Map of Energy Sources in Energy Work
Definitions, energy work

What is the source of energy in energy work?

If you’ve read my earlier post, you will have learned that energy work (as applies to us) is the manipulation of the human energy field. We can tonify its energy; we can deplete its energy. We can open the flow of its energy, or block its flow of energy. With what does an energy worker do this? That’s what we’re going to look at today!

Sources of energy

When it comes to calling upon the power of something, that power can be all sorts of things. It can be embodied, disembodied, or without body–you name it! Below are some of the most commonly tapped sources of energy (not an exhaustive list by any means):

Map of Energy Sources in Energy Work

Sample sources of energy in energy work practices.

Applying the White Horse Discourse

Around 300 BCE logician Gongsun Long wrote what’s now the well-known piece, the Treatise on the White Horse” (白馬論). It starts, “Can it be that a white horse is not a horse? It can.” It goes to explain that when we refine our awareness to looking through smaller and smaller viewfinders, we can start to lose our perspective on the forest from the trees. Of course a white horse is still a horse; but is not a black or brown one also a horse? Yes, of course. And yet, if I asked you, “Are a black horse and white horse the same?” then you would wholeheartedly attest–no! So, are they the same, or are they not? They’re both.

I think of this piece when I think about energy work, because I think the same could be said for energy. Let’s look at a prism:

Dispersive prism

Are not all colors of the rainbow found in white here? But if I asked you to show me white, and to show me red, you would show me two different colors, right? They’re the same in one regard, but appear differently, and act differently. Prepare yourself….

The web of life

In energy work, we use the energy source that’s most appropriate for the job (within our scope of knowledge and practice, with no doubt)- which may be a refined manifestation of cosmic consciousness. In other words, when I call on that which I perceive as “my higher consciousness,” that energy source may only be, in the prism analogy, a tint of dodger blue, which is a shade of primarily blue-green, which is a shade of blue, which is a color of the rainbow, which is a component of white light, which is a component of light, etc. Recognizing it’s all the fabric of consciousness, however, we realize there can be no energy source from which we draw energy that is not fundamentally an aspect of our own consciousness, as any perceived energy (whether it’s my superconscious or Reiki) can only be a tint of color within the spectrum of cosmic consciousness. Would you confuse a tint of dodger blue with white light? No, never. In this way, while we can acknowledge we are the living, breathing cosmic consciousness, we can’t mistake our level of awareness for that of cosmic consciousness. This is why we have energy work–to simultaneously honor our unique manifestation of consciousness, while continually opening our minds and bodies to greater and greater awareness, ever reminding us of our unity with All That Is.

Your Practice This Week

Reflect on a time you were ‘in the zone.’ Maybe you were singing, dancing, playing sports, public speaking, hiking, writing, etc. Did you have a sense of inhabiting an energy greater than your perceived “usual” self, or that something ‘greater’ was moving through you? What conditions do you think helped that sensation to arise?


For your wellbeing, please do not try doing working with these energies on your own. Always seek out a qualified practitioner; safety is key! 

Definitions, Uncategorized

What is the Human Energy Field?

The human energy field

The human energy field
So far, I’ve mentioned energy work is that which works on the human energy field (HEF). The aura is an aspect of the HEF, often depicted as rings around a person, as in the center image above. Each ring relates to a different aspect of the human experience and is identified differently in name and number, depending on the system of energy work  referenced. It would be easy to think the rings around a person are the field, like layers of an onion (see left image above); however, the layers are not separate; they do not sit atop one another. They diffuse down into one another.

The subtle bodies

ice cube party
I suggest you think of the human energy field as consciousness in different states, the aura like water. We recognize “water” when we see ice, a river or fog; while we also recognize that water in each of these states will act differently. Similarly, the ‘layers’ of the human energy field are not separate entities from one another, but rather different states of the same element: The human experience. These layers are often referred to as the subtle bodies.

