What is Energy Healing?
Joining now? Please read the starting post first. It will tell you why I have started this blog and what is the objective eventually. We are not there yet, though. This is a time of introducing terms and concepts by using them, so that we start to slowly understand what each other means by a particular term. It takes time to understand each other’s language. Especially since there has been reasonably little open discussion about energy healing even among the various traditions that do some kind of energy work.
I use energy healing loosely to describe any kind of work with energies, with the individual energy field or with the collective energy field, in a healing manner.
By healing I refer to a change towards wholeness, connectedness and aligned. To be healed is to be whole, connected, and appropriately aligned. Wholeness refers to wholeness on the soul level, i.e. that there are no misplaced soul pieces, either extra pieces taken from another, or missing pieces that need to be retrieved. In addition, it refers to wholeness on the various levels of the emotional body: that its layers are healthy, strong, have no holes, and are not porous. There may yet be other aspects of wholeness that are not included in this description, and yet need to be described.
Being connected refers to having exactly the appropriate kinds of connections between different parts of the human energy field as a whole. This includes connections within oneself, as well as connectivity with other people (and the ability to make healthy connections and stay away from unhealthy ones). It also includes being appropriately connected to universal sources of energy from below and from above. Being aligned is a condition I feel belongs to the definition of being healed. However, at this point I am not yet ready to describe what I mean by it.
Discussing energy healing without talking about consciousness seems incomplete. While ‘energy healing’ is a way of describing certain phenomena in terms of so-called energy, another approach to these phenomena may open up from the direction and using the concepts related to consciousness.
Conscious, sentient beings are able to observe their surroundings. The same faculties of observation can, with practice, be turned towards observing the mind itself. While we easily learn to observe outside events during our life, starting to observe one’s own mind requires particular effort. What happens ‘out there’ has a strong pull, a power to grab our attention. What happens within may remain unnoticed – at least until a life situation arises that is difficult enough, or restricting enough, that the old forms of working with the world do not seem to suffice. The gaze is then finally shifted inwards.
Practicing concentration through observation of the mind
Just as with learning any other skill, observing one’s own mind is a skill that can be learned by anyone who is motivated enough to put in the time and effort to do so. Our capacity of making distinctions within the internal observation space grows only with practice – there are no shortcuts. Just like there are no shortcuts in learning to skate, or in learning to drive a car: inevitably one must practice a lot to learn the new skills required.
At first, we may need to limit the amount of outside stimulation, to be able to observe what goes on within. Observing what goes on within may be so uncomfortable that we avoid it at all cost. Restlesness, anxiety, and slumber are possible ways of avoiding the inner experience. Over time and after repeated practice, however, the internal gazing becomes more habitual.
For some, before practicing meditation, one must learn to relax first the body and then the mind thoroughly. Dealing with emotional obstacles that hinder full relaxation might be required. Next, one may practice observing the thoughts as they arise and then subside, trying not to get caught in the thoughts. This meditation technique is taught in one form or another in many different teaching traditions. In the buddhist tradition it is called Shamata or Shine meditation.
Once one has practiced enough of observing the thougts, another level of the practice is to start noticing also the more subtle emotions, or bodily sensations, as they arise and subside. In some training traditions there are explicit practices for observing these, for example as a ‘body scanning’ practice, where one observes each body part at a time.
Over time, these skill honed through repeated practice, wtill start ransfering to everyday life situations. Practicing the stance of the observer of emotions as they arise, eventually when anger is triggered in a real situation, instead of reacting in anger, one may just pause there and observe the anger. Just observing the arising of the emotion, and how it feels and so on. The observation itself gives space and freedom and time to choose with more wisdom, how one will eventually act. Perhaps an appropriate action is then found, rather than just ‘blowing up’.
In this way, simply learning to observe the mind often leads to increased emotional wellbeing and happiness. The ability to observe a thought or emotion instead of being engaged or engrossed in it, begins to open the possibility to act wisely even when strong emotions are present. The practice opens up a kind of breathing space between emotion and action. In this way, meditation practice can over time lead to a more peaceful, wiser and happier existence for ourselves and for those close to us.
Working with difficult emotions by using antidotes
Once we are able to observe the emotions as they arise, and to recognize them within us, to name them, it is possible to take further steps. We may call in ‘antidotes’ to the more poisonous emotions. These antidotes include for example love and compassion. If we have ever experienced love from another, or experienced compassion when we were suffering, we may be able to recall that emotion at will. By naming the antidote, recalling it from memory, we may ourselves learn to also practice being in a compassionate state. Just as one can practice becoming angry and over time, become angry even more easily, one may also practice the antidotes. One can think of this practice as learning the movement of how to reach to the correct drawer in a cupboard. At first we may not know the way, but the more we practice, the more straightforward the movement becomes. Or think of learning to pitch the ball in tennis. A very specific movement, which over practice becomes fast and reliable. Similarly, one can over time become fast and reliable in reaching a state of compassion, of love, of forgiveness and so on.
