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If you’re new to energy healing, you may wonder about how people perceive energy. Truthfully, it can span all five of the physical senses and include the sixth sense, knowing. The most common way of perceiving energy, however, is feeling. I, too, am primarily sensitive to energy through feel, but I also utilize visualization within the sixth sense to do distant healing or healing work inside physical structures, e.g., cartilage. Because most people are feelers, I’ll stick to that mode of perceiving energy for now. It’s the easiest to learn and teach.
When I started on my energy healing path nearly 35 years ago, I was given a few exercises to develop my sensitivity to energy. More correctly, I was literally learning to perceive it at all. It’s not that it’s difficult; it’s just that life-force energy is rather subtle. Because our bodies are literally 100% energy in various forms, it’s a little like asking the water to describe water. Logically we know it’s there, but most of us have never cultivated the ability to look inward and sense what’s going on inside.
So, without further ado, here is a list of my four easiest ways to become sensitive to energy!
Number 1: Feeling Your Finger
It almost seems too easy, but when I first learned energy work back in the late 1980s, the first task I was given was to become aware of my body. We tend to be very outwardly focused in daily life. As such, there are many of us who are seldom aware of our body’s sensations. The reality is that our body is sending signals all the time. If you take the time to listen, you can get a lot of information about what is going on inside you.
The technique for feeling your finger is dead easy. Hold up your hand and extend a finger in the air. It doesn’t matter which finger, but I suppose most people would choose their index finger. Spend some time just experiencing the sensations inside your finger. Can you feel your pulse? Try concentrating on the area of your fingernail. Imagine the blood flowing through the fleshy underside of your finger. Do you feel any sensation there? If you do feel something in your finger, try to increase the volume of the signal you’re receiving. It’s like tuning your radio.
If you struggle with this exercise, it may help to close your eyes and slow your breathing. As much as possible, try to relax and have fun with it! This isn’t supposed to be a chore. It should be a joyful exploration of Self. You’re exploring a small part of your inner world. There is much to be found there.
As we place our awareness inside a part of the body, we induce physiological changes. The most immediate one is increased blood flow. The flip side of this experience, however, is that when we learn to become still and listen/feel what our body is doing in the moment, we begin to sense life-force energy itself. People sense this energy in a number of ways: throbbing, thrumming/vibration, cold, heat or even a sense of thickness. There is no right or wrong to how we perceive it. We’re all wired slightly differently and have subtly different filters.
Number 2: Rubbing Your Hands Together to Bring Chi to the Surface
In QiGong, it is thought that by rubbing our hands together, we raise our chi and bring it to the surface of the hands. This is a great way to get started and even 30-plus years later, I still do this before every session. Just rub the palms of your hands together briskly for 5-10 seconds as if it were a chilly day and you’re trying to warm up your hands.
Number 3: Opening Lao Gong (Palm Chakras)
This technique is also very easy. In QiGong, the meridian point called Lao Gong sits in the palm of each hand and is the “cup” in the centre of the palm that is surrounded by the fleshy parts. To quickly and easily open Lao Gong, we merely extend our arms in front of us with one palm turned up and one palm turned down. While in this position, breathe slowly and gently with your attention placed in the centre of the palm of each hand.
If you’re like me, you’ll soon feel a sort of pressure. If I do it long enough, the pressure can even change to become a sensation akin to being kneaded around the periphery of the Lao Gong point. If you don’t feel any major sensation there, don’t worry. Do, however, keep practicing a little bit each day. Remember to relax into this experience and enjoy it. Everything about energy healing revolves around a relaxed state while being fully present in the moment.
Number 4: Feeling Energy Between Your Hands
In this technique, we’re going to hold our hands close to each other with the palms slightly apart. For most people starting with the palms about 1-2 cm (1/2-to-3/4″) apart seems to work well. The basic idea is we don’t want to touch the hands or fingers at all. We’re going to alternate between two motions: Slightly and slowly moving the palms outward and inward while we focus fully on the sensation in the palms and fingers. Remember to breathe! Breathing is the most important thing the body does, and it’s no exception when we’re doing energy work/sensitivity exercises.
Some people experience the energy between the palms as an attractive force that seems to pull the palms together, but most people will feel a slightly repelling force, as though you had two magnets with the same poles facing each other. It’s subtle, but the longer you play with this, the more you’re likely to feel it. Once you’re beginning to really feel the energy between your palms as you change motion from inward to outward, you can try increasing the distance between your hands and see whether you still sense anything. If you don’t, move your palms closer together until you do and repeat the process.
If you keep feeling energy between your hands, don’t be shy about increasing the distance. While life-force energies are classified as subtle energies, there is no strict boundary of the body proper and its greater Etheric Double. As you spread your arms wider, you’ll be experiencing outer layers of the etheric double. This is a fantastic exercise and can be used as a form of meditation all on its own.
The variation that goes along with this is instead of moving your palms slightly outwards and inwards, we move one hand down and one hand up with the palms and fingers facing each other. At the extreme of one movement, the pinky of one hand will be aligned with the index finger of the other. Reverse the motion and mirror the position with the other hand’s fingers. By energetically raking the palms and fingers across each other in this fashion, we learn to be sensitive to the hills and valleys of the etheric double. The Lao Gong points move across each other and we learn to sense the drag of these meridian points across the adjacent palm. And as each finger moves past the fingers on the adjacent hands, we eventually begin to feel the resistance of the energetic “hills” of each digit passing through the energy field of the finger across from it.
As with the first outwards/inwards exercise, feel free to experiment with doing the second up/down motion while gradually increasing the distance that the palms are apart. Again, don’t worry if you find it difficult to sense the energy. It’s called subtle energy for a reason. If you do lose the sensation of it, check to make sure that your body is being held in a relaxed position, that you’re not stressing and that you’re breathing slowly and relaxedly. Keyword: FUN!
And that’s it for now! You have got all you need to cultivate a sensitivity to life-force energy and become a more self-aware human. Oh, and a Pro Tip: Sensing life-force energy isn’t limited to you, so don’t be shy about checking out your favourite pet, plants or partner. Make it a game of mutual exploration! Go deep enough down that rabbit hole with your partner and you’ll eventually find yourself in the realm of tantra. But that’s a story for another day.