Chronic fatigue is not due to overwork — we do not work nearly so hard as our ancestors did — but rather due to a scattering of our forces.
Ours is not a “focused” age. Countless influences pull us in conflicting directions. We find ourselves trying to do a hundred things hastily, rather than one thing at a time carefully and well.
We measure achievement by numbers rather than by excellence. A result is the exhaustion one finds written on the faces of so many in our bustling cities, where strangers pass one another with never a smile or even a glance of greeting.
Fatigue is also a direct result of a loss of interest. Our energy supply depends not primarily upon food and other external causes, but our capacity for smiles, for enthusiasm. People lead “one-horsepower lives” when they forget how to smile, when they over-complicate their daily routine, and clutter their minds with the debris of useless desires and preoccupations.
The person who can simplify his life and marshal his energies to do a few things well, instead of scattering his forces restlessly, will find that he has more than enough strength for whatever he has to do.
Be willing in everything you do, for willingness begets energy. My guru Paramhansa Yogananda used to say, “The greater the will, the greater the flow of energy.”
“Will” in this context means willingness – not physical or mental strain, but a pleasant, steadily increasing focus of our whole attention upon a goal.
A good technique for drawing energy into the body is to stand facing the sun. Raise your hands above your head. Feel the warmth of the sun striking your forehead at the point between the eyebrows, and the palms of your hands. Feel that you are drawing warmth and energy into your body through those “windows.” After some time, turn your back to the sun, and feel its warmth upon the area of the medulla oblongata at the base of the brain. Keep your hands raised above the head. Again, draw the sun’s rays into your body.
The next time you feel fatigue, do some deep breathing. Then fill your mind with the sense of wonder that a child feels who sees this world with a fresh outlook.
Fatigue, finally, is a symptom of self-centeredness. One who can forget himself in helping others and in giving strength to them will find himself rarely exhausted.
Foods, too, can strongly affect our energy. The stimulation one receives from some foods is due not to the energy they give us, but only to their irritating influence upon the body. Loud noise, similarly, may seem to give us energy, but in fact it only whips up the nervous system into a frenzy.
Coffee is a well-known example of a stimulating food. While its immediate effect is sometimes uplifting, its long-range effect is depressing. Caffeine has been said to kill Vitamin B in the body. People who drink too much coffee find that their own natural supply of energy is, if anything, lessened. They require more and more coffee to get the “lift” they seek. The same may be said of tea, tobacco, and other stimulants.
In yoga teachings, much emphasis is placed on a harmonious, rather than a stimulating, diet. If the inner Self is allowed to work through a relaxed and peaceful nervous system, it will be able to fill the body with energy and strength. External stimuli prevent this harmonious expression from within. Dietary stimulants are therefore self-defeating.
Source: Swami Kriyananda