Most children Intuitively play with Energy – in fact they don’t even realize that they are doing it till at some point they learn to mentally identify the fabric of their playground and toys as ‘energy’. I was no different as a child. As my ‘understanding’ grew however, and with it my vocabulary, I realized that there were some things that did not have enough counterparts in the world of words to process express. Such things could then only be processed privately in a way that my own thinking was also excluded from the process – because you see my thinking was made up of words most of the time. I could ‘feel’ it sometimes but it could not become a shared feeling for lack of ways to express it. Sometimes in art I used to find a middle ground – a possibility to share rich and varied mixes of energies which some others could then pick up and experience. I enjoyed such energetic communions immensely with my mother and she and I would share exquisite moments of transcendence with each other. We shared through flower arrangements, dance, art and craft – experiences that words and touch were not rich enough as mediums to convey.
I remained a dreamer in what I called my ‘other world’ which could never be shared, and a sharp intellectual thinker in school and other forums. I was driven by logic when I used my intellect, and by intuition when I played in my ‘other world’. As a child who had a great need for acceptance and someone who greatly valued the approval of others it worked for me to keep these worlds apart.
I was intuitively led to natural forms of meditation like, chanting, flame gazing, sun basking, communion with the moon, and sitting still with nature. I used to dissolve naturally into a trance and I found this to be an awesome ‘way of being’, but I told myself this is was my private experience which I could enjoy only in secret while I also had to go and live in the ‘real world’.
When I was seventeen, I did my first course in Reiki (a Japanese energy healing technique). My thinking had been hardened by then – trained and entrained by rigorous scientific and mathematical ‘thinking’. But ‘Reiki’ was Reiki! Pure Life Force Energy in flow, and it found ways to flow through and amidst all that hardened intellect. I am hugely grateful for the energetic attunements by my Reiki teacher at that point – because that was the beginning of my two separated worlds coming back to dance in oneness. However, most of the time during my Reiki class, I was part of the sceptic group (in public). I had a few school friends doing the class with me and we would talk and analyze and critique the teacher. I remember going into the attunement sessions wondering if it was some superstitious pagan ritual meant to make the teacher appear more powerful than us. I had a thousand intellectual doubts, and I was also very afraid of being cheated, controlled, or manipulated. Yet, the Reiki flowed – independent of my apprehensions and misgivings, independent of my judgements of the teacher, independent of my judgements of Reiki even – for Reiki was Reiki! Pure Life Force Energy in Motion.
I was introduced to the ‘Reiki’ Modality as a healing modality, and like a ‘good student’ I used it only as a healing modality for the next several years – that too sparingly. I now giggle and wonder at my own naivety – why did I confine my ‘Reiki’ tools as something that would be pulled out only when there was a physical ache or pain to be addressed. I could have used the Reiki tools for so much more. I could have experimented so much more. But hey, our brains work by creating ‘models’ of everything and then processing experiences and capabilities and resources in the context of those models. So for me Reiki had been introduced as a ‘Method of Healing’, and as a seventeen year old I thought that only the physical body needed healing and so I used ‘Reiki’ for just that.
The second point that might have limited my usage of the Reiki tools was that I was harbouring a lot of fears and apprehensions about Reiki at that time – some my own, and some those of people around me. I was living in a small town of Jamshedpur (where if you picked any two people at random they could quickly identify a third person that they knew in common). Our town had gone through a huge ‘shock’ a few years earlier because of a fire accident that had claimed many lives and injured and scarred several others, – including me and my sister. The Reiki modality came to Jamshedpur at a time when the city was still recovering from this brutal experience. My Reiki teacher himself was someone who had lost his own wife and child tragically during the fire accident. As more people started attending reiki classes and experimenting with the techniques, stories started circulating around about seemingly miraculous healings and recoveries. As the stories of the miracles got more and more attention, the related conversations of scepticism and judgment also grew in number and intensity. The colony I was living in almost seemed to be divided into three camps. The believers, the non-believers, and those who believed in energy healing but had views and judgments on the way it was being taught and propagated. I was in all three camps, changing my views and stance depending on who I was interacting with.
