What do you do in particular to increase your energy through your mind, rather than through diet, exercise or other physical means?
Before answering this question on how to increase energy, let’s first say that you cannot increase energy mentally if you do not give attention to the food you take in and the exercise you do. These are fundamental building blocks to the mechanism of having energy in the first place. The mental plane cannot in itself create new energy on the physical plane, what it can do is to refine the energy to be of more use and for a higher order of work to be done.
So let’s first get to the fundamental stages of gaining energy. The first is through the food and drink we consume and the second is the way in which we breathe. Deep breathing does stimulate more energy within the human body. Food strengthens the negative polarity within the cells of the body while the air we breathe and its substances strengthens the positive polarity of cells in the body. When both sides are strengthened each cell, and consequently the whole body, is energised. The last source of energy, according to Gurdjieff, and often disputed, is the impressions we receive from the environment through our senses. Within Gurdjieff's schema these impressions are as important as food and breathing. Three primary steps are then identified for a foundation of energy food, breath and sense perceptions.
These are however not equivalent to each other, each bring its own energy and utility of that energy to the front. The energy provided by food is primarily for the use of physical activities, distributed from the solar plexus. When we sleep and do exercises we work on our ability to better transmute food energy into a finer form of physical energy, stored in the muscles that can be used for physical activity.
Continuing on the continuum of energy the physical energy is refined into an emotional energy through the process of breathing. Breathing, is the positive and brings vital life force into the body. It is this energy that operates on the emotional plane that brings us calm. Merely taking time out to breath properly can be enough to bring back calm and a sense of vitality. Thus our emotional energy which gives us the drive to apply the physical energy comes from two sources, our breathing and the refinement of the physical energy gained from the food we eat. This emotional energy is controlled by the Thymus.
Our mental energy, or the energy to will, comes from sense perceptions. Mental energy is the reconciling impulse from the negative energy gained from food and the positive energy gained from breath. Mental energy is the product of the refinement of emotional energy and physical energy as well as sense perceptions of the physical world. Thus at this point objective consciousness begins to play a role and where mind and brain begins to interact.
Before we get into a deeper look into mental energy we need to understand that energy gained through food, breath and perceptions can be wasted. For many people the source of illness is not getting energy from the environment but rather the inability to sustain the energy and not waste it. Physical energy can be lost through bad posture, emotional energy through worry and mental energy through a lack of present moment awareness. These examples should suffice for now that energy can be lost and if we do not acquire habits to maintain energy we might not be able to increase the energy available for doing work.
Increasing energy through thought starts by the development of concentration for self-observation, where we observe our actions, feelings and thoughts, starting by simply becoming aware of our senses. Without the ability to concentrate our thoughts are scattered in different directions and becomes wasted energy. That being the first step for mental energy to increase the second is to use our concentration to acquire virtues within rather than focusing our concentration on external conditions and circumstances over which we have no control. Each of the virtues will increase mental energy since it builds up its own inner mental strength to contain the refined energy if applied with consistency. The one virtue that is worthwhile lifting above the others within the context of the theme of energy is enthusiasm, combined with a healthy curiosity. When we are curious about the world around us and when we are enthusiastic or enthused with interest in the sensory world around us we are bound to have more energy. We get up in the morning more ready to do things and apply our minds to problems. So in short the best method of increasing energy on a mental level is through acquiring the skill of concentration and the confidence of developing virtue. This is done through developing continuous constructive thinking patterns. The mental energy is controlled primarily from the pineal gland in the brain.
It must be noted that physical energy is in primary demand, then emotional energy and then mental energy. If the physical is depleted it will borrow from the emotional and the emotional will borrow from the mental. Having reached the mental level of energy management we must also understand that energy goes beyond the mental and to have a full picture we need to move to the psychic body and its role in the management of energy as a whole human being. The physical, emotional and mental all still functions primarily on the sphere of the physical and we have not yet penetrated into the sphere of higher levels of being. Within that context it is important to remember the role of sleep in an energy management approach. A lack of sleep leads obviously to a drop of energy levels because it does not provide the opportunity for muscles to regenerate, toxins to be removed from the brain etc. Sleep and deep meditation are the foundation of what leads us to move beyond the physical into the non-physical aspects of energy management in the human organism.