We can all locate places of tension, soreness or other sensations within our bodies. Sometime these sensations are associated with emotions like sadness, fear, joy or happiness. They may also signal emotional states like the heaviness of depression, the churning sensation of anxiety or vibration of excitement. With a little practice you can also perceive something else that part of these sensation, something many call energy. This is not the energy of physical motion or electricity, it is more like a metaphorical fluid that ties together changing sensations, physical cues, other perceptions, emotions and cognition.
Energy is a perceptual framework
The perception of energy is like the perception of flowing water. If you put your hand into a stream with your eyes closed, you may feel changes in temperature and pressure and the impact of bubbles and material carried by the water on your hand. If you did not know about water and its properties you might perceive all of these sensations as separate and disconnected. Because you know about water you can infer that all of these sensations are connected and they are telling you about the speed and direction of water flow and its temperature and turbulence. Knowledge of water provides a framework for interpreting sensation. Knowledge of energy can do the same.
You can get information about energy – what emotions are related to it – by placing your awareness deeply in a sensation and feeling it. Ask yourself what does this feel like? With practice you can learn to take the step from simply feeling the energy to reading it; to be able to perceive, through your body, by feel, what the energy is “saying”.
Here’s an example: You probably recognize fear as a tight feeling in your belly. Or maybe you can just feel an uncomfortable tight feeling in your gut and you don’t know what it is at all. Next step – put your awareness right in the middle of the tightness. Feel into the very center of it. If the emotion starts to bother you, step back from it and then try again, relating to this energy thing as a phenomenon. Reading the energy means feeling deeply into the tightness and feeling the qualities of it. Right off, you may be able to know: this is fear. Keep your awareness there and just feel the particular qualities of this fear: is it intense, minor, old, frantic?
When you acknowledge what you find in yourself, and you name it accurately, it will change. Sometimes the energy will soften or sometimes it will get more intense. The change tells you you are correct in your identyfying thought. Learning how to get even more information about you and this fear you have takes stilling your mind and waiting for your awareness to bring the information to you.
Achieve a quiet mind
The use of your mind is very different in this process than at other waking, problem solving times. Trying to figure this out will only get in your way. When people ask me ”but what can I do with my brain?!” I tell them “have your brain just wait.” Stilling your mind means having your brain just wait.
Reading your body’s energy gives you direct access to self knowledge. Emotions are only a part of what you can discover about yourself in your energy field. Beliefs, thought patterns, your history, and other personal truths are also recorded there.
Listening to your body
There are many ways that having access to this kind of self knowledge can be useful. A certain question may occur to you as you go along in your life. Perhaps a problem keeps showing up in different forms. If you listen to your body, your energy will tell what the problem is really about. You’ll discover how this issue connects to things you already know about yourself, and you can even be directed to what to do next in the real world outside. As you become skilled at keeping track of yourself in relation to your world around you, the unfolding path of your life can become clearly lit.
Once you learn to connect in this way to what really going on with you, you can follow the movement of the energy to show you what is the right next step. These “right steps” are a part of your growth or healing process which is unfolding, all the time, within you. You are a whole person with full potential already existing inside you. Working through your fear, for example, allows love to grow and liberates your courage. This self expansion can also be experienced in your energy field.
This inner process is directed by your spiritual nature. As such it can bring you to satisfaction and fulfillment as it guides you to becoming who you truly are.