After Reiki, I went on to learn and experiment with several mind-body-energy practices – some of which are parts of established schools with large followings, and others which are lesser known but taught by individual teachers. Some of the well known practices I experimented with and learnt from include Patanjali Yoga, Self Hypnosis, Astral Projection, Sudarshan Kriya, Guided Visualizations, Chakra Meditation, Homeopathy, Bach Flower Remedies, Tonal Healing, Angel Therapy, Vipassana, Mindfulness, Past Life Regression, EFT, Pranic Healing, and Access Consciousness (the last of which is the modality I am playing with most at present). Now you might want to ask me, why on earth would I want to try out such a large number of modalities? A short answer to that question will follow later in the post, but it also merits a longer answer that will probably form the content of a future essay.
I do not claim to be any sort of expert on energy practices. However, over twenty years of non-sheddable fascination and relentless experimentation have led to a few personal takeaways for me. This post is about those takeaways and please do read them as my personal takeaways – not generic statements. Each of our learnings and experiences is unique to ourselves, and I am only sharing my own learnings here.
1) Learning and Experience go Hand in Hand
Physics was always one of my most favourite subjects. Possibly the one subject of study that could take me into a flow state even while engaging with with and through the intellect. I remember my initial excitement on reading about the rectilinear propagation of light and then experimenting with every source of light and object I could find for the next several days and nights to actually actually test that light (unlike us and other things that move) does mostly move in absolutely straight lines. Later lessons in reflection, refraction, and diffraction were to only take me into even higher echelons of awe and wonder. I guess one of the things I loved about physics was that it was very ‘here and now’ for me. Be it sound, light, floatation, gravity, wind, steam, flowing water or movement of wheels – these were all the engagements and fascinations of everyday life. Every new bit of learning from my physics lessons would sharpen my understanding and appreciation of these everyday subjects and empower me to play and engage with them with heightened awareness.
Physics was awesome fun but when I came to quantum physics I had my first real fight with my physics textbooks. “What are you trying to tell me here?”, I would scream in frustration and make faces at the uncooperative formulae that refused to let me in on their game. Eventually, I gave up and in the interest of passing my exams I decided to just agree with the textbooks that light could be both particle and wave at the same time. I cast my vote in blind support of string theory, and the idea of E=M*C^2, not because I agreed but because there was only one ruling party to vote for. I made a secret pact with Heisenberg that I would memorize his theory verbatim but at some point in my life he would have to come in my dreams and make me understand how an observer can influence the observed.
I don’t know if Heisenberg actually orchestrated my future experiences with energy, or if I myself did it but I have finally come to a place where my learning and experiences are dancing in sync once again. When I sit and meditate in sunlight I am able to simultaneously perceive light as (1) particles of sunlight that enter the spaces between the molecules of my body, and (2) a transmission of wave frequencies that are picked up by receivers built into my cells. I know from personal experience how the observer does indeed influence the observed, and more often than not I experience nature and life as an ongoing and dynamic exchange between matter and energy. In fact, in the world of energy quantum superpositions actually are more of a reality than the Schrodinger’s cat is likely to have us believe.
2) Understanding Something need not mean you are using it Effectively
This is almost a corollary of the previous point which is that learning by itself is not very useful unless it is translated consciously into experience. I am going to use a very simple analogy here. Most of us understand a bit about nutrition and that different foods have different qualities and this impacts our well being. For example, most nutritionists would agree that spinach has iron and vitamins and enzymes that most bodies can benefit from. Yet, just having this knowledge does not mean that everybody who knows it is making use of Spinach in the same way and allowing it to contribute to their health and bodies as much as spinach has the potential to. Spinach is just one example here, you can substitute anything else like sleep, water, rest etc. where you cognitively understand that something can help you but don’t necessarily use it in a way that it really helps you as much as it can.
My own experience with the energy practices has been similar. Even though I was learning various healing modalities and testing and experimenting with them the benefit I received from them and the healing I experienced at each stage has been limited by (a) my ability to trust the tools and put them to use (b) my willingness to actually receive the change or healing that is possible with each tool.
