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!

Energy Work, Reiki, Self-Care

Why Learn Reiki Energy Work?

learn Reiki energy work

I was first introduced to energy work practice while in school for Chinese medicine. Qi gong, or Chinese energy work, is considered one of the three pillars of Chinese medicine; the other two are Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture. It’s an ancient practice, with instructive texts dating back to the Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE). My teacher was a two-time gold-medal winner in international martial arts, Liping Zhu (a truly lovely lady). When we started class, she said that each person may have a different awareness of energy – some may see it, others may feel it, some may have no sense of it whatsoever. Then she shot out qi (energy) from her fingertips and asked us all to “receive” it with our hands. “Do you feel anything?” No. Nothing.

I thought for sure I was a “dull type;” that’s what Liping called someone who has no awareness of energy. Well, class was required, so I had to finish the semester no matter what I ‘was.’ Every week we’d meet as a class of maybe 20, practicing our exercises in a group; then I’d head home for daily solo practice. Well, wouldn’t you know, after a few weeks, I felt something! We were in class, “scanning” each other energy with our hand, and I felt something prickly in my palm a few inches above my partner’s body. When I moved my hand away, I didn’t feel it anymore. So, I moved back again, and… yes, felt it again. So, I asked my partner, “Do you have any concerns or issues with this part of your body?” “Yes!” she said. Voilà! Hence began my hearing the subtleties of our body’s language.

You could say it’s like waking up a new sense, in addition to the standard 5 (touch, smell, sound, taste, and sight) and optional 6th (the mind). But, it’s not really. One of the most surprising things to people unfamiliar with energy work is that the way energy is understood is through our same, basicsenses. Clairvoyants ‘see’ energy; clairaudients ‘hear’ energy; clairsentients ‘feel’ energy, etc. In actuality, we might say that energy work is more like refining our senses, expanding our awareness to greater layers of subtle information readily present. There’s nothing particularly strange or fancy about it, other than our perception of its possibility.

So, if not to impress at parties or feed our sense of grandeur, why bother to learn energy work? Well, can you imagine not having one of your senses– after you’ve already experienced the richness of life with the aid of that sense? I don’t think anyone would dream of giving up one of their sense organs! In this way, once you’ve opened to a new depth of life experience, you’d never dream of going back. Energy work practice is one way of cultivating this greater depth of life perception.

Energy work is also a practice of living honestly. You can’t fake it! (There’s no faking it!!) The body never lies when it comes to disclosing our truth and the ways in which we self sabotage. So, for folks aiming to live more in line with their values, energy work can be a tremendous aid. The nice thing about Reiki-style energy work, specifically, is that the practice is rooted in a love-based paradigm. When we rest our fears on this fundamental acceptance, love and understanding, it’s much easier to feel encouraged and supported in going forward. It helps one establish a foundation of trust—in one’s self, and in the workings of the universe at large.

Everyone, of course, would have their own reason for doing things. This post is not to suggest one thing or another, or to in any way be comprehensive; but I hope it will inspire you to imagine living life more colorfully, more meaningfully. If learning energy work speaks to you, great! If not, great! For me personally, Reiki has allowed me to fall deeper into my sense of self; and in listening more to my being, I’m better able to hear and respect others’ authenticity. It’s given me yet another tool with which to treat myself and others with kindness and to offer myself healing love and light. It’s taught me fear is not an effective motivator; it’s an effective captor. And, one day, when I woke up, I just decided I’d rather be free. Choice: That’s the power of waking up.

If you want to join us, you’re invited to a 9-week course for beginners in Reiki energy work at the Seattle Buddhist Center in Northgate. The class starts April 17 and runs through Jun 12, Wednesdays, 6:30 – 8p. For course content, visit Classes; to register, visit Enroll; to read what students have been saying, read Reviews. Or if just want to enjoy some great videos (including Mister Rogers remixed–yes!!), feel free to peruse my Reiki I Class Video Resources.