Have you seen the new 5-hour energy ad? It promises all the benefits mindfulness does. Clarity + alertness, being in the zone, owning the moment. When I first saw it, I thought, "Wow, that's what I would say about mindfulness!" And a little red bottle of liquid can give you all that?
But to what end? The ad doesn't tell you that. What are you going to do with all that energy? How are you going to use that powered-up version of yourself? What more will you do now that you can do more of it?
The obvious problem here is dependency, but the deeper, more sinister, hidden problem is not knowing where your energy comes from and seeking an outside source as a substitute.
Mistaking The Source of Energy
Why is it that lottery winners sometimes go bankrupt in a few years? Or become depressed? What do they do when the craving is immediately satisfied? Shop, travel, splurge on the things they always wished they could have. And then what? They do it some more. And then what? Maybe a little more. And it keeps going until they don't have any money or they don't know what to do with it.
The money represents a desire, a wish, an aspiration, a craving and when it's gone, there is nothing there to replace it. They got everything they wanted at the expense of wanting everything, which is much more important. The drive is more interesting than the outcome.
Defining What Drives You
Defining what you will do with all the productivity is what makes you productive. Deciding why you seek clarity will make things more clear. 5-hour energy is enticing because it represents instant fulfillment, but like the lottery winner, will you know what to do once you are fulfilled? How will you know if it's enough? What will fulfill you next?
Mindfulness is not about the promise of X amount of energy. It's about understanding your self and your purpose, because energy alone doesn't have a driver. It's not energy that drives you, your drive energizes you. Shifting the focus to what end you seek energy is exactly what will give you the energy you seek.
This is not a zen puzzle. It's another angle from which you allow yourself to see what you do day in and day out. Pay attention to those areas in your life which energize you without you pushing yourself. What kind of people, music, art, thoughts, food, drink, writing, theater, movies, nature, exercise get you going? When you learn what moves you, only then can you push the accelerator. Only then will you be filled with the right amount of energy to do what you believe needs to get done.
Does that make sense? Please share your thoughts!