The purpose of this blog is purely educational. It does not advise any reader to forgo medical treatment for any condition. It describes methods that have not yet been proven effective through widespread scientific testing. Readers who are concerned about their health are advised to contact their physician.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Energy Healing 101 - A free online "introductory course" - Part 2 -- Healing Others

This is offered for your information only and is in no way intended to replace the advice and services of a qualified physician. Please read the previous post (part 1) before proceeding with any of the practice in part 2. Please treat the information you read here as any set of instructions you would read in a book. Use it with full awareness that you are responsible for your own health and your own level of comfort in applying what you read. This particular post refers to generic energy healing, not energy healing specific to cancer. It is not a description of the Bengston method.

Having done the exercises in part 1, you may now be sensitized to feeling energy coming from your hands. One purpose to the exercises was to make you aware of this energy, which in fact is always there and available to be called upon. As I said before, we Westerners tend to "live" in our heads, and particularly in our analytical left brains. We are unable to feel the energy because we are insensitive to it; and because we don't feel it, we do not believe that it exists. The energy exercises allow the awareness to move from our head into our body and therefore increase our sensitivity.

There are two places in particular where the awareness needs to reside to allow us to do healing. One is what the Chinese call the dan tien (and the Japanese call hara): the area just below your belly button. This is one of the main storage areas for chi. It is also the place where the martial artist's spirit shout comes from, greatly increasing his or her power. It is here that you store up life energy doing the Qi Gong exercise that is called "standing like a tree". To maintain awareness of the dan tien or hara, it is important to practice breathing into the area on a fairly regular basis.

The second place the awareness needs to reside for effectiveness in healing is the heart. That probably needs little explanation. After all, most of us intuitively know that all healing is love.

An experiment

I hope you will now join me in an experiment. On the right side of this blog you will find the photo of a hand. It is an unremarkable, un-Photoshopped image, but it has been set up so one might feel energy coming through it. My inspiration for doing this came from a Dutch website that a few years ago posted a "Reiki hand" and invited people to test if they could feel anything coming from it. Another website in Vancouver posted a photo of the founder of Reiki, Dr. Mikao Usui, and claimed that you would receive Reiki if you looked at the image. I found energy coming from both images. I asked a couple of people, one a healer, the other a "regular guy" who is also a skeptic, to tell me if they felt anything coming from this image and they both told me that they did. So now it's your turn, if you choose to check it out.

Hold one hand over the image, then the other, each for just a few seconds. Run each hand over the screen to feel if there is any difference between the areas where the image of the hand is, and where it isn't. You can call up a larger image by clicking on it. You could also try closing your eyes and just sitting in front of it, and seeing if you feel anything different. Your feedback is welcome whether you feel anything or not.

Now comes the weird part. In the best of all possible worlds as it exists in my imagination, this hand is a portal for you to receive the kind of attunement that would happen if you attended an actual energy healing course. If you wish to try this out, hold each hand, one at a time, over the image for a longer period than 30 seconds. You may feel how long you need to do this. It may help if you set the intention that you wish to become a healer.

Putting it all together

This is how you do energy healing:

1) Begin by setting up a positive flow of energy. By positive flow I mean that you feel the energy coming in through your feet, your brow or your crown, and then feel it coming out of your palms. Use the energy sensitizing exercises described in part 1 if you need to.

2) Set up your intent. State in your mind that you wish to be a clear healing channel for the benefit of the person you are treating. If you are religious, and wish to do "laying on of hands" in a Christian context, this would be a good time to pray and to ask for the love of Jesus to come through you.

3) Establish a connection with the person you are treating by placing your hands on them (on the shoulders if they are sitting or on the solar plexus if they are lying down). Ask again for the energy to flow through you to them. Remind yourself that the source from which the energy flows knows what kind of healing is needed -- or, if you are not comfortable with the idea of energy that knows what needs to be done, just trust in the "healee's" body intelligence.

4) Keep the positive energy flow going by using your intent or your breath. One way of doing this is to remind yourself that you are drawing the energy through your brow/hara/feet on the in-breath, and sending it out through your palm on the out-breath.

5) This is very important: get out of the way! You are not doing anything. You are just a channel facilitating a flow of healing energy to a person who needs it. The energy doesn't come from you; it comes through you. As a side benefit you too will receive a healing at the same time.

6) You could intend to link up with all the healers in the world. This is a variation on the idea of the Buddhist "sangha". When Buddhists meditate, they ask the "sangha", Buddhist meditators everywhere, to join in and help them. Similarly, you could ask all the healers in the world to help you.

One way to fail is to let the left brain get into the act. The left brain will begin to ask questions such as "am I doing this right?" and "what on earth am I doing here?". Or it will make statements such as "this is absurd", "this could not possibly work" and/or "this doesn't make any sense", etc.

Another way to fail is to want it too much to happen. The ego can get involved just as easily as the left brain. The ego will say "I am doing this". You are not doing anything. You are just hanging out. The ego can also get involved in very sneaky ways, e.g., by trying to direct the energy.

