To learn energy healing, the first step is to build and move energy. And the easiest way to learn that is through visualization.
But not just any visualization. It needs to be the right one for you.
That “for you” is key. There’s no one right visualization for everyone. To truly move energy, you need a visualization that’s aligned to your unconscious mind.
This post walks you through creating that visualization. It’s based on years of teaching students, then testing their results with blindfolded energy games. I’ll share why most energy visualizations don’t work for most people, why the best energy visualizations are personal to the individual, and how to create an effective energy visualization just for you.
What is energy?
We’ll learn to direct energy in this post. But just what is it that we’ll be directing?
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.
On this blog, I try to always use “energy” to mean that subtle energy produced by cells. I use other words (like attention or emotion) for other phenomena.
Read about the science here and here.
Why most visualizations don’t work
There’s no one right way to visualize energy. But that doesn’t mean that every visualization is equally effective.
Visualization is about communicating your intent to your unconscious.
But energy feels different to different people. To me, it feels like a gentle tingling. To others, it feels like heat, a pleasant pressure, or something more unusual – one student described a particular energy as feeling like “a stack of pancakes” in her hand. I don’t know what that means, but it described it to her.
Those sensations are the symbolic language of the unconscious. They are how that person’s unconscious represents energy.
My visualization speaks to my unconscious, based on the way energy feels to me. But your energy needs to speak to your unconscious, based on the way energy feels to you.
(I know this from blind testing with students.)
With that in mind, imagine your teacher gives everyone one of these common visualizations:
- Colored light moving up from the earth into your body
- White light coming from the sky into your head
- Glowing mist entering your lungs with each breath
Do you see the problem?
That visualization might work wonderfully for that teacher. But it’s unlikely to work for most of their students, because it won’t match the way the students experience energy.
If the students expect to feel tingling, they probably will. That’s how expectations work, especially for subtle sensations. If the students breathe deeply, they’ll feel tingling even more reliably, as it’s a side-effect of hyperventilation.
But most students won’t build energy.
To create energy, it’s important to speak the same language as your unconscious. But when a teacher gives you a visualization, it’s in the language of their unconscious. That’s the problem.
The solution is to build a visualization for yourself, that speaks the language of your unconscious. This post will show you how.
Three modes of visualization
Most people have one dominant sense, usually tactile, visual, or auditory.
Tactile people tend to do best by imagining how energy feels to them.
Visual people tend to do best by imagining a visual representation of that feeling.
Auditory people tend to do best by imagining a sound that represents that feeling.
This section will guide you through creating a customized representation of energy using all three: Tactile, visual, and auditory. If one feels best to you, focus on that one. If one or two senses feel bad to work with, feel free to omit them. You’re developing a way to communicate with your unconscious mind, so trust what feels right to you.
Just remember that when I say visualize, I mean to imagine the visual, auditory, tactile, kinesthetic, and other attributes you’ve associated with energy.
And don’t worry about getting it perfect. You can always adjust your visualization later.
Creating your visualization
If you’ve felt energy, or sensations that might be energy, think about how that felt in your body. This is the language of your unconscious.
(If you haven’t felt energy, imagine how it might feel. Common experiences include tingling, pleasant pressure, and heat. Pick a sensation that speaks to you. You can always change it later.)
Think of a visual representation of that sensation. A few examples:
- Tingling as static electricity hopping over your skin
- Pressure as a mist pressing against your body
- Heat as a red glow inside your body
Those are just examples — there’s no one right visualization, so create one that feels most natural to you. You can always change it later.
Then think of a sound that might go with your visual. Does the static electricity crackle? Does the red glow hum? Or is your energy silent? Again, do whatever feels most natural to you.
As you do this, try to set aside TV and movies. We’ve all seen depictions of superheroes and anime characters building energy, and it can be easy to draw from those stories. But just as it’s unlikely that your unconscious represents energy the same way as mine does, it’s unlikely your unconscious represents energy the way that fictional story does. Instead, tune into yourself and your experience of energy, and see what emerges naturally for you.
That covers the three senses you’ll use for your visualization.
To build energy, visualize the energy in your body. Most people do this by first visualizing one sense (tactile, visual, or auditory), then adding the second, then the third. If you know your dominant sense, start with that one. If not, just pick any sense.
Some people visualize the energy coming up from the earth, or down from the sky. Some visualize breathing it in from the air around them. Some visualize it emerging from within their body. Some experience it building in waves, while others experience it smoothly building. There’s no one right way to do it.
Some people associate different meanings with those different sources and sensations — you can do that if you want, but you don’t have to. Your energy visualization communicates your intent to your unconscious mind. Visualize the energy coming from wherever feels most natural to you. You can always revise it later.
Take a minute now to visualize energy building in your chest and stomach. Imagine the feelings of energy in your body, and the images and sounds you selected in the previous section. The visualization can be first-person, imagining the energy in and around you, or it can be third-person, as though you were looking at yourself. Take a few breaths to notice how it feels.
If you can’t express the visualization in words, that’s fine, just imagine the sensations, images, and sounds.
To move energy in your body, visualize the energy moving to the new location. Imagine the images, sensations, and sounds moving to the new location. Focus on where the energy is going, not where it used to be.
Try it. Visualize some of the energy moving from your chest up to your head. Take a few breaths to move it, then another few to notice how it feels.
If it feels like a rush or headache, you have too much energy in your head. If that happens, use your visualization to move some of the energy out of your head and back into your chest.
Once you’ve felt the energy in your head, move it back down into your chest, then into your shoulders, slowly down your arms, and into your hands. Pause and notice how that feels.
Place your hands on your legs, and visualize the energy moving from your hands into your legs and back up to your torso, making a loop. (If you’re new to energy, it may take some practice to create and maintain this loop.)
Take a few breaths to feel the energy flowing.
Releasing the energy
When you’re done with energy, you can release it.
Despite warnings from many teachers, releasing energy is optional. Based on testing, it’s usually fine to keep the energy you build in your body. Occasionally, depending on the particulars of the energy you built, holding excess energy can lead to a headache, difficulty focusing, or just feeling off. But most of my students like the feeling of energy and retain the energy after practicing, only releasing it on the rare occasions when they have those side effects. Feel free to test on your own.
When you want to release the energy, use the same visualization you used to build the energy, just in reverse: Visualize the energy going down into the earth (often called “grounding”), up into the sky, fading inside your body, or otherwise leaving. Whatever feels most natural to you.
You’ll know you’re done when the feeling of energy in your body subsides. If you’re not sure, just trust your intuition. This is an optional step, so if you don’t completely release the energy, that’s OK.
What if you decide to hold on to the energy, or just forget to release it, and you develop a headache, difficulty focusing, or just feel off?
Simple: Just release the energy and you should recover quickly. Use the steps described above.
(Note that those symptoms also have many non-energy-related causes. Releasing energy won’t help if your headache is due to dehydration. Make sure you’ve had enough water and food, and are otherwise taking care of yourself.)
Very rarely, releasing the energy won’t be enough, and you still won’t feel quite right. For those situations, here’s a more powerful way to reset your energy:
- Build some new energy using the visualization you created earlier.
- Move the new energy through your body, including your head, to flush the old energy out.
- Release the energy from every part of your body.
This will flush out the old energy and return your energy to its normal state. Learn more here.
Congratulations! You now have all the tools you need to start exploring energy.
(And one more note for anyone new to energy: Pay attention to how energy feels as you work with it, especially when you receive energy from experienced practitioners. It might feel different than you had guessed when creating your visualization. If it does, update your visualization to match how energy actually feels, and you’ll likely experience better results.)