Access to the universal vital force and the renewal of one’s energy follows basic principles that can be seen in the action of another universal force that allows the creation of results in the external world, symbolised by what we know as ‘money’. In his book The Mother, Sri Aurobindo states that ‘money is the visible sign of a universal force’. Money sitting stagnant and being held without purpose puts a barrier to the flow of the money-force. When money is put into action, the force flows and creates a cycle of replenishment. This does not mean the careless spreading of the force that money represents to the winds and exhausting it; nor does it mean a miserly storing up of the force in an unwillingness to spend. The right use of this force sets in motion the universal action of force.
Various Chinese martial arts disciplines identify ki or chi as a force that can be gathered and utilized, and which is not sourced from food, but from the universal vital force. They concentrate the chi in the solar plexus and this enables them to energize the body in ways that go far beyond normal, providing strength, endurance and mastery at very high levels. Tibetan yogis practice development of psychic heat which enables them to withstand extremely cold temperatures without experiencing the cold, and this is done without reliance on food. Certain yogis in India are able to go for extended periods without eating and nevertheless retain their vitality, and even show an increased vital and mental force.
When it comes to applying the vital force in the body, neither spending that energy in wild abandon without positive purpose, nor the attempt to conserve it through restriction and lack of effort, leads to the kind of energetic flow and replenishment that is the natural state of vital energy.
The source of the energy also becomes important. When we try to gain vital energy through interchange with others, we remain in a limited and closed system and thus, the result is highly limited. The true source of all energy is the Divine and is manifested through universal Nature.
The Mother observes: “The energy must be spent to be renewed. The human body is not a closed jar that gets emptied by spending. The human body is a channel that receives only when it spends.”
Sri Aurobindo continues: “Men are constantly spending the vital energy and need to renew it; one way to do it is by pulling from others in a vital interchange. This however is not necessary if one knows how to draw from the universal Nature or from the Divine, i.e. from above. Moreover when the psychic is active — there is always more lost than gained by the vital interchange.”
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