Managing and increasing your energy.
Everything that we do involves energy, personal power. The more energy we have, the more we can accomplish, whether it's things that you wish to accomplish physically - career-related, athletic things - or whether your goal is to enlighten your mind, to raise your awareness, to become conscious of God, of eternity, of everythingness and nothingness.
Life is wonder. Endless, ceaseless wonder. When you're in a high state of attention, you see that. Now naturally, if your energy level is low, then everything is gray, two-dimensional, boring, frustrating, unhappy.
Happy people, enlightened people, successful people, inspired people - they all share something in common. They've learned how to manage and increase their energy. Angry people, frustrated people, hateful people, unhappy people, dissatisfied people, people that are mean, that seek to injure others - these people all have something in common, the ineffective use of energy. They waste energy, they don't conserve it and they don't know how to increase it. Sometimes they steal it, but what they steal, they use up quickly. They waste it.
Emotional control is essential for attaining higher levels of mind. It's absolutely necessary to love, of course, but to be able to control yourself.
The study of Zen is the study of energy, power, knowledge and balance. It's the science of energy conservation and control. In Zen, one uses energy, of course. We use energy to aid others, to see beauty, to discover love where we saw no love at all.
The universe is made up of vibrating, pulsing light. But when our attention level drops, when our energy is low, we don't see that. Instead we see what appears to be a solid material world. Everything is stuck together. People are stuck together. They can't change. Ideas are stuck together. They're irrevocable. We live in structures, houses. We think that the end of the universe is as far as the telescope can see. All this has very little to do with reality. It's a type of reality.
A patient is dying. They're in bed in the hospital. Their sight is fading and they look around them, and they just see grayness. You walk in the room and you're feeling great, and you don't see grayness. The sunlight is streaming in through the window. The flowers are beautiful that are in the vase, the lilies and roses. Awareness is governed by energy.
The primary place where most people lose energy is in their inter-relationships with others. That means that you lose your energy in your interactions with the people you know best. You can also gain energy, if you interact with people in a way that's beneficial. But in most cases, energy is lost in little games of manipulation, in little struggles of will, in the attempts to possess others, to wrap them up, to delude them, to shine them on.
It takes a lot of energy to manipulate someone and keep them on a string - or if you have a lot of energy and people seek it, they try and get to you, get into your life. They try and keep you off balance, keep you from making good decisions that will empower you, keep you from meditating well, keep you from being athletic and building your body up, being successful in your career. Because if you are successful and you meditate deeply and you have a healthy body, then your attention field will become very sharp and you'll look around and see if anyone is in your life for ill reasons.
Oh, let's face it, nobody's perfect, right? We live in a world where everybody wants something. But there's a tremendous difference between a person who uses you and a person who abuses you. A person who uses you is somebody who wants something from you. They may love you, but ultimately they want something from you, whether it's something physical, something sexual or just the fulfillment of their own love by having someone to experience it with. And you use people also, for the same reasons. So reciprocity, a symbiotic relationship, is a relationship in which two people have worked out certain terms: "I'm using you in certain ways; you're using me in certain ways." That's a balanced association. One is aiding the other or allowing usage, if you will.