|photography by Emilie Rudy|
My first exposure to the concept of energy work was while in massage school. My class had a guest lecturer on the subject. I remember thinking very dismissively of the presenter, she seemed like a total kook! She was attempting to teach us how to see auras and I was very cynical about the whole deal, I openly challenged her in front of the entire class. I just didn't buy it but the truth is I didn't know much of anything at all! I was being foolish and arrogant to think that such a thing was unreal, I just had yet to experience it.
Now that I am much older and wiser (ha), I have determined that there are a least three different categories of energy work. The most basic way that a human being does energy work is by interacting with other humans, plants and animals. We are exchanging energy in our emotional interactions. Just consider for a moment how if you are around someone who is being mean and hateful, you might notice that you have been altered by the exchange. Consider how it feels to be around someone who is warm, open and loving. Our very nature is energy exchange and we wield an awesome power. Unfortunately, it seems to me that most people are unaware of their power and there is quite a bit of unskillful use of this power going on here on Earth.
Another way that human beings can do energy work is to use chi building exercises. Using conscious breathing techniques, visualization and postures or forms one can make a concerted effort to harness life force energy for their own benefit. One can also learn how to project that harnessed energy to another for mutual use. Some examples of this type of practice include Thai Chi, yoga, hara breathing, Qi Gong etc. Mantak Chia is a well known teacher and author on the subject of this type of energy work.
The third way that energy work is done is through use of spiritual beings or "source energy" and this is the type that I had the most resistance to, of course. Even after experiencing this type of energy work several times I still had a huge wall up to the idea that one could channel spiritual energy. It wasn't until after I experienced Kundalini rising that I could let my mind open to the possibility of God (for lack of a better word to describe the awesome power of creation...) and the normal human ability to access that power. I'll tell you about some of my experiences with this type of energy work.
The year was 2004, I was about 22ish and I answered an ad displayed in a coffee shop, something about being desirous of healing. The guy on the other end of the phone call told me that he was graduating from the Barbara Brennan School of Healing Science and that he was offering free sessions to anyone who might be interested, it was a requirement for graduation to work with some random people. I had no idea what the Barbara Brennan School of Healing Science was all about but it didn't matter, I was into exploring new ideas.
I arrived at the appointment and a very nice looking man, about 30 greeted me at the door. He explained how I would lay on the massage table fully clothed, face up and he asked if it would be all right if he touched my feet and some other non invasive places on my body. I made myself comfortable with a blanket up to my chin, closed my eyes and took a few neat breaths. A moment passed when the man asked me if I had felt that. Curiously, I had felt that.
That felt like a cloud blanket had been pulled up over my body but there was not another blanket, he had simply moved his hands which were a few inches away from my body, from my feet to my head. "Good," he said and then began about an hour where I felt completely dissolved, the confines of my skin no longer existed and I found myself in what could only be described as a river of rainbow light. I felt as vibrant and radiant as the light, ab.so.lute.ly freaking gorgeous! I remember thinking that I never wanted this feeling to end.
The effects of the "energy healing session" lasted for a week and would have probably kept on giving had I not decided to fall back into some bad habits. I called the guy up and asked him if we could do more work. We ended up doing seven more sessions but it was all dialogue, no more energy work. I found the appointments useful, they catalyzed a lot growth for sure. I had a strange dream shortly after receiving the first session.
It was me at the age I was then, 22ish. I'm with a kindergarten class at the top of the Statue of Liberty when the earth quakes. The children fall to the floor in the tremor. A little girl with white blond hair is crying, I go to her. I hold her in my arms with my hands over her heart and belly. Light pours out of my hands, filling the room with beams of bright white light. When I wake up I have my hands over my heart and belly.
After the dream I started to experiment with "exhaling through my heart and hands" during my massage sessions. I don't think I read it anywhere, it's just something I found myself doing. My clients would say they could feel some energy and I had no idea what they were talking about. Breathing that way just made it easier and more fun to do the session. It let all of the kinetic energy of the massage flow through my body like water.
It would be several years before I experienced energy work again and even more years before I accepted the possibility that human beings could channel energy from a spiritual source. Even after receiving several sessions of energy work where I experienced profound sensations of energy moving, leaving and arriving in my body, I was STILL being cynical and so I reminded myself of what I always say: I don't have beliefs, I have experiences. Until I experience something I am open to the possibility that it might exist rather than closed. I decided to be open to the spiritual energy work and stepped through a doorway into a world where anything is possible and we can rewrite our stories to change the course of our lives with the profound and simple power of intention and connection to the divine through our hearts.