It is important to notice, that doing this on the level of the mind, as a thinking process, is not enough. It is not enough in the same way as thinking about pitching a ball is not the same as actually pitching the ball. So we need to actually work on the level of our own emotions. Not someone else’s emotions, not on analyzing mentally or intellectually emotions, but on actually feeling the emotions. Then, learning to name the feeling. This can be a very difficult job when you have learned to use your mind as a purely intellectual, analytic tool. The world of emotions may at first feel chaotic, even. Something to be avoided. But as with everything, over time and practice the chaos will start becoming clearer.
Depending on our life histories, we may have practiced certain emotions a lot. Perhaps getting angry was the thing to do, how to solve any difficult problem when we were kids. Or perhaps it was becoming overly joyous and pretending any difficulties did not exist. As if not admitting that there is anything wrong would make wrongness go away. Whatever emotional strategies we practiced in our earlier lives, we are now very good at. The positive thing, though, is that starting to practice healthy strategies now, we can actually change the ways we have always reacted. As a result, our lives will be profoundly changed as well. Perhaps even our identity, how we see ourselves to be, starts to change.
Working with antidotes, I have found that the practice that transforms my emotional dynamics in a profound way is this: when I am able to stop in the moment and observe the emotion as it arises, I recall the appropriate antidote. At first this is practiced in ‘laboratory setting’, that is, by recalling a past situation where a difficult emotion arose, and working with the antidote in regard to that memory and similar ones. At a later stage, the practice can be transferred to real world situations. Getting this far requires quite steady and observant mind, the ability to stand back and observe instead of engaging. Which antidotes to use in which states of mind is a matter where instruction from experienced practitioners and teachers is valuable. Not everything has to be discovered by oneself – there are general ways in which all minds work, the knowledge of which can be utilized to help further generations of practitioners.
Where are these antidotes taught?
At first it may be necessary that a particular antidote drawer is opened with a teacher who knows the right drawer and the required movements. This happens in much the same way that a parent may guide the baby’s hand to reach the correct movement path so that the spoon actually reaches the mouth for the first times. After a time, the baby can continue practicing and do this unassisted with more and more fluency of action. The same principle applies when reaching for the antidotes regarding dealing with our difficult emotions: self-learning is indeed possible, but the speed of learning can be greatly increased with a good teacher and a good source of knowledge regarding the particular antidotes.
So far, I have found only two sources that teach the use of antidotes: Tara Rokpa Therapy which applies Tibetan Buddhist meditation techniques as part of the therapeutic process, and Ho’oponopono, which applies four basic antidotes for any difficult situation, not making distinction which one of them is needed at a particular time. In addition, in healing traditions, the concept of applying antidotes on an energetic level is known, for example in the Barbara Ann Brennan School of Healing. The concept of an antidote or an energy medicine is found also in Homeopathy.
Often advanced teachings are protected in order not to be diluted or transmitted in a partial or corrupted form. There might indeed be many other spiritual or healing traditions that also use these kinds of antidotes for working with difficult emotions, but if their practices are reserved only for those who advance far enough in their studies, I would not know about them.
I have so far talked mostly about relative antidotes, that is, using an antidote that is based on one’s own human existence. With help from outside, it is possible to learn to use purer and purer antidotes. What is needed is that someone can create or recall the antidote emotion in a strong, clear and powerful manner, and to share that state of being with us, in a way that we feel it as well. Then we may have that experience, even if we did not in our earlier lives. And afterwords, we have the experience in our cupboard, to be used when needed. In some traditions there is a reference to so-called absolute antidotes. These include absolute love, absolute compassion, absolute forgiveness, absolute grace and so on. For example, the way that very profound spiritual experiences actually transforms people’s lives, is in my view due to the person momentarily experiencing an absolute antidote. Once that antidote is experienced, it is in one’s cupboard and can forever be accessed. One single experience may transform the life forever. This is also the reason, in my view, why such experiences are rarely repeated. There is no dire need of repetition, one initial experience of a pure antidote, combined with own practice on how to retrieve that antidote to use it in real-world situations, is enough to change lives for good.
The difference between relative and pure antidotes is similar to the difference between a certain pitch played by a gitar, or sung by a human, and the absolute frequency as a pure sine form, which can be mathematically produced. The absolute frequency exists, but in the physical world it is always either combined with overtones (as in the case of humans or instruments) or combined with various kinds of noise that arises in all physical systems. We may have an idea of the absolute frequency, and we may get closer to reproducing it, but even in its purest case, its actuality in the physical world is always relative.
Is conscious experience always individual? Or can there be an instant or a even a prolonged period of shared consciousness?
