Lin Manuel Miranda’s success of Alexandra Hamilton truly brought to the attention of the world, the challenge with getting older with outstanding goals and dreams. The idea of “running out of time” is always subconsciously present in an experience that exist in a structure shaped by space and time because it requires that we abide by those same rules within this reality.
Surprisingly, most of us fail to recognize the mindset that is required to gain control of the power we possess within those experiences. We, therefore, spend the vast majority of our lives trying to navigate in an environment where we are being driven by the causes that affect our journey.
We give up our power of what can happen as a consequence of what is happening right now. We give it up by not being aware of how much time we have left to perform tasks that will move us to where we may have always desired to be because we are mired down in the daily act of simply surviving.
I am a 57-year-old African-American male in fair health. Therefore, I fall within the span of a life expectancy of approximately 70 years. This means statistically I have already lived 81% of my life. For a white male of the same age, you’ve lived 75% with an expectancy of living until age 76.
For women, in general, with an expectancy of living to age 79, you have lived 72% of your life’s expectancy when you reach 57 years of age.
The time we have left is just one aspect of our reality. But what about our thoughts? Consider the consequences of age on our remaining potential energy reserves. The average American consumes 64 million calories over the course of their lifetime; I’m at about 46 million calories at the age of 57. As calories are a measure of energy, this means I have roughly 10.6 million calories of energy left for my 13 remaining years.
Because the brain, through the process of thinking alone, consumes between 340 to 420 calories of our average 2,100 daily caloric intake, this means I have only about 1.6 million calories of energy available for thought remaining.
How are you allocating your precious remaining energy?
The Exertion of Energy
On any given day, we are bombarded with the challenges life throws at us, seemingly requiring that we extend that energy to consider the situations in which we find ourselves. This exertion is most often directed toward energy of thought dealing with BS that adds no value to our lives. Whether that includes personal matters involving the drama of loved ones and family members, work-related activities (as well as those pre- and post-requirements associated with the actual work activity), or all of the other things we become consciously or unwittingly involved in that consume the minutes of our days.
This energy, as with time, is a non-renewable resource that diminishes incrementally with time regardless of whether it is put to good use or not.
The Romans referred to the act of giving energy as attendere (attention), meaning to extend mental energy in a focused way. The extension of energy in any direction, when we consider the brain’s average daily consumption, is expensive. And for creators who feel deeply committed to the power of now, this is often exactly the place where many of us find ourselves – unable to think our way into a new life while recognizing that we are not happy with the current one.
At this point in my life, I use my energy with deliberate intention and only attendere; that is to say, give attention to what aligns with my goals and objectives. Doing this adds clarity to what is important and not important. (If it does not add value, it is not important.)
Energy and Force
If we look at the definition of energy, we understand that the word was derived from the Greek word energeia, meaning “actively working” or “is a measurement of the ability of something to do work.” In other words, potential.
Force, on the other hand, is derived from the Latin word forte, meaning strength or energy exerted or brought to bear. “The cause of motion or change: active power… an individual or group having the power of effective action.”
With energy representing the potential of what can be, and force representing the pressure directing the energy, then we can begin to conceive the power we gain through this awareness since by definition, we have direct control over what will be manifested from the use of the energy (potential) and the purpose for which that potential will be exerted.
When we continually allow ourselves, for any reason, perceived or real, to travel down a path that does not apply force in a value-added way, this represents the loss of a valuable resource in a direction of something that is not of value.
- How often do we choose to argue with friends or people we come across, knowing that not only will nothing get resolved, but we’ll walk away from the situation needing to take hours or even days to recover from the situation?
- How long will we stay at a jobor in a position that does not charge us but rather depletes large daily portions of our brain’s processing power dealing with issues and challenges that are completely separate from the task we need to perform at the job?
- Or here’s one of which most Americans are guilty. How often do we hold ideas, goals, and dreams we believe represent our future state of where we seek to be while spending copious amounts of time watching our favorite sports team or reality TV shows, thinking of it as just harmless entertainment of something we love?
According to a nationwide survey conducted in 2022 by FOX24 News, the average American spends four hours per week watching live sports, with 1 in 4 watching an excess of five hours. Not to mention the time spent extending energy toward thinking about and discussing the results of the games and shows with friends.
According to a Rand Corporation survey conducted on the free time of Americans, the average American has 35 hours of free time each week. How many people actually use even 1% of those hours, or as little as 35 minutes a week, to move our lives forward? And how many of us would know where to begin if we wanted to?
