Although each of the techniques I have studied has a slightly different perspective on the human energy field and the mechanics of how it functions and how it interacts with our physical and emotional well-being, there are some areas of general agreement.
The following is my summary of the underlying assumptions of energy work, as described in various healing manuals. Not all of the authors I have studied would agree with all of the points below, but these points do seem to represent a common denominator amongst the systems.
The Auric Field
- A dynamic, vibrating energy field is present within our physical bodies, and surrounds our bodies as an aura of energy. The invisible field extends at least a few inches above the surface of the skin.
- Some of the authors describe several layers to the auric field, extending as much as three to four feet out from the physical body.
The energy field can be experienced through physical senses, especially touch and sight.
- “Seeing” energy.
Several healers report an ability to see energy. Some see a shimmering haze around the body (the aura). Others can see colors which indicate illness or disease. Some use high sense perception to see the structures of chakras, the health of the organs, the flow of blood through the body, etc.
- “Feeling” energy.
When someone tunes in to his own energy or when he scans another person’s energy field, he can feel physical sensations such as tingling, heat, “magnetic” force, vibration, or currents. These are usually felt most strongly in the hands. When a healer focuses intention on sending healing energy, the client may feel similar sensations.
These sensations can be further amplified through specialized breathing techniques and exercises. This indicates that we can consciously influence our energy field and other people’s energy fields with our attention, thoughts, feelings, and actions.
Scientific instruments are able to measure some aspects of the energy field, and some effects of the energy field on other systems; however, some aspects elude measurement with current technology. The field shares many common aspects with electricity and magnetism (see Oschman for discussion) but it is not yet clear whether biomagnetism is exactly the same force as the human biofield, or just a closely related phenomenon.
- Energy appears to flow through the body in predictable patterns, similar to river currents or magnetic polarities (though various techniques are not necessarily in complete agreement about the direction of these flows.)
This energy is carried through our bodies along definable pathways (aka meridians, nadis) that can be most easily contacted at certain identifiable points along the body (aka acupuncture points). There are certain centers on our body which appear to act as gateways for the interaction between our energy and environmental influences (aka chakras, emotion centers, dan tien).
- The energy field is connected with the breath.
Energy can be increased by consciously controlled breathing. Breathing moves energy through the body.
Sources of energy:
The general belief is that there is an unlimited supply of universal energy that all humans have access to, as long as our energy pathways are clear and balanced. Some theoreticians view this in scientific terms, others in spiritual terms.
- This source may be referred to as God, or Cosmic Energy, or Divine Source.
- Our energy field can be equated with the “spark of life.” It is the animating force that gives and sustains life.
Some ways we access energy:
- Food and other environmental influences.
- Inherited karma.
- Meditation and other conscious connection to the energy.
Types of energy:
Some systems differentiate between heavy and light energy or between yin and yang energy. Neither energy is harmful or bad, but it is important to keep the energies balanced.
Human beings are open energy systems. We are continuously exchanging energy with other people, animals, and the environment. Our fields are in constant flux and change. A normal healthy body has a continuous flow of balanced energy.
Blockages and Imbalances:
We are constantly exposed to energy from our environment and our experiences which is incompatible with our energy, and which could throw our field out of balance. In a normal, healthy energy system, we are able to release these incompatible energies immediately. However, if we are already unbalanced, our energy systems may absorb them.
- Blockages and imbalances in the energy field can manifest as mental, physical, emotional, and/or spiritual disease.
- Physical injuries can cause damage to the energy field that may remain even after the physical injury has healed.
This may account for some cases of chronic pain. Energy medicine can effect significant results with releasing the long-term energy blockages caused by the physical injury.
- Emotional traumas can also have long-term impact.
If we continue to hold the emotional trauma in our energy field, the blockage may eventually manifest as physical illness. This is why energy work on physical dis-ease often leads to release of long-held emotional issues.
Emotions and Consciousness:
The energy is associated with emotions and consciousness. It is involved in the creation and experience of emotions and spiritual experiences.
Some argue that the field is the connection between our bodies and our consciousness, some define the field as the same as consciousness, some believe the flow of energy can be equated to the flow of emotions through our bodies.
Gerber has a complex taxonomy for energy, including metabolic energy, bioelectrical energy, biophotonic energy, and subtle bioenergies (divided up into ch’i, prana, etheric energy, astral energy, mental energy, and higher spiritual energies.)
