How’s Your Energy?
On the night of the Buddha’s awakening, he vowed: “I shall not give up my efforts until I have attained liberation by perseverance, energy and endeavor.” I imagine from this, that he was singly focused on liberation, with the wherewithal to apply all of his energy to it.
This is in contrast to one of the most pressing issues for us in the 21st century—energy. Increased demands for our time and attention from varied corners of our lives leave dispersed the energy needed for what is most important to us. We are pressured to respond to external stimuli, technological and otherwise. This leaves little energy to establish priorities and work one pointedly towards attaining our most important internal goals. We find even less energy for working toward communal goals of justice and equity.
Many students, friends and colleagues report burn out and consequent inability to establish appropriate boundaries and wise plans for the use of energy. Despite all good intentions, we find ourselves drained, unable to find the energy for our most important endeavor—freedom.
Yet, the quality of courageous energy, the third factor of Awakening, is an indispensable ingredient in our quest for freedom and happiness.
Exerting courageous energy is not striving and pushing to make something happen. It is relaxed diligence in cultivating the qualities of heart that set us free. Energy applied in this way is not dispersed or depleted. It grows. Although this may appear to be a paradox—to use energy to find more energy—if you practice in this way, you will be happily surprised.