This might seem like a trivial point I am making but I really think that it is a very important point. I have met many people who are skeptical about the potency of energy healing modalities and they ask questions like, ‘If one can shift physical conditions by shifting energy then why does xyz still have this problem, or why do you still have problems?’. While energy shifts are usually much faster than changes in solid matter (and so energy healing might appear to be a miracle) it is in actuality just a conscious and intended energy pattern change being set in motion by the healer. Because of this, just like any other modality of change, energy practices also need time and repeated effort (depending on the stickiness of the old pattern that one is trying to change), and willingness on the part of the patient to co-create that change. Further, there are a whole lot of other variables in play that might not be under control of the healer (or might not be something that is even capable of being addressed through that particular modality). However, the presence of other uncontrollable factors is not by itself (in my opinion) a good enough reason to not use energy practices for healing. Even in more conventional healing (allopathy for example), change and recovery is not ever guaranteed. All healing at the end of the day is only about facilitating the body (or mind) to heal itself (if the person concerned wants to and is willing to heal that particular condition).
3) No Absolute Rights and Wrongs – Even in Healing
This is possibly my greatest learning so far but it is also going to be the most difficult to express. Even as I am typing this there is a voice in my head that is saying, “Why even bother to explain something as nuanced as this. Just delete this point an
d move on the the next one.” Yet, I am going to try. I know each person reading this will interpret this in their own way, and it is possible that some of those interpretations might not be what I intend to communicate and yet I am going to write this point.
When I first learnt Reiki, I was very unwilling to use the tools on anyone else. Even with myself I was timid and restrained in how much I was willing to ask and allow the energy flow through me and create change in my body. My greatest fear was, ‘what if I do something wrong’? I carried this half baked reluctance and fear into other modalities as well in the years to come – I was afraid that I would mess things up for me or for others. Because of this my own experience with healing incidents mostly belonged to a particular category. They were times when there was an emergency, or a crisis, and somehow I would leave my thoughts behind and just surrender with a helping intention. At these times I could heal both myself and others and I have experienced some amazing turnarounds in front of my very eyes. At most other times I have been more worried of doing something wrong, rather than trusting that I could do some good. Therefore I have mostly chosen to just let things be – leaving it to nature (as I would rationalize in my mind), and in doing so sometimes even separate myself and my own free will from nature itself.
There was a time in my life when I had chosen to not practice any energy modality and I chose to rely on prayer alone – so convinced was I that I would only mess things up further if I intervened in any condition. Adding to the fear that I might worsen someone’s condition instead of helping them was my own experience that healing often happens in layers and that catharsis is often a part of recovery. This is something I was willing to put myself through (and sometimes did), but I did not want to do it with anyone else. During the stage of catharsis and letting-go it can often seem like the condition is worsening. I could not decide if this temporary (but often worse off) condition was something I would want to put others through. Secretly, I was also very very afraid of being blamed for an apparent worsening of somebody’s condition.
Sandwiched between my fears and my philosophy I almost never practiced any healing modality on anyone other than myself. Exceptions to this have been first aid treatments during treks and other emergencies when there is no access to conventional medical help. Some other exceptions have been my son, my mother, and close family members (that too once in a while) – and at these times what I have done has mostly been done only to create immediate relief. Once the condition is bearable I leave them to themselves.
Even today, I do not have a firm stance with regard to one person ‘healing’ or facilitating ‘healing’ for another. Given my lack of firm stance, coupled with my strong leaning towards ‘free-will’, and my super strong belief in an absolutely benevolent universe I am more prone to letting things be unless I feel a strong inner urge to intervene somewhere.
4) ‘Magic’ is actually Just Another Label
When I was a kid, the word ‘Magic’ used to turn me on like nothing else. The frameworks of this reality were far too rudimentary for me to make sense of my own experiences and so whenever I heard the word Magic I used to gravitate towards that possibility. It felt like everything that could not be explained by the words that this reality was using had just been lumped under the umbrella term ‘magic’. I still like the word ‘magic’ and I use it often. To me it represents everything which we have not yet created theories to test scientifically and language to express coherently.
