We live in a culture that would have us believe that authority resides outside of us. It’s a contradictory, inconsistent culture that simultaneously demands we find common-ground and figure out and agree on what’s “right,” while it also relentlessly diverts our attention away from the very thing that will help us create that peace.
Our attention is most valuable resource on Earth.
If we let it, this modern life can wildly disrupt the sanctity and sanctuary of our inner being and provoke incoherence within ourselves, our relationships and our society, leading us away from, not toward, greater peace.
Our inner-most being, our true nature—that aspect of us that is pure heart, pure energy, pure unconditional love—is the real authority.
As a collective, as we are discovering how to listen to our inner authority, to feel peace one body at a time, and to create peace within the whole, one body at a time.
What has our attention has our energy. Another way to say that is where our attention goes, our energy flows.
Energy medicine has helped me (and helped people I support in my role as a healer) to understand and experience that no matter what is happening in the world outside of our body, we can tap into a deep peace within, a peace that is always present—it’s never NOT present, it’s just obscured because our attention is elsewhere.
Before I developed some skill in the art and science of meditation and energy healing, I was solidly anchored in the conditions of the physical world. With absolute dedication to “keeping up” and with my full attention on what was playing out outside of me, my energy streamed into my work and my responsibilities, into political involvement, into keeping up with the news—particularly on issues that enraged, overwhelmed, alienated, marginalized or scared me.
This non-creative outpouring of energy into the world, as compared to the inward reflection on, the contemplation of, the spending time with the loving, universal life-force of energy within me, caused a lop-sided sort of dynamic in my life.
My stress showed up first emotionally as frustration and anger. Next it showed up physically as acid reflux and a sensation of a constant, heavy magnetic pull in my stomach. Next, I developed a thyroid disorder accompanied by the constant feeling of having a “lump” in my throat.
As time passed and the full-body anxiety came around, I found myself going from sound asleep in one moment to suddenly standing, heart racing, panting, incoherent thoughts racing uncontrollably in my brain while simultaneously experiencing utter confusion and complete overwhelm. Night after night for nearly a year I’d wake up standing upright and freaked out beside my bed at precisely 2 a.m., my body a nightmare of anxiety vibrating madly at a cellular level.
I hadn’t consciously created my suffering, but I damn well needed to figure out how to heal it: I felt like I was on the verge of a heart attack most of the time.
Being dedicated to physical reality and the physicality of my body, the more poorly I felt, the more I looked for the cause of my suffering…in the people, conditions, environment, institutions, culture and society around me..
I sourced my problems as difficult people and screwed up relationships that emotionally hurt me or deeply troubled me with irreconcilable differences. I attributed it to working too much, working physically too hard, eating mindlessly, too much and too fast, not having enough time or money, having what I felt was too much responsibility.
I carried around so much unresolved grief and my heart felt unbearably heavy all the time. My dad had passed unexpectedly one November afternoon and there was a vacuum where his joyful warrior presence used to be. Often, I found myself unconsciously holding my breath and when I did breathe deeply I could only feel my lungs filling to just below my collar bones. Anything more made me choke, cough, gag or made my lungs feel like a hellish inferno.
Over the course of one painful summer almost 10 years ago, it dawned on me that the people and the conditions outside of me were unlikely to change fast enough for me to heal what was happening inside me. I had good evidence: I had tried to get people to change on the relationship front with horrible results.
This idea that I would have to transform or change from within to make my reality better and to feel better in my body…it didn’t come as a lightening speed epiphany, a revelation that knocked me on my butt with enlightened self-awareness. It was a slow-dawning, somewhat agonizing process that didn’t storm me with articulate clarity, but which has relatively amazing clarity only in hindsight.
The revelation was basically a feeling, an impulse, an urge. It was a vague thought: “There’s got to be something more.”
I had a sneaking feeling that if I wanted whatever “more” was, I’d have to change. I’d have to change my relationship with my body, my relationship with time, my relationship to work, my relationship to others, my relationship to the world.
Turns out, the quickest way to change the world is to change yourself. And by quick I mean in the next 5 years I made shift after transformational shift in pursuit of more fulfillment.
Overcoming Limited Awareness and Waking up the Healer
As life sometimes shows “terrible things—” undesirable events we would never ask for—often result in wonderful opportunities and unexpected outcomes. Awareness of the non-physical reality that underlies the physical reality we all tend to orient toward began for me with a single experience, on frigid, snowy night in early 2015. This experience propelled me off my predicted path and onto a path of understanding my life as “more energy, less matter.”
That night, my friend Wendi suffered a severe concussion, which at the on-set was a terrible thing. (Don’t worry, this story has a happy ending. Here are some shots of Wendi and me unsuccessfully staging what we hoped would be perfectly synchronized leaps off benches on a visit to NYC a couple years ago. Please note Wendi’s total collaboration and my unnecessarily instructive hand-gestures, which make us both laugh our butts off.)
Immediately following her accident, Wendi was physically somewhat disabled and mentally disoriented, incapacitated, ungrounded and overwhelmed. The first few days and weeks after the event were horribly shocking, as we watched Wendi’s cognitive skills, her relational and her language skills and her incredible story-telling ability diminish.
We worried for her very survival, for the survival of the personality we loved.
I had no language around what I was witnessing at the time, but in hindsight the core of my being felt threated with imminent grief, by a fear that she would never recover, that I’d never know, see or hear the Wendi I loved again.
I wasn’t alone.
