At the sagging end of 2020, I’ve begun to appreciate energy management more practically: merging the pursuits of mysticism with science, it’s not a philosophy that can exist apart from a practice.
Despite the challenges that arose during an extended COVID-19 quarantine, I have managed to stumble forward in some ways. While confined indoors, I began a daily routine of calisthenics and meditation. More than anything else, meditation has helped nurture a non-intellectual side of my being, creating a space for stillness and silence in my life.
That’s far from saying that I’ve found any mastery in the approach to tending to my daily needs. Any sense of balance has been fleeting. Peace, a daydream. As much as my new practices have helped me, I remain a recovering perfectionist with a self-imploding work ethic.
At the beginning of the year, my glut of free time during the COVID-19 quarantine was a rush. I took pride in inking my ambitions on paper [as pictured below], carefully managing projects according to priorities, workflows, and thematic content. To keep me on task, I diligently tracked my progress along the way.
Trouble is, my initial enthusiasm was short-lived. In hot pursuit of a swarm of goals, I found myself urgently scrambling from one project to another, tirelessly striving for the satisfaction, or at least relief, that comes from reaching the next achievement. However, with little rest, reflection, or joy along the way, I burned out quickly. It turns out that one’s energy is a limited resource as precious as one’s time.
Quite frankly, at this point in the year, it feels like I’ve wandered deep into a forest without a guide. I’ve been hoodwinked by the trap of conditional fulfillment. My tangle of to-do lists now appears less like a ladder to higher ground than an ensnaring net.
Struggling to find a path through this thorny issue, I recently called upon a friend for feedback. With a background in middle management and an appreciation for systems thinking, my friend explained energy management as an approach to guiding the momentum of one’s life. I like how his view focuses on directing what’s already in motion. When in doubt, my friend encourages, do what compels you. Appreciate the mystery.
As someone who deeply appreciates life’s mysteries, the celebrated Indian author, mystic, and guru Sadhguru has his own inspiring view about energy management. In his Columbia University talk, Youth and Truth, he addresses the urgency of harnessing life’s most precious resources, offering insight that is as profound as it is simple:
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