The Choices We Make
The biggest step toward taking greater control of the energy we exert involves the development of our existential intelligence and a conscious decision to make informed choices. Choices of what we will allow to enter into our consciousness and the energy we exert in its contemplation.
In moving our lives forward, how do we even make the determination of what constitutes the exertion of energy in a direction of non-value-added? My suggestion is to imagine the negative emotions that are elicited during situations where you feel your energy is being drained.
As you consider the catalyst of what drains you, you will find yourself in any number of negative conditions or emotions including scared, defensive, gullible, idle, and even grumpy, to name just five of the countless possible emotions. When we feel this way, we often dwell on what’s created the emotion, thus giving energy to the negative.
Einstein’s law of conservation of energy states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed, only converted from one form of energy to another. This means the energy you are driving in a negative direction is being stolen from the energy necessary to move your life forward.
By assuming the condition that creates negative energy, this transforms our energy – potential – into the negative effects that align with negative energy – anger, jealousy, etc. – as one condition of the negative leads to the next. This in itself necessitates the use of even more energy toward the negative.
But there are options that won’t propel us toward the negative. Options that take all of the energy that would be consumed by the negative and convert it into positive energy that propels our lives forward. And it deals with the nature of the opposites and the understanding of polarity.
Polarity and the Nature of the Opposites
The first step to understanding the nature of the opposites is to imagine a half circle where a horizontal line connects the furthest distant points at the top of the half circle, thus creating a perfect semicircle. Now imagine all of the negative conditions spread out perpendicularly to the outside edge of the semicircle so they span around the entire curved edge.
The law of polarity states in part that everything has its pair of opposites and that opposites are identical in nature but different in degree. The ancients understood this and believed that everything exists in a state of the polarity of conditions between the two poles, and that we can move from one state, where mental energy is being consumed in a negative way, to a position where it is used positively, simply by shifting our perspective of thought and direction.
In understanding this idea, imagine the semicircle being completed, where now the negative side of the circle exists below the line while the new half of the circle is placed above the dividing line to create a complete circle.
With the law of polarity, for each negative condition that exists, we have to simply imagine and give focused attention to its opposite – the positive condition – and through the sheer concentration of energy, any condition can be transmuted or changed in form, nature, or substance into what is desired. It becomes the solution.
This idea was propagated through all of the teachings of Greece and consumed as doctrine by much of the Roman elite class.
Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, known for being one of Rome’s five greatest emperors, was also keenly aware of the law of polarity and its ability to support his efforts during conflicts of potentially overwhelming odds of defeat, as he surely faced on occasion. His application can be found in one of his memoirs entitled Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, written in 167 BCE.
“Our actions may be impeded . . . but there can be no impeding our intentions or dispositions. Because we can accommodate and adapt. The mind adapts and converts to its own purposes the obstacle to our acting.”
In a subsequent statement, he continues.
“Our inward power, when it obeys nature, reacts to events by accommodating itself to what it faces—to what is possible. It needs no specific material. It pursues its own aims as circumstances allow; it turns obstacles into fuel. As a fire overwhelms what would have quenched a lamp. What’s thrown on top of the conflagration is absorbed, consumed by it—and makes it burn still higher.”
In dealing with the negative that may confront us, in understanding the circumstances as they are and the situation we find ourselves in, the negative is used as energy toward the solution. The law of polarity tells us that everything has poles, and those seemingly opposite things are actually the same, just existing at varying degrees.
Marcus would have understood the challenges being experienced on one end of the pole while knowing that at the opposite end lay the future, free of that challenge. By pursuing the end outcome that was sought, he knew that focused attention placed not on the challenge, but on the desired state, would create energy and fuel the development of solutions.
Whatever is considered part of the scenario becomes the fuel that feeds the discovery of the solution. This occurs when the energy is focused away from the negative and toward the solution sought, with the end result being both a mental and physical action.
To describe what happens during this process known as mental alchemy, Brian Cotnoir, a self-described alchemist, artist, and award-winning filmmaker, explains it this way in his latest film The Kybalion. Imagine an architect and the tools used in designing structures that include the slide ruler, compass, T-square, pen, and paper. When one uses these tools in cooperation with the geometric rules and theorems of geometry and mathematics in total, it becomes possible to envision using these tools together to produce advanced architectural designs that convey desired building designs on paper. This is because we know that everything in this universe can be aligned with common measures: inches, yards, centimeters, formulas, etc. This is because everything operates according to a structured set of rules.
