We are very much creatures of habit, and thus, when it comes to our intake of energy, we tend to habitually turn to a preferred method of reception. For most people, the primary source is food. Most people engage in vital interchange with others, and there is a subtle interaction that can both give and take energy during this interchange. The more set we are in our habits, the less we explore opportunities for new avenues or directions from which to interact with the universal forces and receive them into our being. Much of the energy we receive from others occurs without our conscious awareness, although we may remark afterwards about how we feel “energized” or “drained” after spending time with someone, or how a particular meeting or event led to a feeling of exhilaration or exhaustion.
The Mother writes: “But those who draw back upon themselves, who turn and double up on themselves, cannot do this. One must live all the time in a very vast and very expansive consciousness (I don’t know if you understand the word, it means something which extends very homogeneously and quietly, as when the tide is at its height and the water spreads like that, quietly — that’s the impression). The vital must be like that — then one is open to the universal forces. But if, for example, one has the very bad habit of exchanging vital forces with one’s fellowmen, then one loses the capacity altogether. So unless one is in relation with someone, one receives nothing at all. But naturally if you receive forces through others, you receive at the same time all the difficulties of the other person, perhaps sometimes his qualities also, but these are less contagious. This indeed is something that shuts you up most.”
“Some people … unless they have more or less social relations with others, relations of friendship, conversing … and then it goes still farther … they don’t receive any forces; and this is how they receive them. But this always makes a soup. The forces one receives are already half digested, in any case they don’t have their primal purity, and this affects your own capacity.”
Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, General Methods and Principles, Recuperating One’s Energies, pp. 17-22