What is subtle energy?
It is the intuitive language of the body that penetrates and extends many feet beyond our skin.
It is the essence of who we are—a subtle vibration underlying everything physical, both living and inert. Some of us may see it more easily, while others may feel it.
To Hindu mystics, it’s known as shakti. Chinese medical practitioners call it chi. It’s the radiant light that seers throughout the ages have reported.
Even Western medicine is starting to catch on. An exciting new sub-specialty has emerged: energy medicine.
Let’s look at energy in terms of your everyday life. Have you ever met someone at a party and liked her immediately? It wasn’t so much what she said or did, but how wonderful she felt to be around. Or maybe there was a time you were working on a project with a man who seemed perfectly nice, but you always came away feeling drained? You were responding to another person’s energy.
In a very real way, the energy people give off can have an influence on keeping you well. You can’t interact with someone without having this reciprocal exchange. Whenever possible, surround yourself with others who feel good to be with, who nurture you, not those who zap you dry. Your body is constantly processing energy, fine-tuning itself to people, places, and situations.
How can knowing about energy keep you healthy? To get a better idea, we need to zero in on the dynamics of how illness works.
Let’s slow down the entire process. Begin to see illness as a progression—it never just appears out of the blue. Look at it this way: energy-wise, by the time a heart attack, stroke, or migraine “hits” (so-called acute illnesses), you’ve already traveled far down an illness’s course. Subtle shifts precede cellular change. The secret is to catch imbalances in your body long before you have pain or a full-blown disease.
To do this, attend to the quieter signals your body sends—energy warnings that may occur before any obvious physical cause: feeling off for any reason, emptiness, numbness, exhaustion, or mysterious aches and pains. Notoriously elusive, these generalized symptoms often defy ordinary explanation. Nonetheless, to feel well, you need to know what’s causing them.
To detect imbalances in yourself, you need to realize that energy, in its simplest form, is something we initially perceive as vibration. It’s so subliminal, we often miss it. I want to share with you, from my book Guide to Intuitive Healing, the way I tune into energy, so you can get used to it. I practice this technique every day.
Body Scanning Exercise
Close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths and relax.
Find a comfortable position. Gently focus your attention only on your body. How does it feel? Notice any physical discomfort, or areas that are at ease. Get a baseline.
Then try to pick up your subtle energy. Ask yourself: Do I have any waves of tingling or buzzing anywhere? Rushes of heat, cold, or goosebumps, totally unrelated to the outside temperature? If so, can I pinpoint the specific organ involved? Can I sense in it a particular feeling of well-being or vibrancy? Or does it feel flat, depleted, ill?
You may perceive energy as a hum, a color, a quivering in your throat. These may show up in surprising locations—your sinuses, ears, liver, or spine. Some parts of your body may feel alive, especially sensitive, while others feel dull, aching, or numb. Let your imagination go wild. Notice how these sensations vary.
You may feel things in places you never even knew existed. This is good. You’ll get to know your body well, which is a positive start to prevention.
Practice. Practice. Practice. Discerning such fine energy takes time. Meanwhile, your mind will help you out. It constantly translates vibration into forms you can more easily recognize, like imagery and emotions. Patients have shared with me striking descriptions: the accountant who felt as if a steel rod was shooting down his back or the young girl with a black cloud over her heart. You may have experienced similarly powerful images.
Or how about this? Have you ever experienced the strange feeling that parts of your body are congested, blocked, or shut down with no physical evidence to support it? That sadness is bottled up in your liver, or there’s anger in your joints? These are ways subtle energy speaks to you and offers leads about your health. As an intuitive, I’ve trained myself, my patients, and my workshop participants to tune in at this level. And I believe everyone can do so, too.
Adapted from Guide to Intuitive Healing: 5 Steps to Physical, Emotional, and Sexual Wellness by Judith Orloff, MD.
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