These thoughts came about while having an email discussion on the topic of time management as energy management with my friends. One of my friends quoted from an article he had read that we should manage our physical energy by sleeping for 7–8 hours, eating every four hours, etc., to get the work done and still have energy left. I agreed with that, but with one caution, “One size does not fit all.” So, I am posting that email verbatim under “Musings” category, only editing out some names and correcting some grammar. Here it goes.
Energy Management versus Time Management as discussed with my friends
Note that these are my personal experiences as experienced within this body as it is my laboratory. I cannot provide you with scientific theories or academic references.
I am going to probably raise a few bushy eye brows or create some controversy here. But, well, what heck, here it goes. This may be rather long and wordy, so bear with me.
Note that when I use the term “body” it is not just physical dimension I am referring to but our entire being including energetic, and emotional dimensions.
The key is “awareness.” Being aware of what is happening within and without right “now.” Only thing tangible in our reality is the body and body is the only one that is always here and now. Mind always wanders either to the past or to the future. If body moves from here to there, “there” becomes “here” for the body. It does not think about a here that was past, nor does it think of a there that is the future. Mind may and will wander all over the place.
My personal experience has been that body is in direct connection with or longs to be in touch with what one may call Brahman/Spirit/Supreme Being/Life/Narayana/Siva/Christ Consciousness/Allah or whatever you want to call it. This is what is called “separation”. Liberation or yoga is the healing of this separation. Who is causing this separation? Thought, out of which arises ego and thinks it is in control of everything. Body tells the ego in various ways, mostly in the form of physical illness or pain, that it is not in harmony with life, but ego does not listen. The larger the ego, the larger this separation, and stronger the ailments like deep depression and loneliness. Ego starts a parallel and sometimes opposing movement to life as it is unfolding. Ego dissolution or transcendence is nothing but the healing of the separation between body and spirit. How to bypass ego? Constantly being aware of breath and body is one technique. This is not to be confused with obsession with looks or being critical of the body. It is just being aware of every part in the body and just notice it without changing anything there. As you watch, things may themselves change. If you become aware if your body deeply enough you will notice that every cell is vibrating with energy which we call life. You treat your body as if it is a newborn infant, with so much love and attention.
When you focus on the body or breath you will notice that the racing thoughts slowdown or entirely stop. This I call embodiment. As you embody more and more by becoming aware of it more and more, thoughts and the ego start dissolving into the body, bringing you more into the present moment. As you become more and more present in the body, you can listen to body’s signals on what and when to eat, when to sleep, etc. Life starts becoming more and more spontaneous. This means you become more and more an energetic being. What used to take you eight hours to do, you may finish in a couple of hours, since your thought is now a razor sharp tool in your hands rather than being an all-over-the-place-and-stressed-out-unruly-boss. This is how you manage energy and consequently time.
It is again the “belief” that body is intelligent and a gateway to and part of the divine that will get you deeply in touch with everything that is inside and outside of you. If you believe that body is filthy and that one should shed this body in order to achieve moksha or liberation after death, then what I am saying may not go well with you. Liberation after death, as some sects of Hinduism and other religions teach, has no attraction for me. There are even many Vedantists who say body is filth and must be discarded once you have achieved liberation, and that does not appeal to me, since this liberation does not become fully embodied. Meaning, you are discarding a part of you, the body.
I believe that everything has divinity in it and that 3D world or form is not only divine, but also the only gateway we have for liberation from limited thought processes which bind us from truly enjoying this life in this 3D world. This is the path of the Tamil Siddhas (such as Babaji and Thirumoolar) I follow. They did not throw away anything. They said everything is divine including the 3D world. Inside every form that you see there is a divine essence/energy. If you want to get in touch with that energy, you need your body’s help. So, “giving up” the 3D world roles does not mean running away from your responsibilities. It means, “Giving up the limiting thoughts about the 3D world (or even higher dimensions). Giving up unconsciousness about ourselves and becoming aware of our entire being including body and mind which leads to conscious living.” That is Giving up unconsciousness and becoming fully conscious. This is achieved through body consciousness.
I don’t believe in “eating every 4 hours”, “get 7 to 8 hours of sleep” etc. One size fits all solutions won’t work in my opinion for everybody. As you cultivate more and more body awareness, you will know how your body will react to certain sleep patterns and foods. Six or seven years ago, eating every 3 or 4 hours really worked for me. Then, it was three meals. But now my body tells me not to eat that often. These days I have only one large meal for dinner. I wake up in the morning have a cup of coffee and possibly a very small bowl of oatmeal or a slice of sprouted multigrain bread with peanut butter. Then, if I feel hungry I may have 5 or 6 almonds a few hours later. Some days I don’t feel hungry at all to have lunch. On some days, I will have another toast or one or two small rotis or a peace of fruit. On some other days body may want a good lunch. Once or twice a day I make carrot juice and have it so that the body’s need for live enzymes is fulfilled. I eat a large meal in the night. This works very well for me now, as my energy levels remain quite good throughout the day as I follow body’s rhythms. As an experiment I reverted to having heavy breakfast and lunch as I used to before, and I felt lethargic and could not think clearly and work as efficiently.
So, the key to awareness of the present moment is via body awareness. This means you need to consider body to be your temple and not as a disease ridden roach motel. You need to monitor your self-talk about your body. See if you have body negative disposition. I had it and I had to correct it. Body negative disposition leads not only to ill-health but also to a negative disposition towards 3D world and god/life/etc., and our worldly responsibilities. When we become body aware and know that body is divine and is the microcosmic reflection of the macrocosmic reality, the body rejoices and you will have all the energy that you need to accomplish your goals. And, it will enentually lead to the healing of your whole being. This positivity will even result in your finding your everyday purpose and fulfilling it easily.
Sorry for the rant, but it had to be written, I had no choice in the matter!