There’s certainly no one-size fits all structure for assessing life, but when it comes to looking at the relationships, conditions, environments and situations of our life that create stress in our bodymind, sometimes a simple framework is useful to begin sorting things out.
It’s an art to become objective about our subjective human experience.
In becoming objective, we reach beyond the emotions that charge the body with feeling sensation–that emotional energy that challenges us and can limit our perspective. This shift can:
support us in processing and healing the unhelpful energies in our life
help us to use emotion for what it’s meant to do–guide us
discern which people, places, things and conditions are life-giving
assess which energies are life-depleting
give us some elevation over the limitation of stress and perceive possibility we didn’t know existed
Naming things is powerful medicine.
Energy medicine teaches us that we tend to have 4 responses to stress. Knowing these can help us to remove biases and conditioning as we evaluate the impact of stressors in our life. As we develop clarity and evolve beyond crisis, chaos, overwhelm, emotional traumas, anxiety and depression, we see that these 4 responses are also 4 choices, and that we can be the conscious creator of our life by selecting whichever best serves our life in the moment.
The fight response is in place to save our life. We fight to defend our being. The problem is, in chronic stress or with cultural conditioning, our filters and perspectives about what’s truly life-threatening become clouded.
Are you feeling resistance in your physical body? Do you feel yourself tense up around certain people or in certain environments? Are you frustrated or angry a lot of the time and you’re not even sure why? These sensations may be a sign that your mindbody complex is in a chronic state of fight-or-flight.
In this state, we are forced into survival mind and we tend to think our problems can only be solved with sheer power–body-to-body or matter-to-matter. We have to push, shove, manipulate, work harder, endure more grief, and grow more and more fatigued while getting worse results.
If we never elevate ourselves out of the emotions that compel us to fight with the people and conditions around us, our choices and perspectives are limited.
Fight state is not a creative state of mind, and if we are conditioned to fight, our brain might not even recognize an obvious alternative immediately before us. In this state-of being–operating from this level of mind–we are vigilant, waiting for the other shoe to drop even when there’s no real and imminent danger.
If we stay in fight-or-flight state-of-mind long enough, we can lose our sensitivity to the body’s subtle signals that are always directing us to more comfort and less overwhelm.
As director of the body, we can heal our fight mind by taking time away from people and conditions that stress us, to give ourselves a new perspective, a new opportunity to become objective without the repetitious negative stimulation of unhelpful energies. Ideally, this time allows us to take steps, to assume self-responsibility and affords us time and space to identify choices and options we couldn’t see in chronic stress.
We can feed energies that are ultimately unhelpful for us through our unconsciousness, through our not knowing. Becoming conscious–becoming aware–of knowing what we don’t know is for most of us a very, very difficult task.
It’s very challenging in stress, or in the midst of a family, work or cultural difficulty to know what you don’t know, to be aware of something we’ve never experienced or embodied. This sounds obvious, but many of us blame ourselves for not knowing something once we do find it out.
“Feeding a problem” is contributing to increasing the energy of something that is not helpful to our well-being. I’m not going to name specific behaviors here, because life is complex and we stay in difficult situations for all sorts of reasons, but we can use this concept to evaluate our personal tolerance of and willingness to embody a continued involvement in “feeding” the things in life that cause stress.
Withdrawing your thoughts, di-vesting your emotions and even removing your presence from the people, conditions and environments that are unhelpful to your health are all powerful ways to recall your creative energy to you. Think of this as energetically feeding yourself–and self-loving act of self-preservation which may enable you to recall your valuable life-force energy back to you so you have energy to create the life you want.
Freedom in this sense can be either a mental act, an emotional act or a physical one–or it can be all three. To free ourselves from stress is to change our relationship to it.
Can you change the way you think about certain aspects of your life? Can you adopt new beliefs around it that don’t produce the same level of stress?
Can you change the way you feel about things? You can condition your body to better-feeling emotions by noticing the groups of sensations in your body which are a response to the conditions of your life.
What would it be like if you became more cognizant of and more effectively responsive to this guidance and used your energy to creatively rearrange your expectations, your resistance to and your acceptance of them?
I understand just how challenging or even impossible this work might seem, but just ask the questions and maybe a new possibility will reveal itself. Just know that everything is energy.
Your thoughts are energy.
Your emotions are energy.
What we are thinking and what we are feeling is creating our state-of-being.
We can bring more life force energy into your life by stopping thinking and stopping feeling about those things in our life that are out of our control, that don’t bring us peace, that don’t create harmony and which disrupt our heart.
We liberate energy by redirecting our thoughts and generating good feelings by spending time and energy on the things that bring us life.
To flow through life, to me is to embody mastery. I would define mastery as maintaining an inner state of peace and harmony throughout the ease AND amidst the difficulties of life, and remembering moment-to-moment that I have a choice.
Easier said than done, I know. That’s why meditation and medicine are called a practice.
To flow means to be aware, to live as awareness itself, recognizing the inner urge to fight, to feed, to free or to flow in the moment, and to be conscious about the choice to take whichever action preserves my life, my spirit, my integrity and my bliss in the moment.
