- THE RIGHT USE OF ENERGY -
There is a natural tendency to regard any programme of self-improvement as if it were a journey leading to an ultimate destination. This destination is often thought of as final perfection towards which man is continually growing through a process of evolution. It is seen as union with the divine life from which man has become separated and to which he returns along a path of unfoldment.
But although this concept serves a useful purpose for man at a certain stage of his development it has eventually to be superseded by an even higher one. For it is not that the road leads to a final goal, but rather that the road itself is the goal. We tend to represent the journey in terms of space and time as if life came to a stop when we reached a certain point. But really life itself is infinite it is not static but a dynamic continuum. So that although one needs at a certain stage to think of a goal as an incentive to growth, the end is really endlessness itself.
The idea of life being endless or eternal is something for which most people are not ready. To let oneself go forward into the eternal flow of life without thought of any end is a stage which needs courage and is also a great challenge. This principle helps us greatly where yoga is concerned because yoga too is its own reward. It does not need an end or goal in terms of time. If one's practice makes one more joyful then this is the criterion of progress.
Energy is in Proportion to Motive.
Everything in the universe radiates some form of energy, whether it be mineral, vegetable, animal or human. The amount of its radiation is in proportion to its relationship to the total or universal energy. So where the energy system of man is concerned the amount of energy on which he can draw is in exact proportion to the universality or otherwise of his own consciousness. The more selfish and limited his motives in life, the more he shuts himself off from the wholeness of life ("There are no such chains as hatred," - Buddha's Dharmapada), and the less the life force will flow through him. In short;
Energy received is in proportion to motive.
Many of us will have had the experience of undertaking some activity in a spirit of fear, hatred, doubt or with some other selfish motive; this always leaves one feeling utterly exhausted. By contrast, those who act with a selfless, universal motive of service and of giving will know that such work brings no tiredness in its wake but in fact brings joy and renewed energy. To the extent that our motive is for the good of the whole, to just that extent do we have the right to draw on the whole or universal energy. In reality life has no shortage or limitation. Energy is limitless and life itself is abundance. It is we who put limitation into life by our finite motives.
The measure of a person's greatness or degree of evolution is their capacity for giving.
Nature, it has been said, abhors a vacuum. As we give out energy new life flows in to fill the space. But when we hold back and restrict our creative activity we experience a lack of vital force because we have not allowed the life to flow through us. One may compare this process to that of a water pump which can only receive through its inlet to exactly the same extent that it gives out through its outlet. As we create and receive back we fulfil this law of energy and 'give that we may receive and give again'.
"Who is the happiest person? The one who brings happiness to others."
Every selfish or limiting action diminishes the flow of life through us; every universal or expanding action increases it.
These principles are often referred to as the laws of universal supply and those who understand and live by them know no shortage but flow joyfully and abundantly through life as a bird flies undoubtingly through the air. Such people make life an adventure - an unending exploration of life's infinite possibilities. This also means of course the infinite possibilities within oneself.
This principle of flowing continuously forward with life's becomingness is symbolized in several age old parables. There is for example the story of Lot's wife. in the journey away from the city of evil she was turned into a pillar of salt because she looked back. By looking backward one loses the flow of creativity which is essentially a forward-going force and so crystallization sets in. The same principle is symbolized in the story of Orpheus redeeming his beloved from the underworld. He could only save her if he did not look back but kept moving onwards and forwards. As he lost confidence in the future and therefore lost his faith, he looked back and so failed to redeem his imprisoned love or life force.
The Best Use of Energy.
Just as water flows downhill following the line of least resistance, so energy always flows to its most useful field of activity. When one field of activity has fulfilled its purpose the life force flows forward into another field. In this way evolution follows a law, for the energy is always moving into that field of activity where it can manifest most creatively. The sum total of energy in the universe does not increase or diminish but is continuously being transformed or transmuted from one state to another. Cessation of activity in one field always means a renewal of activity in another field.
This concept of energy flowing to its next most useful task in the evolutionary pattern is embodied in the idea of dharma. Everyone is climbing an evolutionary ladder; therefore in relation to all his circumstances there will be an optimum action for each person at any one time in his life.
The next step on the evolutionary ladder for any one person at any one time is his dharma. This is to say that it is the next action into which his energies can best be channelled in order for them to manifest in the most creative possible way.
Control of Energy Through Yoga.
The foregoing principles involving the right use of energy are all embodied in the practice of yoga. The flow of life is in fact the breathstream in the human system. The channels through which it flows are the nadis. The different levels at which it manifests are the tattwas (attributes of the chakras). When our flow of creativity seems to dry up then we have to look to the nadis and chakras for the remedy. The breath and posture will somewhere have become blocked. Through yoga one may release the blockages and once more become creative and full of energy. Through yoga we identify our human energies with the universal energies. Just as life itself is infinite and eternal, so our consciousness can become limitless in all its possibilities through yoga.
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