Last week however, I had a wake-up moment with regard to the word magic. While chatting with my nine year old son I realized that the way he had understood the word ‘Magic’ was as perception tricks that entertainers on stage use to impress and amuse their audience. Indeed he does have an amateur ‘magic trick set’, and he has done a couple of magic shows for friends and family. The wakeup moment for me came when he looked at me with his quizzical eyes and said, “But mummy, magic is not real”. My son is very logical and in most of our conversations his logical prowess usually beats mine. I realized in moment that indeed, Magic could not also be Real. ‘Magic’ and ‘Real’ are both words that we have coined as a society and usually we use the word Magic to denote something that is not Real! So what is the Magic that I have been believing in all these years?
The first time I could consciously direct the flow of Reiki energy it felt like magic. Now it feels like a way of living. The first time I felt particularities in another person’s aura and had another person in my pranic healing class validate that independently, it felt like magic. In the advanced pranic healing classes, this is taken for granted. The first time I healed my mother’s knee pain and she walked back in ease to the car it felt like magic to her. Now she does her own energy healings. The first time I did a past life regression for a particular issue and got clarity on it, it felt like magic. Now it just feels like insights from a handbook of my own personal history. So what is Magic?
The truth is that because energy is mostly invisible, non-audible, and non-feelable unless one practices feeling it, it often gets labelled as magic. If energy healing is magic, then so is electricity, and so is radiation, and so are the musical notes that weave their way to our homes through radio transmissions. Also since energy moves very fast, changing an energetic pattern can often be much faster than changing the physical form associated with that pattern. Just because of it’s speed of influence energy modalities sometimes feel like non-real and therefore we call it Magic.
My most recent learning therefore is that Magic, is also just a label and at the end of the day just a word. As a word, it turns some people on – it makes them dream, hope, light, buoyant and playful. As a word, it turns some people off – it makes them sceptical and judgemental and closes their minds and bodies from experiencing anything further. If you have read about or known witches and healers being burnt at the stakes the word Magic might also make you fearful and put your defence barriers up. Why not look beyond the word then, and see how you can directly engage with energy without any labels of it being ‘real’ or it being ‘magic’?
5) Not Following any particular path can also be ‘The Path’ for some people
This last takeaway is also the one closest to my heart because if it were not for this takeaway, I would not even had had the courage to write a post like this. For years together my default stance used to be that there was ‘something wrong with me’. So deeply was this belief rooted that it was the basic lens through which I made sense of most of my learnings and experiences. I was always on the lookout for how I could fix my own wrongness, and then when I could not fix it I would make myself wrong again. Not only would I make myself wrong, but I would also make wrong my own search, the very desire to search, the experiments, the classes, the learnings and my lack of being able to find an answer to correct that ‘wrongness’. Endless loop right?
I also had someone very close in my life who continuously made fun of my search and constant experimentation and he used to mock me for moving from one modality to another. I was called shallow, restless, impatient, fickle, and dissatisfied. I was blamed for not being diligent enough to stick to any one path and devote myself to it.
In all earnestness, I did try to stick to one path – and usually I followed one path at a time – until I heard about another modality and that would arouse my curiosity further. I also joined some spiritual groups along the way and in each group I tried to completely surrender to the Guru in charge. Sometimes I even felt like I had surrendered to a Guru, but then life would come dancing along in her varied hues and colours and my chosen path would feel like a one dimensional highway in a rich and multidimensional field. Enchanted I would leave the highway and wander into the grass-fields to experience and discover more.
These days I am playing with the tools of a modality called access consciousness. One of the basic tenets in access is to break free of all kinds of judgement and instead ask questions. One of the questions that created a huge shift for me was to ask ‘What’s right about me that I’m not getting’. I cannot explain the huge energetic relief I felt when an access facilitator first asked me another powerful question, “What if what you think is your wrongness is actually your strongness?”
Maybe because I have not stuck to any one path I am not yet enlightened or I am not a professional healer – but I am what I am. By the sheer number of hours spent in experimenting with energy and due to the sheer number of modalities I have learnt, tried and practiced, what I have become by default is a researcher in the space of Energy Modalities. And that’s been quite a fun journey for me.
If you are also someone who has been playing with energy then I would love to hear back from you about your own experiences. If you have not consciously experimented with energy so far consider this an invitation to explore life through more dimensions than you have programmed your mind to accept and process. You most probably were doing it as a kid before you started conditioning your mind to think through things. Jump into it without any fear and judgment (like you did as a child) and you will find that rather than being like an alien experience it feels more like actually coming home.