If you’d like to learn more about how these and other energy medicine concepts can help your life, you can learn about my services here, and peek in on upcoming retreat offerings. The modalities of energy healing are forms of drugless wellness–no matter what you’re currently experiencing or what treatments you are receiving, they can do no harm. You can visit my upcoming classes and retreats page here.
It started out as an ordinary family holiday, everyone gathered in the kitchen, the happy din of chatter and laughter, people cooking, people playing games at the kitchen table. We eagerly anticipated the feast.
I was sitting at the table having a delightful conversation with a family member who was in her first year of college, and I remember I’d just asked the question, “So tell me, what are you learning at college that has nothing to do with what you’re learning in your classes?”
I love asking people her age this question, and really what I was seeking was to remember the mind of a 19-year-old, and to see how the world looked and felt like socially and culturally through their perception. My body was in relaxed, aware anticipation, at rest and ease while I awaited her response, expecting something that would satisfy and amuse me.
But on a dime, everything suddenly changed.
Another family member who I’d been close to all my life but with whom I’d had some serious struggles and conflict over the years, swung around from the counter where she was slicing onions and waved her huge chef’s knife back and forth in the air in front of my chest, finishing her gesture with target precision, pointing it at my heart.
She was standing a couple of feet away from me, and I didn’t consciously THINK she was going to stab me, but my body felt differently as she said with a kind of hostility and hatred that didn’t match the occasion, “You know, that’s the problem with you, you always have to…”
Alarmed, I stood up, trying to grasp how the energy of the moment had switched from peace to aggression in mere moments.
In a blur of utter confusion, unable to make rational sense of the difference between what my brain expected to receive and what it was receiving, I blocked out her words as she finished her sentence about whatever was wrong with me, and turned around nonchalantly, returning to her onions.
The Hormones of Survival
My nervous system had switched from peaceful ease to survival mode in an instant. My heart was pounding and felt outside my chest, adrenaline was rushing through my veins. My body said “run or you’re gonna die!” but my brain resisted: it presumed I was safe in a house full of people who were trustworthy.
Talk about conflicting messages!
My stomach clenched with nausea and my body was shaking all over. My legs felt simultaneously rooted to the floor and as if they had been knocked out from under me. I held onto the back of my chair and felt a little out of my body. I could feel myself shaking my head as if that would clear the webs of confusion out of my overwhelmed brain.
I could feel my blood pressure escalate and it felt like a portal opened in the crown of my head, that my life-force energy drained out there, leaving me light-headed. Weirdly my tongue felt like it spontaneously had swollen. I realized I was holding my breath and then gasped for air.
I managed to mobilize myself, moved into the next room and tried to regain my bearings.
In a semi-unconscious act of self-preservation for which I will always be grateful, I took out my phone and took a video of my own hand shaking and trembling wildly, and I recorded my voice saying, “Don’t you ever forget this. This is what she does to you. Don’t you ever, EVER forget this.”
The Problem of Vigilance
It’s taken a long and painful road to understand, unwind and heal within me the conflict in that relationship, but it has been one of my greatest lessons in life and I’m grateful for that.
The situation has helped me to see that chronic stress and dishonesty in a relationship can place us in a state of vigilance. This vigilance simultaneously keeps us alert to spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical danger AND unable to discern clearly and navigate skillfully within it.
The act of recording the physical evidence of duress in that single event allowed me to start the process of being honest about the true nature of the relationship beyond my biases and my conditioning.
With the knife event, the violence of our relationship reached an undeniable crescendo. In the past, this person had slapped me, yelled at me, resented me, threatened me, and ignored and withdrawn from me out of spite. They had been habitually both aggressive and passive aggressive toward me. But there were plenty of good times and laughs, too, and that created within me a kind of blindness, or a blind loyalty.
In truth and in hindsight, it created within me an unconscious but ultimately self-destructive tolerance that only I could heal, and which had less to do with her and more to do with me, my beliefs, my expectations, and my interpretation of her behavior.
I began to understand that she was a stimulus to which I had a habituated response.
Over the lifetime of the relationship, I had been neurologically primed and programmed to a cycle of vigilance, avoidance, tolerance and/or submission. Our shared history, her erratic, at times manic or depressed, volatile and aggressive tendencies, coupled with my inability to express myself, assert myself or set reasonable boundaries, left me on guard for anything—in good times and in bad.
That’s energetically unsustainable if the goal is wellness and wholeness.
Removing the personality and objectively looking at the behavior liberated me.
I understood that this person just embodied certain words and actions that produced within me an emotional reaction. Independent of whether or not they intended harm, my emotional reaction to their behavior was embodied within me, and it harmed me, no one else.
This was a wildly uncomfortable conclusion that didn’t happen overnight. It took a grueling number of years and more provoking events. I had to endure within me tremendous sadness and numerous cycles of painful grief as I mourned the loss of close family connection.
Overcoming decades of conditioning, I had to learn—to teach myself—to be dedicated to loving and caring for myself more than I was dedicated to upholding some belief agreement that didn’t support my life.
