Working with subtle energies in meditation

Posted by on Oct 21, 2012 in Buddhism | No Comments

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Yesterday I did a fairly full-on yoga session. Today I feel on the verge of illness. In a good way! The session opened up my body in a way that unblocked a lot of energy. I was shaking a lot during the session. Not out of tiredness, but out of energy being freed. Some of it was quite emotional. I felt on the verge of tears several times, even though I wasn’t consciously upset about anything.

I’ve experienced a similar thing many times before, often as a result of meditation. I thought I’d share it in today’s post as it’s fairly common.

As far as I can tell, emotions and memories get locked in the body. In effect, they cease to be ‘mind’ and start to be ‘body’ in the form of tensions and locked up muscles.

When we do things like yoga, meditation, massage, reiki, acupuncture, etc, these energies get ‘unblocked’ or ‘released’ and become mind ¬†again – or even just flow through the mind and are dissolved completely.

Different traditions have different ways of talking about this. In yoga it’s called prana. In Tibetan Buddhism they’re called ‘winds’ that travel through subtle energy channels. In reiki it’s called, well, reiki. It’s also called ‘chi’ in Chinese systems. So basically, different traditions have different words for it, but ‘subtle’ energy systems are seen as standard and obvious in many (perhaps even the majority of) world views.

It’s only in the west where we think of this as alternative hippie nonsense. In countries with more people than the US and UK combined, this is mainstream, respectable stuff.

Basic advice for working with subtle energies

If this sort of thing starts happening to you in meditation – don’t worry!

There are different ways of working with it. Mastery takes a lifetime, but here are some general tips:

  1. Give it permission – don’t resist or block it. I’m convinced this approach is what kept me alive during my brain haemorrhage, when the energies moving through me were EXTREMELY forceful.
  2. Don’t get caught up in it. One way of visualising this is to see yourself as the riverbed, not the river. The water is flowing through – perhaps the currents are strong. You’re not stopping it. But you’re not mistaking yourself as the water, no matter how much it might feel like that. A good mindfulness practice helps with this.
  3. Use your body as an ‘anchor’. By maintaining a body awareness, particularly awareness of the base of your posture (e.g. the sensation of your bum on the cushion or chair) you may find that the energy flow starts to slow and mellow.

If this experience is strong and happens a lot, get some help. Go and see an acupuncturist, reiki healer, tai chi teacher, shiatsu practitioner or someone like that. Tell them what’s happening. They should be able to ‘balance you out’. Doing nothing is not wise. Even though western medicine wouldn’t see this as a big deal, these are strong energies and if left unchecked they can have a detrimental effect on your health. (In the Chinese system, chi is what cells are made out of. It’s the foundation of all life. So if it’s out of balance, your system is out of balance.)

I’m not trying to freak you out here. You probably won’t experience this too strongly. Our bodies and minds seem to have a way of only dishing out what we can handle. Generally this is a natural, healing, positive, rebalancing process. It’s a good thing, as long as it doesn’t get out of hand.

If you’re worried about any experiences you’re having and you’d like a second opinion, feel free to drop me an email.




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