This article on Finding (and keeping!) True Well-being through Energy Practices briefly explains the what and the why of “energy clearing.” And by giving you some ideas about the “how,” my hope is that you will seek out some guidance to learn these practices, as tried and true methods with an experienced guide are always most beneficial.
Why should anyone who is breathing learn and practice energy work? The quickest answer comes from another question: do you always rest in natural great peace, maintaining equanimity no matter what is happening around you, or do events, your thoughts, emotions and physiology rock you, a little or alot, like a small boat on a large sea? Most humans I know sit in the latter category, unlike my teacher, Tsoknyi Rinpoche, a Tibetan lama, who maintains great ease and cheerfulness because of years of spiritual practice, including energy practices and meditation.
Energy Practices, of which I have made a partial list below, have great benefits for many reasons, and can be applied for the maintenance of a healthy lifestyle. But these days, most of us don’t actually have a truly sane way of living and relating on the planet, and we are seeking out transformation. Let’s face it, and all the great healers are in agreement, in order for the deepest kinds of transformation to occur, there must be some process of clearing—releasing/dissolving/surrendering/dying—first. If we then support ourselves by shifting and healing our energy body, on a case by case basis, we have a much better chance of not “sliding back” to old energy patterns which show up in the mind, body and emotional life, but can truly move forward into new territory, mentally, physically and spiritually.
These days we all hear the word “transformation” bandied about constantly in the world of healing, psychology, fitness, meditation-yoga, relationship, etc, and we may just glaze over and not consider what that means in one’s own life. But if you are like me, you think, “I do want to transform certain things in my life or myself, so tell me how that actually takes place?!” I remember one moment in particular regarding that question which was very challenging: I was a nervous wreck, hiding out in my office many years ago during a full-blown flight response, with the police literally on their way due to a dog-walking infraction gone sadly wrong. I was unable to think clearly or calm myself down, and completely incapable of creating the necessary shift within me to handle the situation well. “There has to be another way through this,” I thought, but I can’t think of what that might be…” In the aftermath of the event that triggered me, I became totally committed, after 33 years of trauma-induced reactivity, to plumbing the depth of that kind of sympathetic response in my nervous system so I could understand it fully. I was ready and willing to try anything, and eventually, through specific choices and practices, a deep clearing of the “pain body” that was held in my energy body came to pass. Transformation occurred. But how?
The verb “to transform” implies a major change in form, nature, or function, with nothing implied about the act, process or instance of transforming. So we are left with trying to create change either by utilizing methods that have proved effective in the past (I will use will-power to override old habits and create new ones), seeking out council to learn other ways to approach change, or experimenting with an open stance and discovering a different path on our own.
Yet, if we aren’t clear about what fundamentally is the root of our problem, we will expend alot of time and energy trying to change things that may ultimately not create much difference in our lives. Through trial and error, we come to understand that seeking out the advise of someone who has successfully navigated both a path of inquiry into the nature of things (specifically, what my particular problem is), as well as attaining positive change, is the surest way to succeed in one’s own quest. A long while back, the ancient yogis noted that learning both the pitfalls of the path (what to avoid), as well as effective practices that “cut through” the mind’s deep patterning and resistance to change, are extremely helpful in attaining one’s destination. So what are the means by which “clearing” occurs?
At this point, I could turn to the classic example of the caterpillar turning into a butterfly, even though it isn’t the most precise metaphor. With the caterpillar there is an actual dissolving process; an old structure is cleared away, and a new form emerges (literally feeds upon) from the “death” of the old. This is hopeful news for those of us interested in psycho-spiritual development. We glean that all that has made up one’s life, all past experiences and habits, various “inner selves,” traits and even neurosis, which have formed specific energy patterns in the physical and subtle bodies, are welcomed and digested as the fuel for shifting our perception, and therefore our intentions, choices and actions.
