The more energy we have the more that we can accomplish, whether it's things you wish to accomplish physically – career related, athletic things – or whether your goal is to enlighten your mind, raise your awareness, and to become conscious of God, of Eternity, of everythingness and nothingness.
Life is wonder, endless wonder. When you are in a high level of attention you see that. Naturally, if your energy level is low, then everything is gray, two dimensional, boring, frustrating, and unhappy.
Happy people, enlightened people, and successful people, inspired people, 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, and people who are mean and seek to injure others. 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, and they waste it.
The study of Zen is the study of energy, power, knowledge and balance. It's also the science of energy conservation and control. In Zen one uses energy to aid others, to see beauty, to discover love, where we saw no love at all. The Universe is made up of vibrating pulsating light. But when our attention level drops, and 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. 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.
A patient is dying in a bed in the hospital. His sight is fading and he looks around, and just sees grayness. You walk in the room and you are feeling great and you don't see grayness. The sunlight is streaming through the window. The flowers that are in the vase are beautiful. There are little lilies and roses. Awareness is governed by energy.
The primary place where most people lose energy is in their inter-relationships with others. Read carefully: 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 is beneficial. But in most cases energy is lost: in little games of manipulation, in little struggles of will, in the attempt to possess others, to wrap them up, to dilute them, and 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, and get into your life. They try to 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, and 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.
Let's face it, nobody is perfect, right? We live in a world where everybody wants something. But there is a tremendous difference between people who use you, and people who abuse you. People who use you want 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, too, for the same reasons. So, reciprocity, a symbiotic relationship, is a relationship in which certain people have worked out certain things: "I'm using you in certain ways, you are using me in certain ways." That's a balanced association. One is aiding the other, or allowing usage, if you will.
An imbalanced association, though, is when one or both parties or more, if it happens to be a corporation, becomes abusive and takes advantage of them . One tries to block another's Enlightenment or success, causes pain to others or injures them in any possible way, shape, matter or form – physically, with energy, emotionally, or occultly.
It's necessary to do a careful evaluation of your life, and discover whether the people in your life, no matter how much you love them, are using you or abusing you. If they are using you, no problem, you should expect that, and you should use them. Proper energy balance occurs there: beings helping each other. But if there are people who are abusing you, then you have to ask them to stop. If they won't, you must eliminate them from your life. Otherwise they will keep you in a very low energy state.
Naturally, as we all know, it is possible to take energy from someone else. Just as you can steal money from somebody's wallet, you can take power from someone. This is usually done in a close emotional sexual relationship. In sexual contact there is something that happens – something obviously physical, and something subtle and mysterious. The doorways open between people in that deep level of intimacy, intimate contact, and it is very possible for someone to be very abusive at that time with energy. If one party is trusting, it's very easy at that time for the other party to format someone. That is to say to put thoughts in their mind, to jam their consciousness or attention, to lower their energy level, or to just take power from them.
You can take power from somebody because a person is open at many levels. That doesn't necessarily have to happen, but it does quite frequently – human beings, being they way they are: confused, diluted and generally unawakened. You are a person who seeks to increase your energy, which is why I address these remarks to you, not to the general public, who may or may not be interested in increasing their energy.
You have to be very careful about whom you have intimate contact with. You have to monitor the situation constantly; it can change. You can be with someone who is not abusive and it becomes abusive. Then you have to confront them; talk to them. Human beings need things explained to them sometimes. Then if they don't change, and they probably won't, it is time for you to change. Most energy is lost in these types of situations, or just within family structures. The only people who can drain your power effectively are people who you are very close to, you are open to, you love, or people you are afraid of.
When you are afraid of people they can gain power over you, meaning that they can lower your energy level. If others have something you want, they can wrap you. This is what we call manipulation. They can make you think that they have something that you have to get from them. They are the exclusive source. They are the only one who can make you happy, and of course, you can never get it yourself.
People come to a teacher to learn Zen, or other types of self-discovery, and in a way to become happy. But some teachers just want to keep you on a string forever. They don't actually teach you how to become independent and strong, but they set themselves up as a god, the god-guru concept. You worship them, and you bring them offerings all the time; they tell you what to do constantly. They don't give you challenges to develop your mind; they don't throw you back on yourself. Everybody wants a teacher like that, someone who will tell you everything, tell you what to do, how to live, and how to breathe, etc. But a teacher like that is very abusive. Those people are actually taking their students energy.
A good teacher challenges your mind, your intellect, and your spirit. They throw you back on your self all the time. They make you do things, work for things, and they teach you what they have learned, because the only way to do it, is to get out and do it. It takes many years to become proficient in energy conservation, just as it takes many years to get a Ph.D. but it is something that happens. You make progress, you get continually stronger. You see your attention becomes far different than it was before, if you apply the things that you have been taught. But a lot of people who are involved in self-discovery lose energy to abusive teachers, to abusive friends, and to entities, or non-physical beings.
