I have been in lots of workshops lately involving energy work, and in every workshop there are a couple of people going through some intense energetic issues. There are many forms that these issues take. From shaking, to headaches, ears ringing, incredible anxiousness, or spontaneous uncontrollable movements. I usually try to assure them that things can get better, and that these experiences are usually completely normal. As a side note, I have experienced all of the above sensations in my process. Many people in these workshops are there to learn a healing modality which will help them work through their stuff. And to hang out with people who are similarly tuned into energy. And these people often become exceptional healers themselves. Very gifted.
In our conversations, people have asked me about such specific things like the third gate, tanden, chakras, kundalini, taoist alchemy, etc., looking for a way to figure out this energetic stuff. I think these can be helpful, but more importantly, there is a fundamental shift which I feel to be more important than these models for understanding energetic transformation.
The big shift is when we begin to really see that the universe is trying to open us up. Our bodies are responding to the harmony of the universe opening us up to it. But we are afraid of what is going to happen to us. We feel out of control. We cannot handle what is happening to us. We are tightening ourselves up in fear, and the energy moving through us is blocked in this fear, like a kinked electric wire. This all sounds simple, but letting go into this great river of energy moving through us is not easy. At times it is incredibly frightening. And it cannot be understood mentally.
Usually little by little we see that we cannot block this energy anymore. It starts to ruin our life or our health. It’s like standing next to a speaker at a rock concert and trying to have a normal conversation. And we cannot be in control of this energy. There are so many techniques out there. So many books. Complicated techniques. But we don’t need these. When we begin to get out of the way of this great process, we little by little gain confidence that reality, or God, life, is not against us in a fundamental way. Just this, is huge! We somehow deeply believe that life is against us. But through looking internally at our unique energetic process, little by little, in a cellular way, we discover that in the most basic sense, the energy which is us and is all around us, is our ally.
When we see this, something begins to change. Fundamentally, we don’t have to fight life. We don’t have to overcome life. We don’t have to be better than everyone or everything. We see that life is guiding us, in the most basic way. The energy which is lifting us up as we read this, or as we walk on the sidewalk. This is the universe guiding us, lifting us. This is grace. A grace which does not go away.
Sitting in meditation, or doing Qi gong, or contemplative prayer, become more and more a way to surrender again and again, more and more, into this great guiding, loving grace bestowed upon us from the start. We gradually come to believe that we can truly surrender into this great life energy. This is such an incredibly beautiful process. Worth spending a life exploring. So, my hope is that a few people can read this and go out and discover what I am talking about. For someone like me, hearing about the possibility of this put me on a conveyor belt to truth. I tried to run away, to look away, but this great magnet of true nature had me. I am so grateful for this.
That said, there are a few things which I have come up with in the past which have helped me in my process of letting go into this energy. In no specific order:
Dozo. In Japanese, Dozo means “go ahead”. It seems that dozo is said so often, all day long. Like, “Dozo, please go ahead of me into the garden to view the cherry blossoms.” But I often find myself feeling that way about the energy moving through me. Getting out of the way, saying dozo to the universal breath moving through me. The universe is doing the meditating. We gradually begin to trust it and let it completely penetrate us.
Become the room. When our awareness becomes too small and contained in our bodies, it can build in an unhealthy way. Sometimes it is good to expand our awareness, become the room, in a cellular way, become one with the flavor of the room. Harmonize with the room. If the energy gets to be too much, and we feel like a pressure cooker, feel the room and allow the inside of your body to become one with the outside of your body. Gradually allow this to extend outward.
Release the horses. Often when we are sitting or standing, looking internally, we have a tendency to hold ourselves. It can be helpful at times to remind ourselves to relax, release this energy. Release it and release it and release it. It is not ours. Don’t try to guide it or control it.
Focus on feet. Sometimes, if the ki (qi) is rising too much in excitement into our heads, crazy stuff happens. It can feel like you have been cooked in the microwave. It can be helpful in these times to focus on the feet. Or to go out for a walk and focus on the soles of our feet. And if it is really bad, have another person touch your feet and hold awareness there.
Focus on belly. This one I have discussed earlier in posts. See Tanden
Nature. Walking or just hanging out in nature is incredibly healing and harmonizing for the system. Walking in the bamboo forests in Japan saved my life a few times.
Have tea with an experienced person. Sometimes it is really necessary to hang out with someone who has been through some of these experiences. Their presence can be like an anchor for your ki, as they have harmonized that in themselves. And if they have been through it, they know how to get through it from experience.
Channel. If the core of your body is a channel, a line moving through the plum line of your spine, where on that line are you blocking that flow of light moving through you? Chances are, you are thinking about something, and that has a somatic location on that plumb line. For instance, often when we are getting angry and thinking about the past while sitting, our chest is also tightened. So, recognizing this and using creativity to release it.
3 deep breaths. Just taking three deep breaths can be very helpful for centering us, for calming us down. I suggest following the breath out to our furthest exhalation, as is the practice of sussokan. But do not force it. Again, if you are having intense energy, it is more like learning to surf these waves than to control them.
Curiosity. Courage. Honesty.
Curiosity: When we are getting into this great process but not stabilized, it requires an obsessive curiosity to find out what is happening in our internal world. It is like becoming an arrow in flight, our intense curiosity is never ceasing, driving to the target. Like watching a child learn to walk. They are obsessed, driven to it.
Courage: In the midst of this process of working with this incredible energy, we have to face ourselves. To face where we are afraid. This is so scary. So we need incredible courage to keep looking at it. Over and over.
Honesty: Maybe the most important, is honesty. Most of us are not honest enough to really look at our stuck places. We can look for a short time, we can look at it from the corner of our eyes. But to really examine our most stuck places, this requires a different level of honesty than most of us are willing to do. But we must! It is so worth it!! Do it!
Sacred Space Sacred Time. We need a place to be able to focus and not be distracted, especially at first. And we need a set time to do it. Or we will inevitably be distracted. For me, that was several years in amonastery. For others, it might be doing retreats in whatever spiritual form that turns you on. Or, to start, a room or a corner of a room without distraction. Or a place in the garden or the backyard.
No understanding. No agenda. Please be willing to have no idea how this process is working itself out. It is beyond comprehension. And the more we try to figure it out, that blocks energy from releasing in the body. So, to sit or stand with no agenda about how it will work itself out. Thoughts like, “Any moment and I will have a deep satori and become completely enlightened.” We’ve all done it. But this process is like being born. How could we understand that?
Sometimes you just gotta ride it out. If we are opening up more and more to this energy going through us, sometimes there are some growing pains involved. It is as if the electric wire is being widened. And we just have to ride it out. Some people do not sleep much in this part of the process. But with time, it gets better! Just keep going!
Please look at this deeply. Thanks so much for reading. Dozo on the comments. Questions welcome.