The best and safest way that I have personally found to engage in longterm transformation is through Clearing Practices that work with the subtle vital energies. In the Hindu yoga tradition, the subtle pathways of energy are known as nadis, and there are many different breathing exercises (pranayama) that open and shift the way energy (prana, chi, lung) is flowing through the nadis. With added visualizations, one can really clear toxic thoughts or emotions, some even stored in the tissues themselves. In the Taoist tradition from ancient China, the awareness of chi flowing in the meridians brought about both the development of exercises that effectively shift one’s chi, “Qigong”, as well as acupuncture and acupressure. And why did the ancients feel it necessary to control one’s vital energy flow? Since Taoists are very interested in what is termed Internal Alchemy, the Taoist practitioner trains the mind to enter into long states of meditative stillness. What they know well, and what is easy to detect with only a few minutes of experimentation oneself, is how the thought-waves of the mind are affected by one’s internal energies, and how the chi affects both one’s breathing and thinking. Calming the energies slows one’s breathing and stills the mind. And with a still mind, according to all the studies, one’s stress levels are drastically reduced. Once we clear a good amount of our stress, we are far more able to look at ourselves, our choices, our trajectory in life, and assess where we are now and where we want to go (no matter “who” we once were or wanted in the past). Energy clearing allows us to rest in meditative stillness, so that we may contemplate more fully our unique position, and make important decisions about how to focus on what’s important during this lifetime.
These clearing practices have been essential in my own life. I initially entered into the practice of Hatha Yoga as a dancer interested in the movement aspect of yoga, but with my very first class I subconsciously sensed an important path for the healing of various traumas that occurred over many years during my teens and early twenties. But it took me a long time to realize that I needed more help in dealing with all my mental, emotional and relational obscurations, including addiction. Fast forward through decades of therapy and continuous practice of yoga, meditation, energy work, sound healing, prayer, visualization, and the principles contained in the 12 Steps, I have transformed that trauma body-mind into an “Abode of Joy,” (…funny that I unwittingly foreshadowed my great inner change by giving that very name to my first yoga studio. A true case of wish-fulfillment!) Not that my transformation is complete in any way! I still have strong reactions and emotions that can be challenging to work with. But as I get older, I have become totally committed to sharing the importance of these practices, as they truly clear the way for deep transformation to occur.
In a nutshell, Clearing Practices include:
- Time in Nature, including conscious gardening. Being in nature automatically helps our nervous systems re-set, but if we are struggling with real mood problems, only a brief respite might be experienced. The following practices, if done in nature, provide a double-whammy, but can of course be done indoors to very good effect.
- Breathing exercises (also combined with specific visualizations or mantras) to open and cleanse the nadis
- Meditation/visualization on the energy centers known as chakras, and/or the energy flow within the organs and meridians
- Attentive, precise physical movement exercises that pay close attention to energy flow: Tai Chi, Qigong, Hatha Yoga
- Chanting, toning and singing that stimulate and clear the physical and energy bodies
- Uplifting and inspirational stories, poems, including traditional prayers and invocations
- Various meditative experiences that can be targeted through specific techniques or that occur spontaneously
- Conscious sexual practices, sexual healing
- Drumming, humming, playing music, moving/dancing!
- Shamanic journeying, and other astral travel that is securely grounded
- Focusing technique (a psychotherapeutic approach) in the tradition of Eugene Gendlin. http://www.focusing.org/newcomers.htm
- Psychotherapy that has a clearing aspect to it: Gestalt, Body-oriented, Emotionally-focused, Mindfulness-based…
Here are some resources to consider, whether with me or another teacher/group:
1) Workshops/classes or one-on-one sessions exploring Taoist and/or Tibetan practices for grounding and clearing.
2) Yoga workshops that target the chakras, energy body, healing visualizations.
3) A simple “stillness practice” called the Celestial Gate Meditation (contained in a fabulous article by the amazing Tom Kenyon—check out his whole website!!)
4) Sound healing workshops, including gong and Tibetan bells, music “baths,” Music/singing for Healing (classes/events)
5) Seeking out the company of an enlightened teacher (darshan), to raise your vibrational energy through mere presence in the sangha (community)
Please feel free to comment or ask me a question via email or phone. I look forward to continuing to share what I’ve learned from these important traditions that contain such depth and heart. May you experience sukha—or, Good Energy (the opposite of suffering) always!
Copyright 2015 Kat Allen, All rights reserved.