Tuning in to bodymind wisdom
My video helped me to begin the process of honoring my body’s interpretation of the experience without my brain’s conditioned analysis which caused an over-write of my spirit’s desire to thrive, not just survive.
My brain was firmly rooted in the illusion of and attachment to a false-and-limited belief of what I needed to tolerate as “normal family stuff,” at the expense of my own well-being. Formed long ago in my past, I unconsciously agreed to a definition of family without question. To my own spiritual, mental, emotional, and now, it would seem, potentially physical peril.
Our body is always offering guidance on what we should move away from or closer to, and we condition ourselves to override that guidance by over-analyzing the experience in our brain. Our culture is very mental-oriented. Often what we don’t realize is that over-thinking and over-analyzing is siphoning our attention and therefore our energy away from actually feeling the emotional energy, and therefore the body’s language, reducing our ability to effectively solve our problems.
A body of many brains
Energy medicine has taught me that we can view our nervous system as a series of “mini brains,” or intelligent centers of energy-information. Specifically, the nerve plexuses that emerge from our spinal column in our pelvis, sacrum, solar plexus, heart and neck are always responding to the energy and information of our life. They are always decoding and assessing the relevant benefits or threats of the people, places, conditions, and environments of our life. If we just attune our awareness to them and use our brain for what it’s meant for (decision-making) we’d feel less stressed.
The “mini brains” of our lower body are centers of consciousness and they are always assessing:
Am I safe and do I have permission to take up space?
Am I able to assimilate and do I have the permission to express myself?
Am I able to act and can I direct my life?
If these aren’t met, the body can respond with fight, flight, freeze or withdraw response—feeling pain or heaviness in the legs, lethargy, feeling antsy or numb. People might have symptoms of digestive disruption, chronic stomach aches or difficulty deeply breathing in this state-of-being.
Our heart is the center of our energy process and it’s always working to guide us to intuitive, inner truth and wisdom in love. It would be wise for us to feel and “think” with our heart, which is inherently guiding us toward what’s most loving to us. We know this when we feel soothing, harmonic peaceful sensations in our chest.
The “mini brain” of the neck and throat and the big brain in our head are about the enlightened consciousness of verbal expression, creating with love, connecting to the mystical, multidimensional meta-reality we are a part of, and connecting to cosmic, divine, life-giving energy.
Tuning in to the wisdom and guidance of the whole body helps us to become aware of the habituated responses we have developed over the course of our life. More conscious, objective awareness of the body’s assessment helps us question the dissonant or incoherent (unbeneficial) energy of the conditions, relationships, and environments we have unconsciously normalized.
Why energy medicine?
The exquisite beauty of energy healing is that it can heal and inform the head-brain in an instant what can take years to consciously work out through excessive and redundant thought. In energy healing, the flow of highly coherent universal life-force is increased, and as it moves through the body, it supports the body in processing the emotional energy stored in our cellular environment.
All energy carries information, and highly coherent energy is intelligent, organizing energy. When we rest and get our thinking head-brain out of the way, it can restore, reorganize, re-order and regulate us back into centered wholeness.
Healing begins when we give ourselves opportunities to get out of survival, and when we give ourselves permission—we love ourselves enough—to withdraw from relationships that keep us in a disordered vigilance and which diminish our wholeness.
It was a real epiphany to me the day I realized meditation wasn’t about stopping my thoughts or “watching them float across my mind like clouds across a sky,” as some suggest.
Not helpful! It was like a mental hurricane up there in my brain, the barrage of thoughts zipping and swirling, and the more I focused on quieting them, the more my body convinced me that my pursuit of mental silence was doomed. With my efforts an inevitable failure, I gave up, dissatisfied and frustrated.
Then one day out of the blue, it occurred to me thatmeditation is about focusing on something that’s not thought.
To me, this awareness makes meditation wildly easier than I ever imagined. It makes meditation something I look forward to every day. I daresay (insert huge gasp here!) I PLAY meditation like a kid plays outside in the sandbox.
Could it be possible that for you too meditation could be come something so fantastic that you’d look forward to doing it every day? That it could be no struggle? That it could change how you feel about your body and humanity in general? That it could improve your everyday state-of-being, your emotional regulation and your life? Effortlessly?
Dare to imagine that this could be true. And the only thing you need is your body, a curious mindset and some time!
Remember when you were a kid setting off to play you didn’t really have a goal? You just set off with the intention to have fun, and it didn’t really matter if you ended up lobbing a ball around in the yard, clashing sticks for hours with the neighbor kids in the woods out back, or horsing around in muddle puddles in the driveway in your new muck boots.
As kids we didn’t consciously have an objective or something to achieve–we found pleasure in non-doing. We just held onto this loose idea that we’d find something to occupy us, that it would be fulfilling on some level and that we would just loose ourselves in some mindless self-soothing that brought us joy for this now moment.
As adults now, we find ways to engineer these moments.
