Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm – Abraham Lincoln
Go-getters are those who convert every opportunity into reality. They awake every morning enthused about what lies ahead. At work and play, they exude a certain joie de vivre. They are, quite simply, energised and ready to take off, like a flower that blooms and radiates energy – life itself. Yet unlike them, there are also those who procrastinate, who feel down and out, purposeless, and drained of energy. For them, experiencing the joy of being alive is, at best, a remote possibility.
Boost your energy cycles
Just pause a bit and reflect on the energy cycle in our body and mind. The flow of energy in our body is, on a more superficial level, a function of what we eat. The food we eat is digested and converted into millions of cells forming tissues in our many organs. Every moment, billions of cells are formed and an equal number die. This cycle of life plays out within us, irrespective of our level of awareness.
However, when we are aware of this gross energy cycle, it contributes to our energy levels. A mind that is responsive to the needs of the body it commands is more likely to prefer food substances – such as fruit and vegetables – that aid digestion and, thus, keep the body light and energised.
Energy is not only a function of the food we eat. If it were, a healthy meal eaten at the fag end of a long, tiring day would restore our energy levels, in both body and mind. But, it doesn’t. Modern living as we have all experience dissipates a lot of energy – the combined effect of stress, having too much on our mind and juggling too many demands takes their toll, and leave us exhausted by nightfall. Cups of coffee ingested during the day keep us ticking for that much longer, but when our mind and body are worn out, even the right food does not suffice to restore our vitality.
Are you “on” or “off”?
It is, undoubtedly, hard to feel bubbly when you’re forced to live in an “on-mode” for most part of the day and night. Even so, why is it that some of us are more able to keep up a steady flow of energy while the rest of us barely cope, and largely rely on sudden bursts of this driving force?
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could convert fits and starts of energy to a more regular, dependable flow? For this, we’d have to expand our knowledge of the subject – after all, we know where energy is spent, but where does it come from?
Enthusiasm and energy are closely related. But, is energy derived from enthusiasm, or does energy fuel enthusiasm?
The word enthusiasm is derived from the Greek word, enthousiasmos, which may interestingly be broken down to en + theos + mos which means “being possessed by God!” For those who are uncomfortable with God-speak, its secular version could be interpreted as “being possessed by a well-meaning cause.” Indeed, those who dedicate their lives to a cause feel at one with a purpose in their minds. They experience their lives as being very meaningful.
It all happens in the mind
People who are possessed by Truth, give their all to what is true for them. It would be appropriate to quote Sri Aurobindo in Savitri. Aurobindo speaks of those whose lives are led by Truth, in that, “A divine force shall flow through tissue and cell, and take the charge of breath and speech and act.” To paraphrase his words further, “A lustrous inner dawn shall [then] come, lighting the chambers of the slumbering mind,” and finally, Nature is filled with a mightier presence.
The crux is that enthusiasm is experienced in the mind. To be possessed by God, or a cause, is also a resolution that is made and adhered to, in the mind. Thus, our primary source of energy is our mind. Enthusiasm born in the mind, manifests as energy that drives us further – towards thought, speech, and action. This explains why some people have energy but, for no reason, feel wasted. Consequently, the feeling of being purposeless that they carry in their mind causes their energy levels to dwindle.
Energy is, thus, traced to the mind – a part of our conscious self or soul, the “I” which is, after all, our true identity. As long as we are alive, that is as long as the “I” within continues to power the body by its mere presence, energy flows through our body and enables it to continue its life processes at the cellular level.
Power your mind
When we reason and increase our mind power, we simultaneously enhance our energy levels. The mind can gain power either by switching off, such as during good sleep, or by reconnecting with a source of energy.
We all rely on sleep to work wonders, and it does, to a certain extent. If you’re fortunate to regularly get sufficient hours of good sleep, you have probably never felt fatigue pile up. Sleep detaches the mind from the functions it performs. In turn, it restores our capacity to function. On the physical level, it also energises the body, as numerous bio-chemicals are released while we sleep.
But, what about those who claim to sleep well, yet persistently wake up feeling drained? The mind as described works best in transferring energy to the body when it is enthused, that is, when it is possessed. However, mental strength or the will power to adhere to a cause requires energy too!
Never feel tired again!
In addition to sleep, the mind gains energy through meditation. Just as a battery is connected to a source of energy, the mind gains when it relates to a fount of energy. This source may be interpreted as God, or as an inspiring, fathomless expanse such as the ocean.
Train to detach your mind during the day:
- Visualise your mind in the form of a bird, flying high over an ocean towards the sunset. Then, allow it to swoop down and fly near the surface of the ocean before rising again. Meditation detaches the mind from having to generate thoughts, and command speech and action. The mind is then free to roam. While it isn’t so easy for a beginner to switch-off the thinking process completely, holding one “liberating” thought for as long as possible will help
- When you face a multitude of problems at work, or home, step aside for a few minutes and imagine looking towards the horizon. You will experience continuity, as though every problem in the world is solvable. Then, visualise yourself as a star, twinkling above, and gazing down at the mess, waiting for your expert touch! It will not seem so big after all.
Practice makes perfect. With time, you’ll find yourself radiating energy and enthusiasm that are so distinctive you’ll be “plagued” by others wanting to know your secret!