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

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!