Today we see all kinds of channeling going on. People go to mediums and they get in touch with these spirits that are outside of the body. Most of these spirits are pretty malevolent and unenlightened. Although they always claim to be Enlightened teachers who are disincarnate, not in the body. These are low vibe beings who seek life-force. They don't have a body, but they want to experience what a physical body provides. They want to experience sex; they want to experience food; they want to injure others. Most of them are from very low planes: they are not very evolved, but they can mimic.
Today we see all these people channeling and trying to get in touch with beings and have them speak through them and all that sort of stuff. This isn't new, It's been going on for thousands of years, but right now there is a rash of it. People think that by getting in touch with some being that is outside of the body, it will answer all of their questions, and solve their problems, the same way they think that going to some guru will give them all the answers and solve their problems. This only creates problems; it won't help you a bit.
The person who helps you is the person who aids you in becoming independent and strong. Answering your questions won't do that because the next time you need to answer your questions, you just have to go back to the channeled entity, or the old guru, or whatever it is. On the other hand, good teachers don't answer you, and they ask you questions, they make you think. They teach you methods of problem solving, analysis, meditation, and intuition.
There are two sides to increasing energy: controlling it and conserving it. One is avoiding loss, the other is learning how to gain energy. Gaining energy is accomplished by meditating, by right actions, right thoughts, right deeds, and by studying with a real teacher, even if you don't have a real teacher, you can gain energy by just studying and following the teachings, by creating happiness in your life, and by never giving up and so on. If you meditate everyday you will gain energy. Practice. If you follow the study of Buddhism or any type of advanced self-discovery it will happen. The real problem is not increasing your energy. That's pretty easy. I'm suggesting that the problem is losing it. If you stop the loss and you simply meditate you'll have more than enough energy and you'll learn to live strategically. But the issue that most people don't get, is where they lose energy. If you plug all the holes of drainage, and if you simply meditate the rest will happen automatically for you. But if you miss where you losing energy it’s a problem.
In order to increase your energy, you need to look for points of depletion. Now, evolved people need to spend a great deal of time, either alone or in areas of low population density. One of the greatest problems of people who meditate is their sensitivity. But at the same time, they need that sensitivity to move quickly toward Enlightenment and higher states of mind. But that sensitivity is a double edge sword. As a sensitive person, when you put yourself around other people, you feel their desires, their angers, and their frustrations. You begin to believe that the thoughts, feelings, desires and frustrations in your own mind are yours.
It is very important that you live in a place that has good energy – where you sleep, where you dream, where you spend a lot of your time, is key. You want to do that in a place that is accessible to your career. We live in a world of cities, and you have to get in and out of the city and that's a fine thing to do. There are lots of fun things to do in cities. But you need to try and get out of the city as much as possible. If you do live in the city, it's necessary to get out on weekends or whenever possible. You can go for walks and hikes in nature, not simply on a busy ski slope with a thousand other people, but some place more solitary – cross country skiing perhaps, or walking, or whatever it is. Because only then will you feel the stillness; then you will realize that most of the thoughts and desires that you have are not yours. You'll just see what is you, in other words.
It's good to take a few days just by yourself, rent a nice cabin in a nice happy area. Stay there, meditate and take walks in safe areas, areas that feel good to you, to find out who you are again, to remember. Ideally you would live in an area that's not necessarily in the middle of the country, out in the woods, because you can isolate yourself there too, and just get stuck in your own thoughts. Interaction with others is good. But you should live in an area of low population density where you have access to both deeper country and deeper city, a place of balance.
If you thrive on the city energy, that's fine. But try to leave the city frequently, to walk in parks, and to get away from people at times. Find a power spot out in nature that makes you happy. Select companions who are striving for Enlightenment. They'll have their imperfections, certainly, but at least their attention is moving in the right direction, and are accessing the right type of energy. But preserve time for solitude.
Emotional control is essential for obtaining high levels of mind. It is absolutely necessary to love, but to be able to control yourself. The thing that a teacher looks for in a student is a degree of self-control. Can you control your anger? Can you control your lust? Can you control your frustrations and your jealousies? Those are the only people worthy of learning the higher teachings. By worthy I mean that they are the only ones capable of it. Because in order to really effectively interlock with higher spheres of mind and attention, you must have tremendous balance and control. This comes through conscious decisions to do so. You learn that it is more fun to have control than not to.
Enlightenment doesn't occur by an accident: it's a deliberate decision that someone makes again and again, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, lifetime after lifetime. It is something for you to grow in and develop in. When you can be sloppy, you are not; when you can be indulgent you are not; when you can be sad you laugh instead. If you fall down, you pick yourself up again and begin again and again. Be a perpetual beginner. Each day we start over, each evening, each moment. Always be inspired. It's that attitude of inspiration and belief that creates energy.
There are no bad people, there are only states of mind, and you dwell on them like houses, and you can move out of them, as you move out of houses if you so decide. To get into a nicer house you need a little more money – that's energy. You'll gain that by meditating quickly, by speaking the truth, by learning to be still, and by avoiding the crowd, most of the time, but not all the time.
