This is such a massive subject so I have chosen to summarise the key areas that are important to helping you succeed in your life and business. It is important to understand what our spiritual energy is.
Below, Hareesh (Christopher Wallis) beautifully talks about the 7 ways to stop leaking emotional energy:
1. Exhaustion due to overdoing/multi-tasking: Having a plate that is too full, leaving little time for the relaxation, play, and social bonding. These are not only necessary for health, they create a body-mind container that can hold positive energy. By contrast, an exhausted body-mind is riddled with ‘holes’ out of which that energy drains away. Your conditioned mind might be convinced that you can’t afford to do less; but really, you can’t afford not to.
“Wake up out of the dream of over-doing. Take responsibility for your runaway life. Closely examine the cultural trance of over-doing, expose it and tune into your own energies instead. Follow a simpler and more natural way of living, [which is actually] a more productive way of living.”
It has now been proven that multitasking decreases your effectiveness at all tasks (see the work of John Medina.
Most importantly, according to the yoga tradition, to be healthy and sane one needs to have:
- at least four hours off a day:
- at least one full day off a week,
- at least one full weekend off a month, and
- at least three full weeks off a year.
Being ‘off’ doesn’t just mean not being in the office -It means not checking emails, not thinking about to-do lists, not accomplishing anything. Just being!
2. Dis-ease of the physical body: The second energy leak is of course intimately related to the first. When we’re overdoing, we develop dis-ease (or full blown disease) quite easily. When dis-ease has set in, it draws our attention and leaks our vitality or life-force
3. Excess emotional reactivity: is when you speak in anger and say things you later want to retract. The opposite of emotional reactivity is when you sit with your feelings, neither owning nor disowning them, just being with them as a form of pure energy. Just being present. To be in that presence is the goal of the path. Then strong emotions can arise without the emotional reactivity that harms you and others.
4. Losing contact with natural presence through thought/fantasy/reverie: Those who habitually dwell in the mind-world can hardly imagine how much joy and aliveness is unavailable to them. Unfortunately, that’s most of the planet. Being lost in the mind is a primary way we separate ourselves from simply abiding in our natural state. Here we’re talking about:
- imagining possible future scenarios in which you might be happier (fantasy)
- imagining possible future scenarios in which you might suffer (anxiety)
- remembering past ‘good times’ through rose-colored glasses and wishing things could be like that again (reverie)
- remembering past ‘mistakes’ and thinking about what you ‘could have’ or ‘should have’ done (regret/guilt).
Humans are very bad at predicting how they’ll feel in any given future situation, even when they’re convinced otherwise (as Dan Gilbert has proven), and they are also terrible at remembering the past with any accuracy (what you think are accurate memories are largely expressions of your individual psychology, much like dreams woven from elements of past experiences). A fifth version of getting lost in vikalpas is simply focusing intently on information of any kind to buffer your existential angst or distract yourself from what you and others are feeling. Someone doing a crossword puzzle or playing a challenging video game or reading all the news of the day might claim that they are more in the present moment, but they are just as much ‘in their head’ — and therefore divorced from flowing presence — as someone lost in thoughts of possible futures or remembered pasts. Inhabiting mental worlds and imagined realities is a significant energy leak for a yogī, and one that is everywhere in our society.
5. Strongly held beliefs or opinions: This is closely related to #4. It can be hard to believe this is an energy leak until you experience for yourself the influx of life-force that comes from finally, deeply admitting the truth that you really don’t know anything for sure. That just about all your strongly held beliefs and opinions are either wishful thinking or fearful thinking. That the world is far, far too complex, and the variables far too numerous, for our little brains to justifiably hold a fixed opinion about anything (apart from your own inner experience, perhaps). Note that having beliefs/opinions is not an energy leak; it’s gripping to tightly to those opinions, unyielding and hard in your attitude rather than soft and open, and being so convinced you’re right and you know how things really are (as opposed to the other guy) that is the energy leak. There’s a lot more to reality than what any one of us can see; acknowledging that helps you be softer, more open, and therefore better at connecting with others.
6. Unclear relationships / unclear boundaries: When you’re just getting to know someone, it’s normal for the nature of the relationship to be undefined. However, hanging out too long in limbo where you’re not exactly sure what the other person wants, needs, or feels, but you’re hoping they’ll come round to your way of seeing the relationship, is a powerful energy drain. Conversely, being clear about where you’re at but keeping the other person in limbo by not committing to a specific form of relationship with clear agreements or boundaries is also an energy leak (because using other people depletes your energy
Obviously, the solution is communication, but few of us know how to communicate our feelings and needs without casting them in the form of a narrative about what the other person is doing wrong (or what you’re doing wrong, for that matter). Which doesn’t help. Ongoing clarifying dialogue (which doesn’t descend into nitpicking, pseudo-psychoanalysis, or finger-pointing) about what you want and what you’re okay with, and what your loved one wants and is okay with, is crucial to create the firm foundation for relationships that aren’t energy leaks.
Except sometimes the solution isn’t communication; sometimes you hang on to a relationship that is past it’s ‘expiration date’ out of fear or attachment. This is a huge energy leak. The solution is to let go and walk away.
7. Unconscious speech / excessive speech / gossip: Another very common energy leak in our society, this one is difficult to shift because of huge social pressure to conform to how others around us use language. Yet excessive speech is such an energy drain that in Āyurveda it is said to lead to various forms of disease (mainly through exacerbation of vāta dosha). Have you ever noticed that masters of yoga and meditation speak less, and speak carefully? Swāmī Muktānanda once said, “The power of your words increases in direct proportion to the silence that you keep.”
Ideally, before opening a topic of conversation we ask ourselves four questions, the so-called Four Gates of Speech:
- is it true, this thing I want to say?
- is it necessary or helpful to speak it?
- have I found a loving way to say it?
- It helps to remember the four key terms: true, necessary, kind, right time).
Tapping into your own source energy is one of the most powerful experiences you can have. It can act as a transformative reminder that we all stem from this same source, and are all connected to each other.
Taking this understanding and embodying it in everyday life can be challenging sometimes, but with practice it allows you to exist in a beautiful state of compassion and love for all things. Seeing those who challenge us as mere lessons and reflections of ourselves, all put in our lives to help us grow into our true selves: creators of love and light.