Remember Yourself as Oneness & Wholeness
In fact, meditation is a practice of becoming familiar with your unknown self. I say its the practice of getting to know our as-of-yet-not-fully-rediscovered Divine Self.
Yep, that’s a mouthful, but I don’t know how to say it more consisely.
For me, meditation is a practice that helps us peel back the layers of the Divine Self we forgot when we were born here on Earth. Some of us had contact with this Divinity within and around us as children, and we lost touch with it as we grew up, experienced life events and were taught to be limited, to be small and to conform to norms.
Some of us have no memory of our Divine Self, and through meditation, we discover the joy of remembering and bringing this new awareness into every aspect of our life.
I practice, teach and guide Yoga Nidra meditation. Yoga Nidra is state of consciousness, a state of relaxed awareness that opens a doorway between the conscious and subconscious mind. This is a mystical state-of-being in which we can interact with energy within and around us and have experiences that range from pleasant insights to massive spiritual epiphanies to radical spontaneous healings.
A hallmark of this practice–the healing and transformative power of it–is that where our attention goes, our energy flows. Its not novel, necessarily, because it’s how our whole life works: where our attention goes our energy follows. For example, you think about brushing your teeth in the morning and your body will follow that thought effortlessly to the bathroom sink.
What makes this phenomenon novel in the context of meditation is that our attention is CREATIVE POWER for healing, change and self-determination. Meditation practice supports us in every aspect of our life in moving from victim to creator.
If we want to transform your relationship with meditation and with the energy we embody, it’s super helpful to know about types of focus:
Convergent Focus–one center of focus; we flow all our attention to this one point and our awareness converges on the object of our notice.
Divergent Focus–open focus or awareness on space rather than an object; focus on more than one point or object of notice simultaneously.
Internal/Inner Focus–Focus on your body as space, as a container that energy and information move through, including the bio-field of electro-magnetic energy around your body in the space of your room.
External Focus–Focus on the non-physical and physical energy of things that are not your body and not your bio-field.
Forgetting to think
In meditation we are focusing on something other than thought. We might sit by the ocean and converge our focus on the waves lapping the shore or we may divergently gaze across the harbor and notice all the happenings within our direct and peripheral vision simultaneously. We might lay on the deck in the sun and focus our awareness on sensing and perceiving down into the space of our body so deeply that we simply forget to think.
These focus types are rich. There is no right or wrong here, and its not as if we are focusing correctly or incorrectly. It’s just valuable to know that you can choose. You can choose to shift your focus and your attention. And when we do this, when we step-by-step master this, we master our creative energy and greatly influence the direction of our life.
Could it be possible that through the practice of meditation you could fall madly in love with your very being? The unique expression of life that we call you? Maybe, even, is it possible you could discover that you’re a pretty magnificent?
This is the work I practice and teach, and if learning more interests you, it’s so valuable to set aside some one-on-one time to talk about what this can mean for you life and to develop skills in regulating your mental-emotional energy.
The retreats I lead are designed to help you build these skills quickly and to feel inspired by what’s within you and the greater reality that you are connected to. The modalities of energy healing are forms of drugless wellness–no matter what you’re currently experiencing or what treatments you are receiving, they can do no harm. You can visit my upcoming classes and retreats page here.
For years I thought meditation was about struggling to quiet my thoughts.
Suddenly one day, I understood that meditation isn’t about focusing on not thinking, it’s focusing on something that’s not thought. It’s about getting our awareness out of our head and placing our awareness on our bodymind, on our consciousness.
Before this epiphany I thought meditation was about technique: I sat up ramrod straight, legs twisted in the appropriate pretzel-like pose, motionless, breathing “properly,” holding fervently onto an intention.
Then one day my body just spoke, and on an impulse, I decided to listen to my own inner promptings rather than to what the world outside of me had told me to do.
I laid my body down.
Opening Up To Energy
During the months that followed that decision (and the years since) I have had some amazing inner experiences in meditation. I interacted with the energy within and around me and very cool things have happened.
And I’m not special: these things are available for us all because it’s who we are: we are biologically, neurologically, energetically and chemicallydesigned to have amazing inner experiences. Although I now understand a good deal of the science that explains what’s happening in meditation, I had no idea what was happening to me at first.
But it felt really good, and it was incredibly interesting, so I just kept at it.
I experienced feelings I can only describe as bliss or ecstasy flowing through my body and brain, I had sudden and complex epiphanies about my life which became my best guidance. I healed old emotional wounds within me by somehow spontaneously becoming aware of and reconciling them with no effort at all.
With eyes closed I could see amazing colors, living kaleidoscopes, and images that played out like movies in the “third eye” within my brain. I saw unfamiliar symbols pass through the space behind my brow and became aware of the connection of every person, every place, everything and every time as One. I even heard wisps of celestial music that were from some dimension beyond my room.
I know it sounds a little trippy, but I assure you these were drugless experiences, with the only chemicals involved being those naturally occurring in my body and brain.
As a healer I now know so many of us have these kinds of experiences, we just feel we can’t talk about them publicly because our culture isn’t very supportive, trusting or understanding of them. We are afraid we aren’t supernatural, be instead mentally ill or that we will be seen by others as mentally ill.
