Feeling energised? Possibly not; chronic fatigue is an increasing epidemic, and a general feeling of ‘bleugh’ is something many of us feel often….
Translated as celibacy – Brahmacharya is often now understood more as ‘right use of energy’. Although the correct meaning of the word is indeed ‘celebacy’, this is due to the fact that ancient Yogis who followed a more dualistic point of view and the teachings of Patanjali’s Yiga Sutras considered their sexual energy the most potent form of energy there is, and therefore didn’t want to waste it. This makes sense when we consider that this energy is the energy that has the potential to create a whole new life – so wasting is indeed something that doesn’t exactly help on the path to optimal wellbeing and enlightenment for ourselves and the world around us. (Click here for an in-depth piece I wrote for Ekhart Yoga on Brahmacharya).
If we really take a look at ‘right use of energy’, this allows us to reflect and ask ourselves: How Am I Using My Energy?
Everything is made up of energy; thoughts, words, actions, and everything we can see, feel, hear, touch, smell and taste. It’s all different matters of energy.
Possibly one of the the most potent forms of energy we have to begin with are our thoughts;
“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven..”
― John Milton, Paradise Lost
Physically, the amount of effort it takes to think takes up around 20% of a resting body’s 1300 calories a day, this is pretty impressive when we consider that this is a totally resting body, but an active mind.
Of course, this could be used for positive reasons – such as using the mind to create positive thoughts, new projects, ideas and using it to learn new and fascinating things each day. The reality is however, many of us use that energy in a not-so-positive way; by worrying (anxiety often contributes to unexplainable weightloss and degeneration of muscles), thinking about things we’re annoyed or frustrated about, complaining about others in our own minds, or generally thinking about things that have absolutely nothing to do with the action we’re partaking in at the moment (sound familiar?)….
An old Cherokee told his grandson: “My son, there is a battle between two wolves inside us all. One is evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, and resentment, inferiority, lies and ego. The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy, and truth.”
The boy thought about it, and asked, “Grandfather, which wolf wins?”
The old man quietly replied, “The one you feed.”
If we continue to feed the ‘good wolf’ within us, then qualities like peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy and truth will grow, so this week, as part of your practice off the mat, consider how your energy is being used. How can we all use our thoughts, words and actions in a more worthwhile way?
Sustainable body, mind and planet
Sustainability starts with ourselves, but there are simple little ways we can all contribute towards the sustainability of the planet: