Have you ever visualized energy, felt tingling, and wondered, “Am I really feeling energy, or just imagining it?”
I definitely have. Most of my students have too. Because the truth is, it’s easy to feel tingling due to placebo, expectations, or even hyperventilating from those deep breaths in many energy tutorials.
Not only that, but energy doesn’t feel like tingling to many people. Based on blind testing, energy can feel like heat, a light touch, or other sensations. When teachers tell you to feel tingling, they may make it harder for you to truly feel energy.
So, if feeling tingling doesn’t mean you’ve felt energy, what does? And how can you learn it?
In all my classes, we make sure students are really using energy by playing energy games. Here’s one:
Partner up. One person sends, the other receives. The receiver wears a blindfold (or closes their eyes) and holds out both hands. Sender, randomly pick a hand and send the energy. Don’t tell them which hand, don’t touch them, just send the energy. Receivers, feel where the energy is. (Details here.)
A few things happen when we play this game:
First, we learn that the obvious tingling was actually from expectations, and the actual sensations of energy are much more subtle.
Second, as students learn to succeed at the game, their confidence grows. They have data showing energy is real and they are using is, which carries far more weight than words and reassurances.
And third, as a teacher, I learn which techniques actually help students sense energy.
Over the years, I’ve developed techniques for reliably feeling energy, not just imagining sensations. The most important one, which I teach to all my beginner students, is below.
This post builds on How to create energy visualizations that actually work. If you haven’t read it, start there.
Energy, Emotions, and Expectations
We’ll learn to sensing energy in this post. But just what is it that we’ll be sensing?
The word “energy” can refer to a variety of phenomena.
We might say, “This party has great energy.” This doesn’t mean an energy healer set a field of chi throughout the house. It means that the music and conversation is exciting. Here, “energy” refers to emotion.
Or, “What a crazy day at work! My energy was pulled in ten different directions.” We don’t mean our co-workers were tugging on our chi. We mean our focus was split between meetings and interrupted by emails. Here, “energy” refers to attention.
Energy can also refer to the subtle energy produced by living cells. In the East, it’s called chi, qi, or prana, and in the West it’s called biofield energy or just energy.
We’ll be sensing that subtle energy produced by cells.
Students sometimes expect that this skill will help them read a person’s emotions, or that their skill with recognizing emotions will let them sense chi. Those are wonderful skills, but they are largely unrelated to chi. And pretty much everyone has to start at the beginning when learning to sense chi.
More on the many meanings of energy.
The Key to Sensing Energy
When you feel an object’s temperature, what you’re really feeling is how touching that object affects the temperature of your skin.
Similarly, when you feel a person’s energy, what you’re really feeling is how their chi affects your chi.
Here’s the problem: Most people’s energy is changing all the time. Think of your energy as a symphony, with dozens of musicians playing at once. It’s beautiful, but it’s hard to pick out a single musician.
When you listen for a client’s energy, that’s like trying to hear a single musician, a soloist. And, just like the other instruments have to become quiet to allow the soloist to be heard, you must quiet your own energy in order to sense the energy of your client (or your friend in the energy games).
That’s the key: Quiet your own energy so you can sense someone else’s.
How to visualize quiet energy
There’s no one way to visualize energy. Similarly, there’s no one way to visualize quiet energy. The key is to create a visualization that communicates your intent to your unique unconscious.
We’ll focus on understanding that intent: What quiet energy is, what it isn’t, and some tips that have helped students.
Quiet energy is steady, smooth, and calm. It’s flexible and responsive, not rigid or tense. It can move, but slowly and gently. It’s relaxed – think about allowing your energy to become quiet, rather than forcing it to become completely stationary. Above all, quiet energy listens and responds.
When you quiet your energy, you don’t eliminate or expel it, just hold it steady. Think of a placid lake, full of water but wave-less and smooth. Or think about how you can make your breath slow and silent to listen for the faintest of sounds, perhaps pausing your breathing briefly, but not tensely holding your breath.
Remember, our goal is to hold your energy steady, not your body or mind. You can have quiet energy while moving or speaking, and you can have non-quiet energy while sitting still or meditating.
To create a visualization for quiet energy, go back to your energy visualization. Think about what would happen in that visualization if your energy became silent and steady. Maybe the image slows down or pauses. Maybe the movements become smaller. Maybe the edges become soft. Maybe something else.
Think about how the sensations and sounds might change. Would they become fainter? Slower? Totally different?
If you prefer, instead of modifying your previous visualization, you can create a new one to communicate quiet and stillness to your unconscious. For example, one of my students visualizes a deep smooth river, still moving but not interrupted, no rapids or waterfalls. Another visualizes sand and sediment sinking to the bottom of her hands.
Using the Visualization to Quiet Your Energy
Start by engaging your energy. For now, start by building some energy throughout your body using the earlier visualization. This will also give you enough energy that you’ll notice when it becomes quiet. (Later, we’ll cover other ways to engage your energy.)