And by supernatural I don’t mean paranormal, I mean supernatural: outside of the “normal” range of perception and eminently real.
I think our supernatural and meditation experiences are inspiring and liberating and healing, and I have a strong desire to normalize sharing our inner experiences, because to reject them or to suppress them is to reject and suppress our wholeness.
A collective of Oneness & Wholeness
As a collective we are having all sorts of fascinating inner experiences and we deny or question the reality of them because we feel alone and we haven’t been taught that this is a normal biological, endocrinological, perceptual and spiritual reality of who we are.
Back when I changed my meditation practice from sitting to lying down, I didn’t have any language around what was happening to me energetically. I thought I’d stumbled upon something magical and that the whole world should know about. Then one day I exclaimed to a neighbor (who is well versed in the Eastern wisdom traditions) this fantastic discovery I made.
He just laughed and said, “Diana, that’s Yoga Nidra. People have been doing that for thousands of years.”
I was both amused with myself and affirmed! This exceptional experience was REAL! And I knew with all my heart I wasn’t special: anyone could do this…feel this goodness within the sanctuary of their own body.
Meditation means “to become familiar with,” and in Yoga Nidra we become familiar with our unknown Self and we learn that:
The body is an instrument of consciousness that is biologically and energetically designed to connect to the life-giving and loving intelligent energy that manifests everything—the meta-reality beyond what we experience through our 5 senses in the here-and-how
We are designed to connect to the energy of the all-in-all and to fearlessly participate in the creation of our life
The inner space within the body, no matter what it has experienced in the past, is actually the safest place in the Universe to Be
To linger as awareness in this sweet safe place is to flow more energy into our life
Lingering in the sweet space within you
Yoga Nidra is the art and science of lingering in the state of consciousness where the mind maintains a state of awareness and the body is relaxed, even asleep. It is a practice informed by the Mandukya Upanishad, a Sanskrit (Eastern Indian language) text of Hindu philosophy. Anyone can enjoy and adopt this practice, as ultimately it is a natural state of being that is beyond any religious affiliation.
In Sanskrit the term Yoga Nidra means “awake asleep.”
Many people find this ancient form of meditation practice naturally easier than sitting, standing or walking meditations. It is typically performed while lying down, supine, but it can be practiced reclining or sitting in a chair if lying down is difficult or uncomfortable.
In Yoga Nidra we learn to observe our body as space, as a sort of container through which all experience flows.Practicing this meditation—and energy healing modalities like Reiki—we may experience knowing ourselves more deeply as the awareness that is having this bodily experience, not as the stories of the past Earthly reality we so heavily identify with.
Suspending our awareness in the state of consciousness that is Yoga Nidra we are able to experience our inner being as the space through which thoughts, feelings, perceptions and beliefs flow and move. The practice cultivates relaxation, restoration and healing.
It is a state of consciousness in which the “doorway” between the subconscious and conscious mind opens and we may experience epiphanies or spontaneous spiritual, mental, emotional or physical healing. And it is the threshold beyond which we may experience mystical connection to the all-and-all of our Divine source.
Moving from doing to non-doing…from doing to Being
This meditation practice is often called the art of non-doing: of moving beyond the active mind that is conditioned to the habit of doing to get something/somewhere. Yoga Nidra is the experience of relaxing and observing the inner self as we enter a state of restful awareness. During this experience our brainwaves drop from higher frequency (cycles per second) to lower frequency, just as they do when we fall asleep, but in Yoga Nidra, we maintain an aware mind. Here’s a hierarchy of brainwave states:
Gamma and Beta, 12-100 cycles per second, where the brain is focused in problem-solving mode; busy and active (or overactive in anxiety) with attention placed on the external environment, to
Alpha, 8-12 cycles per second, a state of relaxed, restful, reflection and passive attention (like when you’re watching birds at your birdfeeder) to
Theta, 4-8 cycles per second, where the brain and body are drowsy, deeply relaxed and inwardly focused, to
Delta, .5- 4 cycles per second, where the body is dreaming or deeply sleep
Yoga Nidra is typically a guided meditation, but it is entirely possible to entrain and condition yourself into this meditative state through independent practice. Ultimately, we practice navigating through subtle realms of consciousness: we experience levels of mindful awareness in which we identify less with the known self and become aware of our unknown Self.
We move from a known and familiar consciousness (the story of our limited life) to greater unknown and expansive source Consciousness (the unlimited unknown.)
We experience ourselves less separate, less a “part” and more of the Whole, or as Wholeness itself.
The brain gears down through the brain wave states in Yoga Nidra and can spontaneously return to Gamma, as the inner experience of the meditator becomes as real or more real than any experience the body has had in 3-dimensional reality. When this happens, the meditator is having a supernatural experience in Consciousness.
For many people, this creates a certain knowing in which we understand we are more than, greater than our physical body. We have had a direct, first-hand experience of the supernatural.