The subtle bodies comprise the entirety of human experience – from how we experience ourself in the world as a separate ‘self’ in physical form to the possibility of what we are beyond a perceived ‘self.’ I suggest you think of this range of experience as the difference between ice and steam respectively. It’s important to remember that while ice holds its form and appears solid/fixed, it has the potential to be shaped into anything at all, under the right circumstances. As we create and recreate our sense of self, the layers of our human energy field, or subtle bodies, communicate down and affect changes in the form of our expression– spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. The neat thing is, they can also communicate up.

Affecting change

The easiest starting place when it comes to practicing energy work is starting with the most common elements of human experience: form, emotion, and thought. You can think of our physical form is more like ice in its fixed-ness, and our thoughts more like steam. If we concentrate our thoughts on something, as if trapping steam in a  pot by using a lid, eventually it condenses back to liquid (and back to ice if we chill it). This would be like the use of mental affirmations. By repeating the same thoughts over and over again, they eventually start condensing down into our emotions and our actions. Likewise, someone with low self-esteem and a lacking sense of autonomy could benefit from doing crunches and plank poses–physically strengthening the physical form to send the message up to the emotions and to the thoughts, “I am strong! I am resilient! I am healthy!”

Your practice this week

Reflect on what you might be telling yourself on a habitual basis that no longer serves your highest good in your life. Do you feel ready to let this thought go? (Yes, no, and maybe are all important and useful answers to that question!)

Definitions, energy work, Uncategorized

What Are Energy Work Practices?

Author and inventor Dr. Lin Yutang wrote in his 1937 bestseller, The Importance of Living, “…[A]ll human happiness is sensuous happiness”(125).  He goes on to explain our capacity for enjoying the “positive joys of life” is inextricably tied to increased sensibility of our senses, and our full use of them.

To illustrate his point, Dr. Lin lists Chin’s Thirty-Three Happy Moments, suggesting that “the truly happy moments of human life [are those] moments in which the spirit is inextricably tied up with the senses”(130). You’re probably not surprised that I agree! (Why else would I start my post with this?)

Energy Work is Mundane Work

People often confuse energy work with something ‘beyond’ the ordinary, human experience. Or people think it’s something to ‘attain,’ or something mystical. Most often people think energy is separate from the body; and therefore consider the physical simply crude, unnecessary material they’re just waiting to shed to get back to the ‘good stuff.’

But, while energy permeates and animates physical matter, the physical experiences Spirit’s sublime nature. The physical interprets energy, and affects the world with energy. That’s potent stuff! Without the ability to sense, energy could not know itself. For this reason, while we are in the world, knowing we are not of it affords us a unique opportunity to care for and appreciate our vessel (the physical body), while experiencing Spirit in action.

Can Energywork Be Bodywork? (And Vice Versa?)

When we talk about types of energy work, some practices might fit under the category of bodywork, while others might be considered emotional release techniques, mental concentration practices, or in some cases spiritual or religious practice. At first glance someone with no background in energy work might think, “Hold on a minute, this can’t be right! Isn’t energy work stuff just ‘woo woo,’ waving hands in the air?” (I’m reminded of Christopher Walken’s trivial psychic skit….) No, it’s not. Remember, I defined energy work as any practice that works with our body’s energy; and if you understand that our spirit is inextricably tied to our body sense-experience, you’ll understand energy work in practice may involve the body, mind, and/or emotions.

A Short List of Energy Work Practices

What Are Some Energy Work Practices

There are countless practices that involve energy work I could name in this post today. Nonetheless, I’d like to introduce you to a short list so you can start to see that you’ve likely already been introduced to energy work, and perhaps have even been practicing it already. What makes the energy work a stronger aspect to physical, emotional or mental practice? Intention.

You’ll notice I slipped intention work and affirmations under perceiving energy. (Pretty much all the things on this mind map can be swapped from one side to the other.) I did this intentionally (ha!) as a reminder that sometimes we can learn things about what we really think or feel deep down when we try on a new, positive affirmation or intention. Resistance can crop up saying, “Yea, right! I don’t deserve that!” etc.

