Introduction to Energy Work

The truth is energy work is not flashy. Anything flashy is actually geared at stirring up emotional energy. Energy work is a subtle art. What you see as energy and how to work with energy varies from person to person. However, most of what people imagine as energy work that is flashy is imagination.

Imagination is powerful, but without connection and action, it merely remains imagination.

Effects/Flash (visual or physical) require activating actions, to put some of your energy into motion, so it then can cascade and grow out in effects.

To create light requires a person to set a reaction or process into motion.

If you only imagine without action: nothing happens.

While thinking a thought is an action, the majority of thoughts only trigger reactions within one’s mind or body into play. Before a person can complete any energy work, they need first to practice expanding their awareness beyond their mind and body to understand how everything is connected back to them. Over time you will discover connections that can then be tapped into and activated for effects.

For the most part, the only energy people work with -> is the energy tied directly within their own body. Developing your body energetically is a valid path to explore in energy work. This type of practice is very real and called Qi Gong. In Qi Gong, you can learn how to visualize light around your body and actions to better connect you to the body and actions that ripple outward. However, visualizing light and creating light are two different processes.

Energy work is a real skill, and many variations of energy work exist to explore. However, do understand energy work isn’t shooting sparks from your fingers. Rather most energy work consists of processes and actions in how you shape potential around you. Also, quite a bit of energy work is emotional and does impact our objectivity. Try to keep emotional energy work separate from physical energy work.

I am not minimizing imagination; I am warning you instead about getting stuck or limited by it. So understand imagination is important as the starting spark. But you have to follow thru with awareness. You use awareness to protect and strengthen the spark the imagination ignited for your use. Finally, with awareness, you connect the spark to fuel and potential to expand out the spark into something more sustainable.

Imagination, Awareness and Action all work together to complete dreams into achievements.

All of this doesn’t mean I have stopped practicing occasionally seeing if I can shoot a visible spark or two from my fingers. I am always playing and experimenting with what is possible every day and everywhere in my life, including energy work. I think it’s important to have an open mind and flexible life to explore these teachings.

Play with everything, especially with what others label as impossible. In the realm of possibility, it merely is a question of how to work with what is around you to build out what you imagine into a reality.

People tend to explore these teachings at the change points of their life, such as midlife crisis or moments when they need to find healing.  Always be careful to play in a way that reinforces who you are as a person. Never let crisis nor any extreme health situations push the teachings to undercut you from your baseline.  Play is important, but you don’t want to hurt yourself in play.

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What is energy?

By Webster:

  1. Dynamic quality
  2. The capacity of acting or being active
  3. A usually positive spiritual force energy flowing through all people
  4. A vigorous exertion of power: effort
  5. A fundamental entity of nature that is transferred between parts of a system in the production of physical change within the system and usually regarded as the capacity for doing work
  6. Usable power (as heat or electricity)

By Wikipedia:

Energy is a scalar physical quantity that is a property of objects and systems which is conserved by nature. Energy is often defined as the ability to do work.

Several different forms of energy, including kinetic, potential, thermal, gravitational, sound energy, light energy, elastic, electromagnetic, chemical, nuclear, and mass have been defined to explain all known natural phenomena.

Energy is converted from one form to another. This principle, the conservation of energy, was first postulated in the early 19th century and applies to any isolated system.

Although the total energy of a system does not change with time, its value may depend on the frame of reference. For example, a seated passenger in a moving airplane has zero kinetic energy relative to the airplane, but non-zero kinetic energy relative to the earth.

How does a Taoist Define Energy?

The previous definitions are decent definitions; they describe aspects of energy which help quantify activity and interchange.

A Taoist would say:

Our Physical nature represents: Mass: Position and condition of self.

Our Spiritual nature represents: Energy: Motion, activity and interchange.

Now keep in mind our two halves: our physical nature and spiritual nature are a Yin / Yang mixture to combine and form a complete person. We can shift the balance between these two halves of our nature accordingly.

So when as a Taoist I perform energy work. This is a statement of interchange, where I help another person re-balance the motion of their own life, their nature, etc. to help shift a person internally to a more healthy balance of being.

What is interesting, is that in Taoist practice you learn how to sense and visually interpret energy around us. This helps us work with the process of Motion, Activity, and Interchange more easily and completely. Instead of being an abstract concept, it becomes a tangible property of life.

