I think it’s fair to say that energy is one of the very core properties of the universe, and as such we need to consider it in relation to the other core properties, because all things are defined in each other, not alone.
The most basic elements you can have are infinity and nothingness. Inbetween that duo you have another set, this time including space and time. Further inside that you have another set; matter and energy.
Each of these pairs of things is a pair of opposites, but you need to fully understand the meaning and implications of ‘opposite’ in this context. The thing we often fail to recognise about opposites is that they are also equals, being opposite extremes of the same thing. For example, hot and cold both relate to temperature, fast and slow both relate to speed, love and hate to emotion, and so on.
The other important thing to note is that every extreme has an opposite extreme, because it is by the opposite that it is defined. One cannot exist without the other. Space, without time, is a single point, just as time, without space, is a single moment. Combine the two and we have space-time, every point and every moment distinct from every other.
But an empty point in space and an eventless moment of time is effectively equivalent to non-existence. Thus space-time as we experience it depends on matter and energy.
Matter could not exist without energy, just as energy could not exist without matter. In a similar way to how space relates to points of location and time to points of time, matter relates to degrees of substance, and energy relates to degrees of motion.
Now the other thing to remember is that which Einstein pointed out: everything is relative. Motion is relative, and it is equally possible for one particle to be at rest relative to another moving quickly, or for the fast moving particle to consider that it is at rest and the other particle is the one moving.
Either way, what we have is an overall consistency of relative motion, and motion is the product of substance and energy combined.
Everything above is interrelated, and a given thing ‘exists’ to the degree that it interacts. In other words, a particle which does not interact or move, effectively ceases to exist relative to everything else. Energy is required for motion, substance is required for the energy to have something to move, space is required for the substance to have somewhere to go to, and time is required to seperate the moments from when it was in one place to when it reaches another place.
In other words, energy is the one piece of the puzzle that is the very fabric of the universe in which we find ourselves cast.