My today’s short list includes:

  • Acupuncture
  • Bowenwork
  • Dream work (including interpretation and lucid dreaming)
  • Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
  • ESP (including clairvoyance, clairaudience, clairgustance, clairsentience, claircognizance, and “medical intuition”)
  • Feng Shui
  • Homeopathy (including flower, gem and environmental essences)
  • Intention work (including affirmations)
  • Journeying (including to the Akashic records, Lower World, Middle World, Upper World)
  • Meditation
  • Pranic healing
  • Psychic awareness (including psychometry)
  • Qigong
  • Reiki
  • Rosen Method
  • Shamanism (including soul retrieval)
  • Yoga

Your practice this week:

Reflect on a time in your life when you felt most alive, connected and ‘in the flow.’ How did you feel in your body? How was the state of your mind; and what were the circumstances under which you had this experience?

Has an energy work practice greatly impacted your life or growth? I’d love to hear your story in the comments!

Definitions, energy work

What is Energy Work?

Definition of Energy Work

I was so surprised when after I had been practicing energy work for 10 years, my sister (a medical professional) asked me, “What’s energy work?” I was even more surprised when I looked on Merriam-Webster online and Collins dictionary online to find no entry for the term. Again, there was no entry under the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine or on Encyclopaedia Britannica online. It’s no wonder people don’t know what energy work is, when there’s no readily available reference for the topic! So let me start by saying, if you haven’t heard the term itself, you’re not alone; and it’s quite possible you’re already familiar with energy work, having likely heard of, or experienced, one of its practices (more to come on this subject later!).

In short, energy work (alternatively spelled energywork) is an umbrella term for any practice that works with the body’s energy field.

Sapta Chakra, 1899

The seven-chakra system is just one type of mapping the main energy centers in the HEF, shown here in a yoga manuscript.

“Works” here can refer to anything from seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, feeling, draining, replenishing, moving, to an instantaneous knowing. By the “body’s energy field,” I am referring to what is also known as the Human Energy Field (HEF), aura, or subtle bodies, etc. Typically there is a shared understanding among all practices within this category that the HEF both surrounds the physical form and permeates through it. In turn, changes to the physical body can affect the human energy field and vice versa.

Understanding Energy Work

One way to understand energy work is to consider the physical form a piece of electrical hardware with lights. As you send current through the board, the bulbs light up. In other words, when you send sufficient energy through, the hardware works well. Too little current, and the bulb goes dim. Damage a wire, and no matter how much current you send through the wire, the light cuts in and out. Are you starting to get the picture? We need both a well-working physical body and both sufficient and smooth energy flow to function optimally.

But, Is the Human Energy Field Real?

For some, this concept of the human energy field is challenging, because it’s not readily apparent. To sense it takes practice, and a certain willingness to be open to what’s not readily seen or felt by the ordinary senses. I found this image taken by NASA of the Orion constellation that I thought made a good analogy. To the left, this is the image viewed in visible light. To the right, is the same image, but viewed in infrared light. Can you get a sense looking at this image of how much is not readily apparent to us in our lives? Imagine how differently life could look in different light!

Orion const IR visible

More Importantly, Is Energy Work Helpful?

Personally, when I reflect on what I know and what I don’t know, I don’t particularly care to contemplate whether something is “real” or not. I think, “Fundamentally, could I answer that question?” Unequivocally I answer, “No;” I understand my current perception sees only part of the big picture. What I can say for certain is whether I find something helpful or not. I invite you to ask yourself the same question, “How could energy work be helpful for me in learning about myself and how I experience the world?” This is a much more fruitful journey!

Your practice this week: Call up an energy worker in your area or drop them an email; and find out how they’ve found energy work to be helpful for folks. You might be surprised by the answers you get! Want to share your story? Leave a reply in the comments here!