You don't need to be a recluse and stay away from people. But you have to set aside a lot of time for stillness. That's the only place where there is real fulfillment, and then return to life and activities in the world: career management, and all that stuff. You will be successful. You'll have a great time, because you have the energy to do it all. But you can't burn the candle at both ends. You have to recharge. You need to slow it down, and you have to find out which thoughts are yours and which are not.
Nature is our friend – the trees, the squirrels, the grass, the field, the meadows, the ocean. Hike, walk, bike, or swim. Whenever you have free time be in a still place and feel Eternity; feel God; feel Nirvana. Have a great time. Extend that mind of yours which you sharpen with the sword of meditation into Eternity; feel beyond this life, beyond all lifetimes. Be inspired. We live in a world were people aren't, but so what? They are all just going to die; what do they know? Be optimistic always. Always feel that something good is going to happen. It is, if you decide it is and you make it happen. This creates energy, this attitude: belief, sincerity, inspiration, not getting discouraged, right attitude, right mind, right conversation, and having a good time.
Don't be a prude, and don't be too strict in your observances; otherwise you are just stuck in it. There is no letter of the law to follow in Zen. It's a free experience. There is a lot of etiquette, but there are no rules. The etiquette is higher consciousness, sensitivity, gentleness, gratefulness, intensity, power, knowledge, and feelings. That's all I have to teach you – feelings – the words don't matter that much. Feel the stillness of the Infinite Mind. Endless, never beginning and never ending. Live in that stillness and revel in it. Then enter into the activities of the world, without getting overjoyed by success or totally put out by failure. Whether they love you or hate you, it doesn't much matter. What matters is stillness.
A great deal of energy is gained by giving energy. Now this is a curious thing. For example, you go to the bank, you get a lot of money and you have it. If you give money away you don't have it. But in the world of energy, that's not entirely true. When you give energy, you gain energy. For example, right now I'm sitting here in Boston visiting the city for a few days, and I'm taking time to talk with you. I'm projecting a tremendous amount of energy to inspire you and show you that life can be much brighter and better than perhaps you realize. Now when I do this a curious thing happens, I'm giving a lot of energy. I'm giving time. But something will come back to me unsought. I just enjoy doing this; I'm not seeking a return, but something does come back. Energy. Because I am not pulling energy from a limited source. When we give out this type of energy, from Infinite Mind, which is endless energy we receive more.
Whenever you take the time to inspire someone, to aid them in their inner search, you'll find that energy comes back to you, unless you are ego tripping, or you are trying to manipulate them, or you are trying to make them feel that you are powerful and wonderful. Then it's better not to. It's better to keep to yourself. You'll create painful karmic situations for yourself. You'll lose energy. The inner laws in the subject are very strict. They were written a long time ago, and they are not about to change.
The alternative is to inspire people selectively with sincerity and respect. We have the opportunity to do this constantly. Do you want to increase your energy, tremendously? Then want inside your heart to inspire others. You don't have to get on a stage and teach. Just want that, and you will find life will occasionally cause you to encounter someone whom you can inspire. This will lift you tremendously – one of the best ways to increase your energy! Meditate and inspire others, spend time by yourself, spend time away from people, manage your career properly, work at something that is constructive, that doesn't injure others, and put your full attention in it.
Self control is completely necessary for increasing and raising your attention level. One of the places where you practice this is at work. You work many hours; it's the major activity of your life. Obviously you can gain or lose a lot of energy from it. When you put your full attention into it, and you do a good job, not just for the paycheck, but because it is part of your impeccability, then you will find that it will help you. We all become physically tired from working, but if we work with right intent or inspiration, our mind goes higher. Our level is more expansive.
Work in a place that feels good to you. No place is perfect, but select the best that is available. It’s more of an attitude. In other words, if you see work as part of your Zen practice, the Zen of working, it is just to do it – not to worry about it – just to do it as well as you can do it. Feel that you would be doing it without the money, because work perfects you if you do it properly. It's a chance to exercise control, restraint, discipline, and creative inspiration. If you are mindful at work, if you put your best effort into it, then something comes back to you.
Try to feel that you are beyond time and space when you meditate, when you practice zazen. Go beyond this world, beyond time, beyond life, and try to retain that feeling. It's not a feeling of being spaced out. Cosmic Consciousness is to be in touch with the moment and with Eternity. Throughout the day, remind yourself that you are moving through Eternity. Be focused. Be centered. Be in the now. Know what is going on in the world. Read a newspaper once in a while. Be precise in your work, in your physical motion, and in your movements. But at the same time allow your consciousness to spill over and flood into Eternity, into the endless light of reality.
In summation, you gain energy by doing your daily meditation, inspiring others, spending time alone in nature, finding a power spot, having plants in your house, doing some kind of exercise on a regular basis, managing your career and your relationships properly, and by not letting people abuse or manipulate you. If you do all of this, you will have plenty of energy to do everything you want to do, and be very successful.