There are four main kinds of energy: vital (Vitality), spiritual, emotional and nutritional. Breath could be considered another kind, but breath is regulated automatically (and should only be influenced by ego but not controlled). So while breath feeds indirectly the spiritual and vital energies, it is not something to focus on for this discussion as it happens automatically via the nervous system. This is a subject that deserves a long treatise, and I am not an expert, I only want to make a specific point about emotional energy here and offer a couple of ideas about the other kinds of energy.
The lesson is to be aware of these different kinds of energy and their differences and to move towards the spiritual and ultimately, use the spiritual for sustenance.
Nutritional energy is quite obvious, it’s the energy you get from food. This allows for survival and can affect your spiritual energy. I am not a nutritionist, but there is a tremendous amount to learn in this area and it seems that one step spiritually advanced people make is becoming vegetarian. Different foods affect your spiritual energy differently and foods and herbs can have a stimulating or calming effect, and can generally help to regulate your other energies.
Vitality is the libido, the energy that ultimately represents your aliveness. You were born with a certain amount and you lose and gain it throughout your life in a variety of ways. There are many, varied practices surrounding this that are best engaged with the help of a teacher. This is “playing with fire,” and actually water too, but either way, should be entered into very carefully. The main idea here is to conserve this as much as possible and learn how to convert it to spiritual energy.
Next is spiritual energy. This is your higher consciousness, it has the quality of lightness in the body and really feels good. It creates a natural calm and alertness, and a deep compassion for other life of all kinds.
Last is emotional. This can burn you up or provide a little color in your life. This is a very volatile energy that must be strictly moderated. It’s possible to be low on nutritional and vital energy but function on emotional energy, but this is a major drain on your being and inner battery.
The main point of this essay is to conserve your vitality, to thoroughly examine and study your nutrition, to moderate your emotions and to transform your energies into spiritual energy. However, the lesson I would like to share is about emotional energy.
Have you ever woken up before school when you were young and were exhausted? And wished so bad for just 10 minutes of more sleep? And dreaded getting up and going to school? Then, did you ever find out it snowed the night before and you heard on the radio school was closed? Then what happened? You bounced out of bed all excited and ready to go outside and have some fun! This is emotional energy. It can debilitate you or make you fly around recklessly. This is the energy you need to moderate and learn to control. You also need to learn to use it to your advantage. The more you are able to center yourself, the less influence emotion will have over you. I am not advocating you try to learn how to not have emotion, I am saying how you experience emotions is indicative of your level of growth and that strong, passionate emotions drain your energy.
If you are tired at work, is it because you didn’t have enough sleep or you’re hungry? Or maybe it’s because you don’t get meaning from your job and thus don’t get any emotional energy from it. If you are not taking care of yourself but are getting by, you may be surviving on emotional energy which does not recharge your battery. Everyone is born (really conceived) with a battery “inside” them. This is your vitality, and some have a stronger battery than others. When this battery gets drained, you’re dead. Nutrition helps you and can affect your ability to recharge your battery, but only sleep and specific practices recharge it. If any of this sounds interesting, you should start researching Taoism and you will find some books on the subject. After reading enough, seek out a teacher.
The lesson is to be aware of what energy you are using regularly and to begin studying about energy and conserve vitality, and learn to transform it into spiritual energy. Also, you must learn to moderate emotions. Emotion should never overwhelm you. You should never feel out of control. Emotion should never make you do something you “wouldn’t normally do.” These are all signs of overindulgence in emotion.