms we have called Will.
Will ( with a capital ‘W’) is what truly free will looks like. And it liberates by transmutation of energy. This is when energy is withdrawn or released from one form to take up residency in another, fashioned on a new blueprint. Sounds like chemistry? Try spiritual evolution. When our wills are freed, the energy in forms can be freed.
Wisdom is what knows Will as “mine”. Understanding is what knows the new blueprints as “ours”. These blueprints make the jigsaw of a great Plan. That Plan is what guides evolution on the planet. Not Darwinian, but spiritual evolution.