Instead of getting your energy from food, work or other people, spiritual author Deepak Chopra suggests finding infinite energy from the spirit that lives within you.
Where do you get your energy? Until you know the answer, your sources of energy will be limited. Food can only supply so many calories, and quite often, if those calories come from fat or sugar, there is actually a falling off or dulling of energy. If your energy comes from being with people, you won't be energized when you are alone. If your energy comes from working, it will last much longer and be more renewable but eventually bring fatigue.
What I'm suggesting is that everyone needs a supply of energy that is renewable, vibrant, unstressful and uplifting.
Such an energy supply is within you. It's your spiritual energy, and it comes from everywhere. The universe is grounded in infinite energy—I don't think anyone would argue that—and throughout the world's wisdom traditions, sages and teachers echo the same truth: You are the universe. The mystic Persian poet Rumi puts it beautifully when he reminds us that we aren't a drop in the ocean; we are the ocean in a drop.
So many people are focused on personal energy that they neglect to explore spiritual energy. Food, work, loving relationships and personal creativity all have their source in spiritual energy. Your whole body runs on it. I know that's hard to grasp at first, since two things stand in our way. The first is our current belief system, which holds that energy, like crude oil and natural gas, must be physical. Yet we all know that there's an enormous difference between being joyful and inspired, and being depressed and hopeless. If you can tap into the source of joy and inspiration, the existence of spiritual energy will never be doubted again.
The second obstacle is that we tend to block the flow of spiritual energy, mostly through things we never consider. To deny yourself spirit, to lose hope, and fail to trust and believe in yourself—all these are subtle, but powerful blocks. You cut off your spiritual source whenever you say "no" or when you obey the impulse of fear and anger. You cut yourself off from life energy when you get depressed or treat yourself as a victim.
In its natural state, life flows without obstacles. It evolves and grows. It brings new insights and creativity with every breath. We can say this for certain because your cells depend on vibrant, creative energy every second as they meet new challenges and respond to the 1,001 activities going on at any given moment. If you can change your belief system to be more in accord with your body, the physical side of life would begin to channel energy, in a nourishing way, to your mind and spirit.
Look at the areas where resistance is present and begin to release it. Today I will focus on the primary step, which is to get past "no." The power of "no" blocks the flow of energy more than anything else.
Some concrete examples will help here.
The Power of "No"
Tells you that people don't change.
Keeps you trapped in rigid habits.
Clutters the mind in obsessive thoughts.
Makes you believe you are wrong.
Creates cravings that cannot be appeased.
Uses fear as a threat if you try to break free.
Forbids you to have certain thoughts.
Makes natural urges seem illicit or dangerous.
Imagine how quickly your body would cease to operate if your cells gave in to the power of "no," yet we do it mentally all the time. We block our spiritual energy, which upholds life itself. How, then, can you change "no" to "yes"? I've covered that topic extensively in my book Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul, but let me offer help with the first two obstacles.
People don't change. This familiar assertion seems reasonable in moments of discouragement and frustration, but if you look more closely, it has the effect of shutting down change in yourself. When you assume that nobody is going to change, you have closed the box and locked them in. At the same time, you get locked in too. It's easy to miss that implication, because in our heart of hearts, we secretly believe that we can change; it's only other people who stop us.
In reality, others feel the same about you, and so a system of mutual discouragement is set up. Anyone who stands up and says, "We need to change" is bucking the status quo. And anyone who breaks away and actually does change is viewed with suspicion, or outright rejected.
From a spiritual perspective, however, none of this is real. It's obvious that people constantly change. We hunger for news; we inflame daily life into crises, large and small. Our moods shift, as does every cell in our bodies. To say that people don't change is an arbitrary perspective, a point of view that seems safe. It's also a form of resignation, giving in to the inevitable. You must stop reinforcing this aspect of "no" if you want to tap into the eternal flow of spiritual energy.
See yourself as changing all the time.
Encourage change in others.
When you hear yourself uttering a fixed opinion, stop.
When someone offers a counter opinion, don't resist.
Argue from the opposite side every once in a while.
Don't stamp out the fragile beginnings of change, either in yourself or others.
Stop being absolute. Let your attitude be more flexible and provisional.
Don't take pride in being right.
When you have an impulse to grow and evolve, follow it without regard for the opinion of others.
Habits keep us trapped. Everyone knows what it means to be caught up in habitual behavior—habits keep married couples fighting the same argument for years. It makes us plop down on the couch rather than working for change. It reinforces bad diets and lack of exercise. In general, habit chooses inertia over energy. Here, the force of "no" is fairly obvious—or is it? If you look at it without negative judgments, a habit is nothing more than a useful shortcut, an automatic pathway imprinted in the brain. A skilled pianist has imprinted the habit of moving his fingers a certain way; he wouldn't want to reinvent his technique every time he sat down at the keyboard. A short-order cook who can turn out six omelets at a time relies on the fact that his brain is imprinted with a set of automatic motions timed precisely.
From a spiritual perspective, you always have the choice to erase the imprint and create a new one. A pianist who takes up the violin isn't hampered by the way his fingers used to move. A short-order cook who goes home to make one omelet instead of six isn't compelled to work at lightning speed. What keeps us trapped is the spell of "no." In the grip of that spell, we find reasons for being stuck in habitual thinking and behavior. We voluntarily renounce the power to change, while at the same time blaming our bad habits as if they have independent willpower. To break out of any habit, you need to break the spell of "no" and reclaim your power to choose.
Don't fight against a bad habit. Look at it objectively, as if another person had the habit.
Ask yourself why you have chosen your habit. Does it feel safe and familiar? Does it protect you from negative emotions? Does it provide a quick fix of pleasure or security?
Examine what benefit you are getting, usually at a hidden level where the inner child wants safety, security and comfort.
Be honest about your choice. Instead of saying, "This is just how I am," admit that you have chosen inertia over change because change frightens or threatens you.
If you feel victimized by a bad habit, ask yourself why you need to be a victim. Is it an easy way out from taking responsibility?
Find a reason to adopt a good habit in place of the bad one.
Make your reason convincing, and keep repeating it to yourself whenever the old shortcut of a bad habit arises. Your aim is to break the spell that says you have no choices. You always have choices.
As you can see, finding the blocks to spiritual energy isn't mystical. The energy is as real as love and joy, creativity and trust. If you have ever experienced those things, you've experienced spiritual energy. Now you can change your focus and bring even more of it into your life, because spiritual energy is the one kind that never runs out.