The supernatural experience is real and we integrate that energy and information from our new awareness back into our body, living our life in the here-and-now more free, more clear, more in love with ourself and others, and in a very real way more enlightened.
We bring more light, more love into our Earthy experience.
Body of light
Both Yoga Nidra and energy medicine (including the Japanese healing art of Reiki, in which a practitioner flows universal life-force energy to the recipient) are informed by the knowledge that our physical body is nested in an invisible but perceivable torus/apple-shaped energy field of light and intelligent information. This field is a matrix of emotional, mental and spiritual energy, a constellation of consciousness. Energy medicine calls this the biofield or the Human Energy Field (HEF.) The Vedic texts call these subtle fields that surround the body “koshas:” bliss, wisdom, mental, energy (emotional) and physical elements.
The physical body has 7 primary energy centers. The Vedic texts refer to these as “Chakras,” or “spinning wheels of light.” These energy centers are each associated with an epicenter within the physical body where nerve plexuses emerge from the spinal cord. These centers inform and are informed by the brain. They are also associated with the endocrine (hormonal regulation) system. You can find more information on my energy centers/Chakras chart here:
An energy medicine view of the body: our nervous system is converting the energy and information of our life into chemistry and communicating this information through our circulatory system to our physical flesh.
This transmutation of energy causes a state-of-being that we perceive of as an emotional state: we feel at peace or in stress, or somewhere in between. We may be consciously (knowingly) aware of our state or unconscious (not knowing) of it. For example, we can be unconsciously fearful or shameful or guilty and those states may drive our behavior.
For many people right now, the set point state-of-being is stress, anxiety or depression. Yoga Nidra has been shown to reduce these sensations. In Yoga Nidra the parasympathetic (rest/digest/restore) nervous system is engaged. When this system is engaged the body self-regulates and self-organizes to order, harmony and coherence, and we feel sensations of well-being.
And in Yoga Nidra some people have mystical experiences that can be healing, transformative or personally informative and deeply meaningful.
In this state the neurochemicals in the brain and the hormones in the tiny pineal gland within the brain generate conditions in which the brain acts like a radio antenna, receiving and decoding energy and information from the universe at large and creating a mystical experience that is very real to the person experiencing it.
Why take the journey?
I love Yoga Nidra as a tool to support my/our transformation to a better-feeling state-of-being. This practice has taught me there’s nothing to “fix” within me, that nothing is “wrong” with me. It shows me that meditation leads us to embody the freeing sensations we feel through the practice during our waking hours, which translates to:
Observing our thoughts rather than attaching to or believing in them as absolute truth
Challenging our beliefs and assessing whether they limit or expand us
Becoming aware of biases, programs, distorted thinking, fears, shame and guilt of the past and deciding if these have a place in our future
Becoming objective about our subjective experience and taking things less personally
Being less affected by the low energies of other people
Being less influenced by the environments and of the conditions in our life that aren’t actually life-giving to us
Knowing how to self-regulate to obtain relief from aspects of our reality that cause us stress
With agility detach from the energy that is not preferential to us
Fall more deeply in love with ourselves, our life and with others, embodying objective non-judgement
I looked around me, in the sea of 1200 people and I realized everyone here seemed like a perfectly “ordinary” person.
And we were: there was no single demographic, no common identity other than human.
We represented every skin pigmentation, the expanse of educational backgrounds, every point on the monetary spectrum from financially impoverished to incredibly wealthy.
We were aged 7 to 92, and we were from farms and rural outposts, the world’s greatest cities and everything in between. We were male, female and those who identified differently from the binary order.
Some of us had travelled the world over and others, this was one of a few privileged trips beyond the familiar life-long existence in a single place.
We were all sorts of spiritual and not spiritual at all. We were scientists and mystics, the seekers, the finders and the lost.
We had birth defects, were mentally impaired by injury and were brilliant. We were clear-thinking and mentally and emotionally disrupted by anxiety and depression.
Some of us were speed walkers, marathon runners and big mountain hikers, others were bound to wheelchairs and walkers and medical devices I’d never seen before, physically limited by diseases like Multiple Sclerosis, advanced Lyme Disease, the degeneration of age or injury, or impaired by mystery illnesses that had no known origin.
We were anorexic and overweight, chronically stressed and naturally peaceful. We were vegans and meat-eaters, drinkers and smokers and in recovery.
We were from all parts of the world…well, many parts: participants from 121 countries gathering for a week-long healing retreat in Indian Wells, California, in February 2020.
Beyond all our labels we were all ultimately seeking the same things: healing, relief, wholeness, clarity, the mystical. We were unified by the idea of our own personal transformation, the evolution of humanity and the expansion and elevation of human consciousness.
We had the idea that if we could heal our self, we could in turn affect the whole of humanity: heal our part of the whole, and thereby, take part in healing the whole.
It seemed we were united by being more at peace and bringing more peace into the world as individuals and as a collective.
