I couldn’t believe that the man lying on the bed before me was describing exactly what I was doing…with his eyes closed. I was gentle enough, but it seemed like he felt everything. This excited me.
Twisting. Turning. Violet light.
It was then that it really clicked for me that this thing called energy is real, and we can sense and direct it. I’d played with energy for several years, yet there had always been some skepticism. Feeling the warm, magnetic sensations emanating from my hands, I’d wondered if it was all just a placebo. But now I was getting direct feedback from someone who could have had no way of knowing what I was visualizing.
THE BREATH OF LIFE
When we talk about energy in the Industrial West, it’s usually tied in with sustainability or physics. We don’t have much of a maintained tradition that explains the invisible stuff that pervades all life (does Star Wars count as tradition?). However, this is accounted for in many other cultures.
In fact, there are systems for learning how to harness this energy. In China, there’s Qi Gong, which literally means “energy mastery.” In India, Pranayama essentially means the same thing (“energy control”). In both cultures, the word for energy is also used for breath, and not surprisingly, Qi Gong and Pranyama emphasize breath work.
There are methodologies for understanding energy in the West, but they’re less known to the public. Since the time of the ancient Mystery Schools in Greece and Egypt, these practices have existed. The Greeks called energy pneuma (which also refers to air or wind – see a connection?), yet a new Greek word (letter, actually) was used instead centuries later.
REINVENTING THE WHEEL
When I was a teenager, I became involved in experimental Internet communities seeking to grasp what life force is and how to use it. These practices were called psionics, giving a nod to the scientific research into “psi” phenomena from the early 20th Century, which investigated psychokinesis, telepathy, clairvoyance, and other abilities.
These groups helped me feel less crazy for diving into this kind of stuff. They helped me learn how to sense energy (psi) and direct it in creative ways. Yet, when I came across Qi Gong, I realized that this knowledge had existed for millennia, and that there was already an incredible storehouse of wisdom. Though the psionics groups were figuring things out by trial and error, it seemed to me that they’d have faster and deeper growth by complementing their experience with these ancient methodologies.
Despite the power of the ancient traditions, there have been some recent enhancements to energy practice. Robert Bruce, author of the books Astral Dynamics and Energy Work, devised a technique called tactile imaging, which was initially used to help the blind begin an energy practice without relying on visualization (which typifies many techniques). He discovered that the tactile imaging technique seemed to help many of his general students, also. Refining the method, he worked out strategies for leveraging one’s imagined sense of touch in manipulating energy inside and outside the body. Some of his practices include pretending you can feel a sponge rapidly move back and forth through a body part, or a brush caressing your skin.
So why go through all this trouble to learn how to work with energy? Sure, it seems cool, but what good does it do?
First, we are so accustomed to perceiving the world through a rather narrow lens. What is real to most of us is what we can see, touch, hear, smell, and taste with our physical senses. Working with energy allows you to expand your scope of perception and become more aware of a larger reality.
Second, energy plays a dynamic role in our health. If our energies are imbalanced, we might suffer physical, emotional, or mental affliction. By maintaining proper energetic hygiene and balance, we can enable our vitality and wellbeing.
Are you ready to get going with all this, and experience energy for yourself? Below are some simple ways you can start working with energy.
1. Be Mindful
Mindfulness is the nonjudgmental attention to anything that may arise in the moment. It can be a good idea to begin by noticing any of the body’s sensations. These might include temperature, pressure of the seat, the touch of a draft, your breath, etc. Just be intent on noticing what you might not have observed in daily life. This increased awareness will help you when it comes time to perceive the energy within and around you. Try to practice at least 20 mins a day.
2. Stimulate Your Body
Robert Bruce gives an excellent exercise on simulating the energy body. Basically, hold out your hand and gently yet fairly quickly brush it with the fingertip ends of your other hand. Memorize this sensation very clearly. Now stop the movement, and recreate the experience purely from memory. Absorb yourself in it, with a playful attitude. You will most likely notice that your hand feels a little different – perhaps heavier and “magnetic.” Experiment using other parts of your body. Keep practicing, and you won’t need to physically manipulate anything.
3. Create an Energy Ball
This is the classic energy shape made by many energy workers in training. Meditate a little, stimulate your energy body in both hands, then hold out your hands facing each other, as if you were holding a beach ball between them. As you inhale, imagine you are sucking up warm, glistening particles of light through your pores. As you exhale, imagine energy going into the ball. Feel the shape gather form. You may feel a heat, a static or magnetic feeling, or some other seemingly odd perception. Stay focused. Play with other ways to manipulate energy. Use the best techniques you learn or uncover.
4. Sensing Auras
We have a field that extends outward, representing our energetic natures. Try feeling these fields by asking an open minded friend or family member to participate. Have them sit still, then hold out your palms about 3-4 inches away. Take note of the sensations that arise. Imagine a stream of energy flowing from your hand into the person, with the thoughts behind it being positive and uplifting. Follow the same basic technique presented above. Ask your partner what he or she felt and describe what you felt afterwards, and see what insight might come. This process can help with empathy.
This is just the beginning! There are so many adventures in energy work you can embark on.
Please share below whether you work with energy, and how!