It can therefore be understood that through the application of these rules, a practitioner of mental alchemy can become so skilled in the art of designing on paper that they can eventually move away from pencil and paper to produce detailed designs directly in their heads. This is when one is free from the constraints of the physical body and is able to design in conforming ways to said rules, but outside of the structure of the box.
Nikola Tesla became so skilled in the area of mental alchemy that he became well-known for not putting pencil and paper together until mental designs has been thoroughly worked out in his mind and all perspectives of his creations were known.
Marcus Aurelius used the same processes of mental alchemy to create solutions to the negatives that confronted him. He saw through the problems to the solutions.
I believe in our ability to harness our energy and direct it through force, to move our lives forward in the direction we wish to go, aided by the momentum of the strength of the force. And when directed successfully, doors open to allow entrance into a series of cascading successes. This, however, works both ways and when energy is not directed, the force can become uncontrollable, often knocking our lives off balance and perilously toward destruction.
I once was witness to a situation of powerlessness that typifies what can happen when force is not properly directed. It was experienced when I was just beginning to gain my footing following a tumultuous divorce that lasted for close to seven years, causing me to briefly lose my home and everything I had worked years to build.
As I stood on a second-floor balcony unobserved by the passersby, I was startled by the shrieking of a woman in distress. I looked down to find a 40-something-year-old woman with someone I believe was her teenage son. As I listened to what was happening, I heard her speak of the absence of her car. She mentioned the word repossessed as she broke down curbside in tears, stating with a stressed voice, “How am I going to get to work? How am I going to be able to keep my job?”
The son tried to console her, but she knew she was in a potentially perilous situation as for many people, it takes simply the loss of one paycheck, two or three car payments, or any other number of causes that can have a direct impact on the course of one’s life.
As I looked down, I reflected on my own condition just nine years earlier, so I could relate to her predicament. Just like this young lady, nine years prior I was involved in my own drama – until I realized that the drama is not the situation we find ourselves in. Life is nothing but a series of causes and effects. Drama only emerges through the way by which we choose to handle that condition.
Her situation obviously did not begin that night, but rather moved into a new gear of potential destruction. Did the loss of the car lead to the loss of her job? I will never know how her story continued forward but it was clear that she had been distracted for a good period of time because repossessions typically don’t happen in the absence of an owner’s awareness. There are known payment obligations, monthly bills, and phone calls that foretell what will happen next.
Did she know of her own power? That evening, her exertion of negative energy increased significantly away from where she wanted to be because in the immediate term, her energy was exerted toward figuring out how to get home and next, how to get to work and etc., as an example of the misdirection of energy.
In spite of what we may think, force still equals mass times acceleration, as theorized and proven by Issac Newton in the sixteenth century. The idea that we exist at the will of the force of nature has been proven wrong, but we still give up our power to influence the direction of the causes and therefore, the effects.
We will learn to consciously direct the effect if we learn the influence of the causes that effect us. Henry Ford is known for saying, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right.” This applies to our ability to create that which we can imagine if it can align around three foundational rules. That it is possible within the 1) time, and 2) space, and that 3) you can gain control over how you direct your energy.
In conclusion, this thought-provoking article reminds us of the power we possess in the realm of space and time, and how we often underestimate the potential of our own experiences. The concept of force equals mass times acceleration applies not only to the physical world, but also to the energy we exert through our thoughts and actions. We are all bound by the same rules within this reality, and yet, we often relinquish our power to external forces, allowing them to steer our lives.
By making deliberate choices and consciously directing our energy, we gain control over our lives. This article calls for a shift in mindset, away from dwelling on negative circumstances and toward embracing positive possibilities. With focused intention, we can harness our energy as a force for positive change, leading to a cascade of successes.
Ultimately, if we can understand that we possess the power to shape our reality by aligning our thoughts and actions with our goals, we can learn to tap into the vast potential of our minds and create whatever future we can envision…with patience.
While an investment of just 30 minutes a week seems to be an infinitesimal amount of energy to exert and therefore couldn’t possibly be of value, Mount Everest rose from the depths of 24,000 feet below sea level to 29,000 feet above sea level over the course of 50 million years at a rate of just one-half inch per year. And just like Everest, year after year, even the minimal commitment of 30 minutes a week constitutes energy being directed through force, with each week taking us one step closer to our goals and .