Once you’ve built some energy, bring your awareness to your stomach. Using your new “quiet energy” visualization, imagine that energy becoming quiet. Notice how it feels to make your energy quiet in your stomach.
Then bring your awareness to your head, your arms, and other areas of your body, one at a time. For each area, use your visualization to quiet your energy there. Again, notice how it feels to quiet your energy in each area.
Take a few breaths to notice how it feels to have your energy quiet throughout your body, then let it move and become loud again.
Read 5 more tips on quieting your energy.
Intermediate visualization for quiet energy
There are two approaches to visualization.
The simpler approach is to focus on your intent, and let your unconscious figure out how to act on that intent. For quieting energy, that’s the visualization I gave previously, where we represent stability and steadiness in your energy visualization, like a placid lake, or the movement of the energy slowing down. Those represent your intent, to have energy that’s steady and stable.
But focusing on intent has a weakness: Your unconscious needs to know how to act on that intent. Somewhere in your mind, there has to be the steps to implement that intent. If your unconscious doesn’t know how to quiet your energy, then no matter how clearly you communicate your intent, your unconscious won’t be able to quiet your energy.
(Specifically, your ethereal muscles, the parts of the mind that guide energy, need to know how to achieve your intent.)
In exploring energy and developing new techniques, I’ve run into this countless times, where I wanted to do something that my unconscious didn’t know how to do, or where I thought of a better way to achieve that intent and I had to guide my unconscious in how to do it. This led me to eventually abandon visualization, make my ethereal muscles conscious, and guide them through each technique until those movements of energy became natural and automatic.
But before making my ethereal muscles conscious, I first developed an intermediate approach to visualization, focused on the mechanism rather than the intent.
If quieting your energy doesn’t seem to work, this mechanism-based visualization will help. And even if quieting your energy is working, this mechanism-based visualization will help you make your energy even more quiet, to notice even more details about your client’s energy.
First, we need to understand what happens when we quiet our energy.
The Mechanisms of Quiet Energy
When energy becomes quiet, what actually happens? Or more precisely, to effectively quiet energy, what do we want to happen?
Let’s say I’m quieting the energy of my hand. First, recognize that my hand doesn’t have just one energy signature. It has many, for the bones and tendons and nerves and everything else. We’ll need to smooth all that out, give my hand a single energy signature, and make that signature steady.
(Energy signature is the type of energy. You may also hear it referred to as the color, texture, flavor, or element.)
To give my hand a single stable signature, I create a bunch of energy connections throughout my hand. These connections gently nudge my hand’s energy into the desired signature, then gently hold it steady.
“Gently” is the key. Quiet energy is responsive – the whole point is to feel the change in your energy caused by the other person’s energy. If your energy is firm and stiff, it won’t be able to change, and you won’t sense anything. The key is to very gently hold it steady, so it doesn’t change on its own, but the gentlest of nudges from the outside can still change it easily. Keep that in mind as we explore this intermediate visualization.
Creating that Intermediate Visualization
Guide your mind through the process, step by step.
First, visualize the energy of your hand. Don’t just imagine a hand, try to connect it with your hand. Bring your awareness to your hand, visualize the energy there, try to feel it all the way to the tips of your fingers.
Then, visualize a network of connections forming in your hand, starting at the wrist and extending out through the palm to the fingers, covering every bit of your hand. You can represent the connections any way that feels natural to you. Take some time (a minute or a few minutes, depending on your experience, you can trust your intuition at first and then experiment with different amounts of time and see how it feels and works.) Let your ethereal muscles form those connections.
Once those connections are in place, now visualize the energy of your hand quieting, using the intent-based visualization from earlier. Your ethereal muscles should know to use those connections to quiet your energy.
Quieting All Your Energy
When I quiet the energy in my hand for a healing session, I consciously create the network of connections. (Or engage the network of connections that I’ve previously set up as permanent connections.)
Same with the energy in my head when I’m communicating with ethereal software or ethereal beings, I create a network of connections to quiet the energy.
But if I’m quieting the energy throughout my body, I don’t create that network of connections. I just feel the energy in my chest and stomach and arms and everywhere else, and I focus on my intent to quiet it. My ethereal muscles know what to do.
Specifically, my ethereal muscles use connections that are already in my body to quiet my energy as well as they can. It’s less effective: My energy doesn’t become as completely quiet as when I create the network of connections. But it’s much faster.
Which is to say, don’t feel like you always have to do this complete, step by step visualization. It’s a tool, but not the only tool.
If you were previously unsuccessful in quieting your energy, practice the step by step visualization a few times (or a few dozen times). Let your ethereal muscles learn to quiet your energy as you guide them through the process. Then, once they’ve learned those movements of energy, you can focus on your intent, and your ethereal muscles will know what to do.
Next, we’ll cover ways that this step-by-step visualization lets us quiet energy even more effectively.