It has been customary to think that consciousness and mind are individual phenomena, restricted to an individual’s mind. However, not all of our customary ways of thinking about the mind are correct. While we may not yet have a sufficient theoretical explanation that could account for ‘the substance’ of shared consciousness, we should nevertheless be open to the possibility of its existence, and to pay attention to experiential observations rather than restrict ourselves due to a lack of a unified theory.
Is consciousness limited to a single physical body, as if an aspect of the body? Or can it be rather more like a field extending somewhat outside the body?
Many of us are accustomed to thinking that our existence is limited to our own body, as if we inhabited our body only, or as if we in fact were our body. However, this might actually just be a very entrenched thinking habit, involving specific beliefs about the body, the mind and the consciousness. Whether or not these are a particularly appropriate or fruitful ways to think about our consciousness remains an open question.
Keen observers have started noticing that there are concepts such as ‘the atmosphere’ of a space that seems to persist, regardless of individuals occupying that space. Moreover, even sociologists have noticed that emotions can be transferred among individuals who are in contact. It is not currently understood properly how these phenomena should be explained, but again, the lack of theoretical explanation should not be a reason to restrict making observations. Let us observe, and let us later attempt to form the appropriate theory to explain the observations.
Can consciousness have a reach that is regardless of physical location, but rather more related to for example intentional state and the attention of the individual?
Nowadays, there appear to be a large number of people who have internal observations that do not correspond with the habitual ways of thinking about consciousness. Moments of apparent telepathy, having premonitions of people arriving soon, experiencing visitations from people that have passed away, experiencing angels, nature spirits, or star people or ETs are examples of consciousness phenomena that are within the range of experience for a large proportion of people regardless of nationality, religion and so on. Experiences of energy healing or even distant healing or distant seeing are further phenomena experienced by many. Furthermore, there are people who experience collectively synchronized events or emotional or other consciousness processes, whose origins seem to be totally unrelated to their own lives, yet synchronized with those of many other people.
What is the ontological nature of each of these experiences is a separate question, which does not need to be the first question to be figured out. A proper theory of consciousness should try to give a reasonable account of all of these, in addition to the ‘ordinary’ conscious phenomena that are shared by all. Cataloguing the various kinds of non-ordinary experiences that seem to take a place is a start, a pre-requisite for building a theory. The next step would be to collect data about the prevalence of each type of experience, as well as about the conditions in which they are experienced. Finally, theory formation might begin. Of course, some of this type of research has already begun.
What are the immediate obstacles in this kind of research? First of all, for some, these experiences might be very subtle. Observations of the so-called external world are loud, strong and solid. Internal observations are in general rather of a different kind. To begin with emotions, it is not that simple to observe one’s own emotional state. What is the current emotion or mood, exactly? Noticing that there even is an emotional state or mood takes a lot of practice.
If making proper observations requires practice, then who are the people who can be included in this type of study of conscious phenomena? Do people need to be categorized based on their skill level? How to measure such consciousness skills? How to create standardized ways of training a group of individuals in sufficient internal skills to be able to do large-scale empirical research on these phenomena?
Developing ways to discuss various phenomena of conscious experience in all their varieties is essential if we wish to increase our general understanding of human consciousness. Open discussion might shed light also on phenomena that appear to signify the existence of a form of shared consciousness which can extend between two or more individuals. Even later, perhaps it becomes possible to posit a theory that attempts to describe not only the phenomena relating to an individual’s consciousness but at the same time offers an elegant explanation of the shared consciousness phenomena as well.
Final note of my own experience on energy healing and shared consciousness
In my experience, developing the ability to heal energetically appears to be closely related to developing my ability to observe and work with the mind. The more ability I have regarding consciousness, the better and stronger are my healing abilities becoming as well. I do not yet have a full theory of how this works, but this is how it feels like: When I learn to observe an emotional block within my own mind, then learn how to release it, then I learn which antidote to apply to it within myself. Then, either through compassion practice or strong natural tendency for compassion, I observe an emotional block in another, then starting from the wish to help another being I am able to guide their consciousness and together with their consciousness we work to open the block and apply the antidote. For me, most of this happens very intuitively. The other person not only obtains a release of the block, a fine result in itself. At the same time, they sometimes report learning experientially matters regarding their own consciousness. The experience often leads to concrete changes in relation to one’s own life.
For me, these two ways of describing the mind , either through energy healing, or through working with one’s own consciousness, are closely related although the conceptualizations differ. Others might have different views and experiences. For me, shared consciousness and the ability to touch another person’s consciousness is very natural. Distance is not an obstacle. Consciousness reaches its destination as quickly as a thought does, as long as the intention has a specific destination. The ability to recognize, however, when my consciousness is where, and to intentionally direct it in useful and healing ways, is something that has taken a lot of practice of awareness and other types of systematic learning.
Do you wish to share an experience?
Do you have an experience of shared consciousness, or some other phenomenon mentioned above? Please write a comment below.