Other terms for Energy:
There are several names for this field. In traditional cultures, it is called by names like Mana in Polynesia, Prana in India, Qi in China, Ki in Japan, and Hucha and Sami in Peru. Modern healing techniques refer to it as the Biofield, Life-force energy, Physioemotional Field, Body Energy Field, Vital energies, and Subtle Energies.
Source: Transition To Parenthood
Mrs. Hawayo Takata, who introduced Reiki to the West, said the word Rei means universal and this is the definition most have accepted. However, Mrs. Takata also indicated that this interpretation is a very general one. The kanji ideograms have many levels of meaning. They vary from the mundane to the highly esoteric. So while it is true that Rei can be interpreted as universal, meaning that it is present everywhere, this level of interpretation really doesn’t add to our understanding of Reiki.
Research into the esoteric meaning of the Japanese kanji character for Rei has given a much deeper understanding of this ideogram. The word Rei as it is used in Reiki is more accurately interpreted to mean supernatural knowledge or spiritual consciousness. This is the wisdom that comes from God or the Higher Self. This is the God-Consciousness which is all knowing. It understands each person completely. It knows the cause of all problems and difficulties and knows what to do to heal them.
Ki: The Life Force
Ki means the same as Chi in Chinese, Prana in Sanskrit and Ti or Ki in Hawaiian. It has also been called, odic force, orgone, and bioplasma. It has been given many other names by the various cultures that have been aware of it.
Ki is the life force. It is also called the vital life force or the universal life force. This is the nonphysical energy that animates all living things. As long as something is alive, it has life force circulating through it and surrounding it; when it dies, the life force departs.
If your life force is low, or if there is a restriction in its flow, you will be more vulnerable to illness. When it is high, and flowing freely, you are less likely to get sick. Life force plays an important role in everything we do. It animates the body and also is the primary energy of our emotions, thoughts and spiritual life.
The Chinese place great importance on the life force or what they call Chi. They have studied it for thousands of years and have discovered there are many different kinds of Chi. The “Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine” which is over 4,000 years old, lists thirty-two different kinds of Chi or Ki.
Ki is used by martial artists in their physical training and mental development. It is used in meditative breathing exercises called Pranayama, and by the shamans of all cultures for divination, psychic awareness, manifestation and healing. Ki is the nonphysical energy used by all healers. Ki is present all around us and can be accumulated and guided by the mind.
Reiki: Spiritually Guided Life Force Energy
It is the God-consciousness called Rei that guides the life force called Ki in the practice we call Reiki. Therefore, Reiki can be defined as spiritually guided life force energy. This is a meaningful interpretation of the word Reiki. It more closely describes the experience most people have of it; Reiki guiding itself with its own wisdom, and being unresponsive to the direction of the practitioner.
All healers use life force or Ki, but not all use Reiki. Reiki is a special kind of life force that can only be channeled by someone that has been attuned to it. It is possible that some people are born with Reiki or have gotten it some other way. However, most healers who have not received the Reiki attunement from a Reiki Master are not using Reiki but another kind of life force.
People who already do healing work consistently report an increase of at least fifty percent in the strength of their healing energies after taking the Reiki training.
Reiki energy is intelligent, therefore, it is not necessary to direct Reiki to a specific area of the body. The energy will flow to the area in which it is most needed. It is not dependent upon the expertise, knowledge, or spiritual development of the practitioner. It does not reauire psychic abilities, or the ability to concentrate, visualize, or focus.
Because Reiki is guided by the God Consciousness, it can never do harm. It always knows what a person needs and will adjust itself to create the effect that is appropriate for them. One never need worry about whether to give Reiki or not. It is always helpful.
In addition, because the practitioner does not direct the healing and does not decide what to work on, or what to heal, the practitioner is not in danger of taking on the karma of the client. Because the practitioner is not doing the healing, it is also easier for the ego to stay out of the way and allow the presence of God to clearly shine through.
Because it is a channeled healing, the Reiki practitioner’s energies are never depleted. In fact the Reiki consciousness considers both practitioner and client to be in need of healing, so both receive treatment. Because of this, giving a treatment always increases one’s energy and leaves one surrounded with loving feelings of well being.
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