Becoming awareness and entering receiving mode
We laid down in meditation, over a thousand of us, spread shoulder-to-shoulder on the floor of the conference center’s great ballroom, which felt the size of a football field. Our meditation guide—a genius, a master meditator, a mystic, a brilliant scientist, and to me, the greatest global leader of our time—Dr. Joe Dispenza spoke into the heavenly abyss of the low-lit room and we each navigated a journey of our own inner wonderland and simultaneously connected to the energy of the collective in the room.
Toward the end of our meditation something very special and interesting happened. It started slowly at first.
A woman on the other side of the room from me started giggling and then burst out a little laugh. After a pause she chuckled and snickered. But then she just couldn’t contain herself. She started laughing and even sobbing a little the way we do when we laugh so hard we cry.
The people around her started to giggle and a few people in random spots around the room did too.
I thought this unfolding was amusing and kind of cute, but I managed to hold my awareness on the energy within and around my body in the space of the huge ballroom.
At the same time, I just couldn’t help it, the thought of them giggling made me smile.
Then something fascinating and delightful happened.
Know you are greater than your physical body
I sensed and perceived a wave of energy flowing throughout the room: it ebbed and flowed over us, it pulsed with something that magnetic that gripped my interest and curiosity. I paid attention to it more and held my awareness on it, sensing and perceiving into the energy of the space of the room.
As I tuned in to the space—using my whole body and mind (more aptly I should call it “bodymind”) as an instrument of attunement— I engaged in using an ability we can all cultivate that is perceiving beyond the 5 senses. Through some fine-tuned and practiced combination awareness, sensing and perceiving, I felt into that magnetic energy present over and around us.
Simultaneously, I mentally tabbed through possibility.
Was the energy rich? It was pulsing with life.
What was that pushing sensation? It felt like it was prompting me.
Had it stilled? I felt pause over me, like an invitation, but demanding nothing.
What was that tickling feeling in my forearms and legs that made my hair stand on end? Was it…it was fun! It was playful! It was joyful!
As this all dawned on me, as it became conscious and articulated in my mind through words I could understand, I connected fully to the energy.
I “touched” it through my awareness of it and it touched me.
Know that all energy carries information and you are a decoding instrument
I felt the playful, joyful fun nature of the energy within the space of my body and my body giggled, a little laugh escaping from me, my shoulders shaking as the energy pleasantly flooded through me.
It sounds a little trippy because it is, but I assure you the only chemicals and intoxicants that were making this happen were the natural chemicals within me that my own brain and my own endocrine system produced as it received the information contained in the energy of the room.
I felt the habitual response of social pressure and self-consciousness kick in, that maybe I shouldn’t laugh out loud and disturb the people around me, but I surrendered to the good feeling of laughter instead. It felt too darn good to just let it pass me by. I let myself giggle, snicker, chuck then just laugh out loud, and soon the people around me were laughing too.
The energy grew, interconnecting fields of bio-magnetic energy, gaining coherence and momentum, one person, then the next and the next. Within what I think was probably under a couple minute’s time I was in a sea of a thousand people from all walks of life around the globe and we were all laughing for no reason at all, moved by an energy that could only be the Spirit of Joy itself.
No one was untouched by the feeling of gladness: in the playful common ground of Unconditional Love we were all One.
Feel into the reality that your body is an instrument of attunement
We are attuning to the energy around us all the time, and we either consciously (knowingly) and subconscious (unknowingly) connecting to it.
Whatever we are connecting to we are becoming more like: we embody the energy of our life. So it’s well worth becoming aware of how our energy works, and how we can use the power of our attention and awareness to change our energy and transform our life.
We can tell we are attuning to the energy of our life because it makes us feel a certain way.
Think about how your body feels when:
You are in an environment or with someone who makes you feel safe and accepted
You engage in a hobby in which you get lost in for hours at a time
You alone get to choose what you want to do and where you want to be today; no demands, you feel in command of your life
You are with a person, watch a movie, listen to a podcast or read a book that inspires you
You find the perfect, satisfying words to speak your truth; you feel proud of yourself
You get that crystal clear insight that helps you navigate whatever you’re working through personally, or within a relationship or job
On the other hand, think about how your body feels when:
You feel scared; you’re overwhelmed by not knowing what to do, feeling threatened, frozen in place physically, emotionally and/or mentally
You don’t feel accepted by your family, friends, community, boss or employer…or by anyone at all
You have no say over your time, and you’re being driven from one thing to the next; you feel pushed through life; you’re just surviving right now
You can’t remember the last time you felt happy or connected to your life and others
You experience frustration and anger because you can’t seem to find the words to express your understanding of a situation or why you feel the way you do
Your mind feels cluttered, frazzled, foggy, racing or all over the place; you’re anxious or depressed or oscillating back and forth between those states
The body is always processing the energy of your life
By developing a greater level of conscious awareness around attunement and how energy feels in specific areas of our body, we can learn to use our body in our everyday experience as an instrument of guidance.
We can pick up on the subtle ques our body is offering us in our relationships, in the conditions of our life and in our environment. We can learn to use feedback make better-informed decisions about what we want more in our life and what we want less.
And we can learn to use our body—to entrain ourselves—as an instrument of attunement in meditation to connect with energy that is creative and life-giving, joyful, appreciative, abundant and liberating.
