Imagine the sun shining on your face. Now go outside and let the sun shine on your face. One will get you sunburned if you do it for too long and the other won’t. That’s the difference between sensing and imagining that you are sensing. When learning to sense subtle energy many people are confused because they lack one simple distinction; the imagination can be used as a tool for sensing actual or for conjuring a fantasy of energy.
Feeling energy is an act of sensing. Not all forms of energy are sensed in the same way. You don’t feel eyesight, neither do you smell it, unless you are synesthetic. You don’t smell the softness of a puppy, you touch it, but I have to say that puppies, like babies, have a great smell.
Sensing subtle energy, like qi, requires acuity training, even if you are naturally talented. Our society is skewed toward intellectual education which makes us less sensory orientated. I believe this is one of the reasons for the growth of the food industry and foodies. Food is sensory based as a sense experience is easily accessible for our busy lives. Even if your senses haven’t been dulled it takes training to gain acuity, and even with training, some people just aren’t destined for ultra sensitivity. Not everyone can be a great sommelier, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy wine. When I drink wine I don’t taste currants or vanilla or hints of lavender or chocolate, I taste alcohol. Even if I could taste, and describe with great detail, the variety of nuanced flavors in the wines of the world, pairing them with food requires additional extensive education and experience beyond acuity. The same is true of sensing energy. Sensing energy requires training to make what is being sensed useful.
My Qigong Master is able to distinguish the qi of alcohol from other parts of the liquid that make up wine. His ability was tested in China during the Cultural Revolution. The government was weeding out the charlatans from the real practitioners. He was placed in a laboratory room with two sealed vials of alcohol. Without touching them he decreased the alcohol content in one of the vials, then he raised it back up again. Knowledge and experience allows him to even dissolve gallstones. I know people who needed gallstone surgery before being treated by him, and now they don’t. Somehow he dissolved the gallstones without harming the gallbladder or other tissues.
I meet people all the time who are more clairvoyant than me, but they haven’t developed the ability and experience to make sense of what they see or turn it into useful information. It’s the same with our five physical senses, just because you see someone crying doesn’t mean you know why they are crying, or if there’s anything you can or should do to help. This is one of the limitations of empathic ability; many people have the ability to feel the emotions of other people, but they don’t know the reason or cause for the emotion. It is natural to feel for people who are suffering, but simply wanting to stop their suffering is not enough. There are wise and unwise ways to render aid. Presumption and assumption will get you fucked up. Literally. I know of a cop who went to a domestic call where the guy was beating the woman. The cop responded appropriately to the violence only to have the woman turn on him and beat on him because she thought he was hurting her man. The cop went to rescue her and she ends up beating on him. See what I mean? You can never assume anything. Maybe the person you want to help is sad because they didn’t get their way and are acting like a spoiled child. Also, just because someone is sad doesn’t mean they want help, or the kind of help you offer. There are ways to bring people to awareness kindly, but some people don’t want help, they want the wrong kind of help in the form of enabling or attention.
As a Hawaiian healer/minister I was trained not to advertise because if someone found you serendipitously it is more likely they were guided to you, which means they are more likely to benefit your help. These are just some small examples of the experience needed to use any of your senses in helping people.
Remember, the first rule is respect.
The second rule is don’t assume anything.
When sensing subtle energy your brain may interpret the same energy differently from someone else sensing the same thing. It doesn’t mean one of you are wrong. It means your brain processes the information differently. During a training session I had a student sense a plant. She hesitated telling me fearing she was wrong. I encouraged her to tell me anyway. She got an image of the sun followed by an image of rain. I told her it was accurate. I had sensed the same plant and “heard,” “I’m thirsty,” she got an image of the sun which represented the cause of dryness and the plants need for rain or water.
Don’t let an increased ability to sense get to your head. The ability to sense at different frequencies does not mean you are a fundamentally better, or more spiritual person, than people who do not. That would be like believing a person with eye sight is automatically more spiritual than a blind person. Obviously, that isn’t true. Dogs can hear at frequencies humans cannot. That doesn’t mean dogs are more spiritually developed than humans. Or does it? I’ve seen dogs behave more kindly than some humans. Humanity needs to give greater focus and education to being humane.
There are many ways energy perception is interpreted through your brain. When you sense the energy of a plant with your hand you might feel it in your palm, finger tips, in your mind in the form of thoughts, in your body, you may see it’s aura. Your brain will usually relate to the perception the way your physical senses do and with the knowledge in your brain. Perception is limited to knowledge, experience and the five senses because anything outside of that won’t make sense to and is likely to be ignored.
Imagine you were a Lakota boy 500 years ago and you just finished your vision quest. You meet with the Medicine Man and tell him you had a vision of you in the head of a long shiny bird. Behind you in the body of the bird were many people, as much or more than your tribe. Today the Medicine Man would know that you were a pilot flying a passenger jet. Five hundred years ago the Medicine Man could also interpret the vision to mean you are a leader of people, you are the next Medicine Man, or you had a prophecy he doesn’t fully understand. Having no knowledge of airplanes, the Medicine Man could only interpret your vision with his current knowledge base. Well, he could also think you were deluded. Luckily most medicine men and women are beyond quick judgement. Information without relevance or context is useless. I will cover this more in a future blog post on the value of prediction.
Keep the act of sensing energy simple and real. Stay balanced in your heart and head. Keeping head and heart balanced prevents you from getting stuck or overly controlling. It’s not just what you sense, but what you do with the information, that matters. The ability to respond to the information is often more important than the information. Personally, using sensing ability to keep centered, open and peaceful is more important than using it as a defensive tool. Being defensive and reactive may lead to a safe life, but not to a happy one. The mental habit you form by always being defensive will not result in peace and happiness. Sense a tree. Sense the sky and clouds. Sense an an Angel of Heaven and divine love. Sense a great being you believe in such as Christ, Mohammad, Buddha. Sense the love in your heart and soul. Sense the love within and all around you and your life will be good.