Wendi was (and is, this story has a happy ending!) loved for her amazing awareness, attention, clarity, wisdom and the embodiment of what she believes about this life. We loved how her personality burst forth from her deeply-held and beliefs that were hard-won by life’s trials: her humor, for how she saw things, for how quickly she connected with others, for the goodness she saw in the world, the potential she saw in all beings.
Wendi’s pre-accident experience of vibrance, vitality and joy was vividly juxtaposed against an entirely different, wildly more limited reality. In one event, ALL OF OUR PERSONAL REALITIES rocked, shook, held in a balance as we awaited an outcome to assure us all would be well, that SHE would be well, that WE would be well.
It took some time.
We watched, helpless observers, as our friend’s incredible life-force, her admirable will rose up from within to exert itself…from within and beyond a brain that had experienced a terrible trauma.
To change is to be greater than the conditions we are experiencing, and Wendi’s recovery showed me that the inner will, and the will and support of those around us matters when we want to change.
We need people around us to remind us of who we want to become.
It took time to envision a future beyond our injured friend…it was hard to watch, to wait, to help in small ways while healing happened within and around Wendi. So hard to witness another’s suffering.
The good news is Wendi has rebounded with a tremendous vigor that makes it hard to recall that past reality. In the meanwhile, though, I’ve learned volumes and volumes about who she, who I, who we are!
In the weeks and months that followed Wendi had debilitating headaches, some loss of vision, loss of memory and trouble speaking. She couldn’t drive because she couldn’t see properly and she couldn’t maintain balance in her physical body. She needed support with transportation to her Craniosacral Therapy sessions, and so I happily volunteered to drive.
Sitting in a chair in the therapy room, I watched as Wendi’s therapist, Moriah, lightly rested her hands on Wendi’s head or feet. To my uninformed eye, it didn’t look like Moriah was doing anything because her body was so still and unmoving. But Wendi was experiencing an inner light show behind her closed eyes, and at times she would utter some expression of relief from the pain or exclaim a statement that had to do with some insight about her life (perhaps even something that happened decades before) that had spontaneously come into her awareness.
After a couple of sessions curiosity got the better of me and I asked Moriah what exactly she was doing to cause this dynamic effect with what appeared to be very little effort.
“Come on over here and I’ll teach you,” Moriah invited.
I stood up and following her direction, I went to the edge of the massage table and placed my hands on Wendi’s head as I had seen Moriah do during the sessions. Moriah placed her hands lightly over mine and drew my hands away from Wendi’s head so they were barely even touching her hair.
“You’re feeling for the craniosacral pulse,” Moriah explained. “It has a rhythm, a pulse of energy that flows up the spine from the tailbone to the skull and brain. I’ll feel for it through your hands, and you just follow my hands in and out with the pulse, then I’ll let go and you see what you can perceive.”
No other word but awestruck could describe my state of being as I realized in just a few moments I could—through a strange combination of feeling and awareness and insight that was intuitively an innate skill—perceive Wendi’s life-force energy through my palms. I was feeling anything physical, but instead I was feeling into non-physical, unseen dimension that was eminently real and which had always been there, just outside of perception.
And in a weird way it seemed more real, more familiar than the dimension I could see.
It was magnetic, alive, universal but also unique to Wendi. It felt creative, bursting with vitality, wanting to express itself and forge on, expand, affect things, be known. This pulsing sensation felt jam-packed with so much intelligent information it felt like it was struggling to stay bound within the area around Wendi. It felt boundless and connected.
I have no idea how all these things came to me so quickly, they just did. And with the same lightening blast of awareness into this magic-feeling unseen dimension, I was aware that I wasn’t doing anything special—that we could all do this. It felt like I was feeling into something and perceiving something that I remembered from a long time ago and had just forgotten. Just like that wobbly feeling when you get back on a bike after you haven’t ridden for a while.
“What is this magic?” I asked Moriah.
She giggled and said, “It’s energy.”
“But what’s energy?” I asked blankly.
It wasn’t magic, it was science–practical quantum physics. I had to know more.
Now, after 6 years of nearly daily study and practice, I can answer my own question “what’s energy?” with my ever-evolving understanding of what healing energy is: it is a vital, vibrant, intelligent, living matrix of light and information which is the loving intelligence of the Divine and it’s expressing Itself through us and through all of creation. It’s within and around everything we can perceive with our 5 senses and everything we cannot.
My physical body, your physical body, is material energy, sure, but the bigger part of who we are is non-physical energy. My body, your body, is an instrument of consciousness. Here’s what I think this time in history is inviting us to do:
- Become aware, fine tune our perception of energy within and around our body, and among all aspects of our life
- Develop our ability to use our body as an instrument of conscious creation
- Consciously, selectively unmemorized some of our beliefs in and relationships with external authority and influences that limit us and limit our awareness of who we truly are
- Get in touch with the energy of our inner being and true self–which is the bliss of creative and unconditional love–we remember that we get to decide who we are, what we want to feel, what we want to believe and who we want to become
Energy healing and meditation help us to connect to the fields of energy within and around us. This energy at its source is highly coherent, orderly, peaceful, intelligent and loving. When we become more aware of it, expand and unfold into, we become more of it, more like it and it becomes more of us. To me, practicing this feeling into the connection to life-force energy is what creates inner peace, it’s how we pour our peace into the world, how we BECOME more peace in the world.
Next time I want to share with you what I’ve learned about human energy anatomy, because I’m certain if will help us be more aware of who we are truly. Awareness of this non-physical reality is what saved me from the physical maladies and distress that manifested in my body from the stress of the past, and it’s one tool and framework through which so many of the present collective are leaning into to navigate these strange times.
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