Remember, what we are connecting to we are becoming more like…who doesn’t want to feel more alive, more joyful, more peaceful, more in love?
The body’s nature is to self-regulate and to self-organize into coherence and harmony
Through meditation and energy healing we can get familiar with and memorize the sensations of our own energy so well that we immediately know what’s “ours” and what’s “not ours” in the experience of our everyday life. This ability to attune to the information within your own body—to create and attune to your own inner harmony—helps you to discern which people, places, conditions and things in your life flow helpful, life-giving energy to you, and which ones disrupt your energy or throw you out of your alignment.
In my experience it helps to consciously make these decisions and affirm yourself in them as you explore your inner being, your inner energy. These may be new ideas/beliefs for you, so come back to them and see if their meaning changes for you:
I want to know myself. I want to take time to get to know who I am, who I say I am. I am just going to push the pause button on what the outer world has taught me about being human while I figure this out. Time is my friend, and I’m here to use time the way that suits my higher purposes in life.
I trust myself. I’m going to take whatever I discover within me as my truth, as my personal authority and law. I trust that what I encounter will be the best thing for me, and that whatever I might feel is my body educating me on what I need to know. If at times it feels overwhelming or weird, I’ll just remind myself that’s because I’m having a new experience of the energy of my inner being. I’m learning about my own energy and feeling into the part of me that’s pure energy, including but beyond matter. If I experience something and don’t understand it, I’ll remind myself that it’s only weird because it’s new and unfamiliar. I’m going to get my bearings in this work and soon I’ll be better at decoding what my body is trying to tell me.
I love myself enough to do this. You know, it’s possible that nobody has taught me the most important things or the full picture about the nature of my inner being. I’m going to have to teach myself…no! I’m going to ENJOY teaching myself. I want to know myself and heal myself more than anything. So I’ll be patient. I’ll trust that everything is going to come into my awareness at the right time that I’m ready to integrate it into my life’s wisdom.
I am willing to accept help. If I encounter something that seems too hard, too big, to confusing, etc., I’ll get help. I’ll think about what resources I have available to me in the form of people, medical professionals, therapeutic modalities, massage, energy healing, the internet, books, podcasts, and the like and I’ll stay true to myself, getting the help I need to get to the next level or dig through the next layer. I believe I’m surrounded by a world of wisdom, and I’ll be supported in my journey, I just know it!
The Anatomy of Self Love: Know your energy anatomy, follow its guidance and fall in love with your wholeness
Your physical body is surrounded by an intelligent field of life-force energy, light and information. Science calls this your biofield, and it is electromagnetic in nature. Within the disciplines of energy medicine, it is often called the Human Energy Field or (HEF.) In energy healing terms, your biofield or HEF has spiritual, mental and emotional energy aspects and manifests/affects the state wellness and order within your physical body.
For now, just hold that as holistic (whole, holy) information, and look at the basic and practical starting point of how your energy anatomy is organized within and around your body.
Not only is a good practice to cultivate self-awareness, but it can be helpful to your healing to take time to feel into each of your primary energy centers whose epicenters are within the brain and at particular points on the spine where nerve plexuses emerge from the spinal cord.
These nerve plexuses transmit energy and information from the world around you and from the tissues in their corresponding areas to your brain. And your brain sends energy and information through the spinal cord and these nerve plexuses to the tissues of your body in the areas that correspond with the nerve plexuses.
Your nervous system engages with the energy and information of your life and converts that information to chemistry through your endocrine system. The hormones and chemical regulators move through the circulatory system to the organs, creating a state-of-being in the chemical, physical flesh.
For many people this is a novel view of the body—it sure was to me when I came into this work 9 years ago. And it’s even more incredible to know that our perception of the energy around us—our thoughts and feelings about it—affect this whole process dramatically.
I don’t believe that anyone makes themselves sick. But we certainly can learn to use our awareness, our consciousness to help ourselves heal.
The Eastern wisdom traditions have for thousands of years known, discussed and taught energy anatomy. Volumes have been written about this system, called the Chakra system.
Chakra means “spinning wheel of light,” and indicates that the life-force energy that sustains and animates us has a spiraling nature. This is replicated in the natural world around us and can be seen in things like pinecones, sunflowers and nautilus shells, and it’s illustrated in our spinning Earth and spiraling galaxy.
Here’s my table of basic information regarding the 7 primary energy centers and the basic information about them.
Spend time in meditation, sensing and perceiving into the space these centers occupy in your physical body.
Try not to judge the sensations or even assign meaning to the words that come to mind, but gently assess. You’re just information gathering, so be the mind of an objective observer, what in meditation is called “the silent witness.”
Hold on to the idea that your body is naturally powerful self-regulating and self-organizing. As you feel into your energy centers, invite flow, life, grace, abundance, freedom and empowerment into your life.
Does the idea of transformational wellness interest you? Please sign up for future blogs at this bottom of my blog home, or book an in-person or remote/distance appointment with me by calling 207-249-2261 or emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.