So how do we get the left brain and the ego out of the equation? One way is through focusing on breathing. There is a whole energy healing method based on this, Richard Gordon's Quantum Touch. If you want to learn more about doing this, read his book of the same name. Richard's breathing exercises also teach you how to strengthen the energy flow.

Another way is to keep the brain busy with other tasks. Bill Bengston's method excels at this. A description of how he keeps the brain busy can be found in his "Methods" paper in the spring 2007 issue of The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine [and now his books Chasing the Cure and The Energy Cure]. Bill's method of keeping the brain busy also helps strengthen the energy flow.

In our practice groups we have tried several methods in addition to Bill's. One was meditative breathing. If you are an active meditator, this may work for you. Another is to instruct your brain to make up spontaneous images of happy and beautiful things. My brain can generate quite a collage of people laughing, dancing, and interacting in gorgeous natural surroundings. I see mothers and babies, colourful swirling dancers, oceans, mountains, and trees. Sometimes I see colourful, symmetrical geometric designs spreading from a single point into infinity. Bill's method has advantages over this, and I recommend taking one of his workshops to learn it. By the way, the Domancic folk also recommend entertaining your brain with beautiful images, to which they also add rock music. Their general idea is to be happy while you work at healing: they suggest that both the healee and the practitioner "go to the beach" in their minds during the treatment.

We have found that asking "what needs to happen here?", then remaining open for an answer that may or may not come, takes the healing to a higher level. You need patience, trust, and stillness to do this.

The best attitude for both healer and "healee" to have is a kind of open-minded, non-judgmental curiosity that expects nothing and welcomes everything.

Where to put your hands

Different modalities have different ways of going about this. Reiki has set hand positions, which you will find described and illustrated in most Reiki books. Reiki hand positions essentially follow the chakras. You work down the front and then up the back, placing your hand on each chakra for about 3 minutes.

Quantum Touch begins with generic hand positions and then goes on to "sandwiching" the area that needs to be treated. You will find this described in Richard Gordon's book.

Bill also has a few generic hand positions, such as shoulders and the solar plexus, and then instructs his students to put their hands where they are guided to.

If after "taking" this course you find your hands moving independently of your will, e.g. making spirals, or waving over the body, or making other movements of their own, then congratulations, that means we've been eminently successful, and you have now entered the Twilight Zone.

One caution about hand positions: be respectful of people's comfort zones about being touched. Always ask before you do it. And it obviously doesn't need to be said that there are certain places you should never place your hands, unless the person you are treating is your partner, and you have their permission to do it.

Feedback and caveats

The person you are treating may feel warmth, heat, coolness, electricity, magnetism, or nothing. It's helpful to have feedback, especially if you are new at this. Don't get discouraged if the person you are treating feels nothing at first. Focus on your end of things (positive flow, breathing, getting out of the way) and something may happen.

I would suggest starting with small things like cuts, scrapes, sprains, sore backs, and minor sports injuries. Pets are also great candidates, whatever their ailment. I personally have never been very successful with colds and headaches, although if I wake up in the middle of the night with a burning throat, which usually indicates the onset of a cold, I can usually prevent the cold by putting my hands on my throat for a while and letting the energy run. I have, however, been very successful with injuries. Individual talents can vary.

You can work effectively with people who are skeptical about the concept of healing energy, but I would not recommend treating people who are out to prove to you that it cannot possibly work. Their attitude will simply block the flow of energy and discourage you.

If at any point either you or the person you are treating become uncomfortable with the treatment, stop immediately. Energy healing cannot do harm, but people's levels of comfort about doing or receiving it vary, and must be respected.

After doing a treatment, always wash your hands in cold water and intend to cut the energetic connection between yourself and the person you've been treating. This will prevent you from picking up their symptoms.

Please do not ever diagnose, or prevent a person from seeing a doctor or from carrying out the doctor's instructions.

Follow up

To become better at this, you need to practice, practice, practice. Keep doing the qi gong exercises described in part 1 and refining your energy flow. Practice getting out the way (it's the hardest thing to learn). The more you can get out of the way after setting the intention to become a clear channel, the more effective you will be.

If this "introductory course" has whetted your appetite to learn more, find a course in energy healing near you. If you live in southern Ontario, and you are curious about what we are doing, feel free to contact me. You can also contact me, wherever you live, if you have any questions or feedback.


Alice Langholt said...

I love this post. I've been teaching a version of Reiki and an advanced energy healing certification program and you've just described the most important points that I emphasize over and over again. Intention and then Attention. I tell students to give the cab driver instructions and then just watch it go. Don't push the cab. This post is wonderful and I feel like we are singing the same song. I've taken Quantum Touch and a few modalities of Reiki and Chios Healing. I've also begun researching Dr. Bengston, am reading The Energy Cure, and may take his workshop in August. I went looking for others using his method and found your blog. I just want to thank you for really "getting it" in a grounded and pragmatic way.

Judith said...

That's a great way to put it: tell the cabdriver where to take you and then sit back and watch the cab go. We spend so much time trying to push that cab! I am glad you enjoyed the post.