I’ve been writing about observing energy by quieting one’s own energy. A reader, Faring Forth, asks:

Do you worry that you or others may absorb unwanted or undesirable energy in the process? I am not a practicing healer, so this may be a 101 question. As an empath, I have learned the importance of grounding, centering and shielding. Perhaps calming the energy does not equate to vulnerability? I am troubled by being too greatly affected by the volume and intensity of my surroundings.

Quieting your energy is actually helpful for preventing unwanted energy from affecting you.

First, let’s dispel a few myths:

Some teachers give dire warnings about harmful energy, the importance of grounding, shielding, and the like. I used to worry about that, too. But as I’ve learned more, I’ve realized that most energy has very little impact.

The biggest shift was when I started doing blind testing to rule out placebo. I realized that often, when a person “feels energy,” the sensations actually come from suggestion and expectation. And I saw how much skill and effort are required to create noticeable change with energy alone.

Note: The word “energy” has many meanings, including attention and emotional affect. For example, talking with an upset person can make you feel agitated, and you might say you “picked up their energy.” But that doesn’t mean you absorbed their chi, it means your limbic system responded to their words and body language. My focus is on the body’s subtle energy, which in the East would be called chi or prana, and in the West is called biofield energy, or just energy. That’s what we’re quieting when we observe someone else’s biofield energy / chi / prana.

Can you get side effects from absorbing a large quantity of unwanted biofield energy? Absolutely. Things like mild headache or irritable mood could certainly come from large quantities of unwanted energy. But they can also come from a car honking, remembering an unkind conversation, or just not drinking enough water. So do basic energy hygiene, but don’t worry too much about unwanted energy.

Here are  three ways to do basic energy hygiene:

  • Close yourself to incoming energy. I teach this in my Step-by-Step Energy Basics.
  • Notice unwanted energy. Tune in, notice what’s happening with your energy, notice if any of it is in an unhealthy signature. The key to doing this, of course, is quieting your energy so you can listen. (Quieting your energy doesn’t make you more open to energy, it just lets you notice energy more clearly.)
  • Flush your energy out. Build your own energy, move it through any areas of your body that have unwanted energy, then release it. I teach this in my Step-by-Step Energy Basics, too.

Picking up unwanted energy is like getting mud on your boots. Notice it, clean it off, then get back out there and keep exploring.

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