Does a Taoist really see energy? Not directly. Anyone can see the end results of energy in action, seeing energy directly is another thing all together. However, the mind can develop the ability to process information and then overlay that information over our other senses in such a way we can then interpret and interact with energy in a more precise manner. In this way, we can see energy. As stated in an earlier post this is part of the nature of what Taoist’s call the Third Eye.

This can appear as being a mystical power due to the relative nature of the skill. But it’s a very real and tangible skill.

Some people do take this and go too far, make it fantasy. So you do need to be careful with people saying they are energy workers. Another problem is the relative nature of the skill. What one energy worker will see, is different than another energy worker. Some commonalities exist. We are human, and our form, our shape means we tend towards common baselines. However, the unique experience’s and nature of each person also ensures that each energy worker will see things from a different angle.

So if you do Qi-Gong: you are actually an energy worker yourself. It’s a practice which works with a person’s internal energy balance. Much of Qi-Gong training is about how to visualize and work with the motion, activity, and interchanges involved in your life. This isn’t mystical stuff, its all very real and tangible process.

In fact if you do any form of exercise, then you are in the initial stages of being an energy worker, learning how to balance the various energies in your own body.

Energy is an amazingly misunderstood aspect of our life. However, it does represent half of our life. We can interact and work with energy in every moment we breathe. However, because of it’s transitory nature people tend to understate and misuse their energy.

Because western culture is so physical, it understates the energy aspects of life. Many problems westerners face are due to improper use of the energy in their life.

Introduction to Spiritual Energy Work

One of the most confusing topics in my business is working with spiritual energy. I have been working to take much of the confusion out of this topic. I have experimented with teaching energy work form several different angles over the years. Trying to see which style of presentation works best to train people and also resolve out many of the false views on spiritual energy work.

I have been a Taoist explorer all my life, even as a child I was playing with ancient spiritual energy techniques. Then I went and became a physicist and engineer to understand energy from the viewpoint of modern science. The way people use the terms in energy work has always bothered me. People use the same name to mean different things. Many people try to reconcile and judge ancient techniques relative to modern terms. It’s a mistake always to compare modern to ancient.

Spiritual Energy: Modern vs. Traditional

The way we think of spiritual energy has changed over time. As a result, languages have changed and the terms we use now don’t necessarily translate to the way a shaman would see spiritual energy.

A shaman would see energy regarding life, spirit, and primal forces. A Shaman doesn’t create distinctions for teaching purposes. Instead, a shaman in training would experience life and then come to terms with it in a personal manner over time.


This page is set up to teach spiritual energy practices to students in Awakening Dragon Taoism. Julie approaches spiritual energy in a more traditional shamanic manner. This material is set up to teach in a written manner and also bridge the modern world language to more traditional teachings. I stress from a shamanic perspective you cannot thoroughly learn by reading or categorizing instead it’s something you ingest, take into yourself with direct experience, then play with over and over again to finally come to terms with life energy in a very interactive manner.

Life Energy Vs. Physical Energy

The first thing I am going to do is relabel the whole process.

Energy work is a generic term covering two distinctly different approaches of manipulating energy.

  • Physical Energy Work

Which represent physically measurable energy fields based upon physics.

  • Life Energy Work

Spiritual energy work techniques based on living/human perception

I’m making the distinction for a very good reason. Life energy work is subjected to human perception, and that blurs the lines to make it harder to quantify. When people try to measure spiritual energy work to physical energy work. We often create conflict, and that conflict doesn’t serve anyone.

Many life energy techniques cannot be measured directly to scientific standards, and yet they still work. So I don’t want to diminish valid techniques due to perception mistranslations that make the process harder to quantify. As a result, I want to keep the two areas separate for quantification and teaching purposes. Many life energy techniques can be quantified regarding physical energy, but that doesn’t make one technique superior to other methods.

All too many practitioners (scientific and spiritual) try to justify spiritual energy work in physical work terms. While comparing the two sides creates an exemplary scientific process,  people’s judgment taint the process into becoming lousy information. Taoist practice requires one to remove judgment. As a result, I had also to separate out the two systems to make everything smoother for my students.

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Life Energy Classification.

Several classifications get used over and over again within life energy techniques. There exist seven common groupings to collect together the life energy work techniques.

These common groups represent common themes, and each theme tends to produce very similar processes around the world.

The Seven Life Energy Work Groupings are:

  • Psychic: This represents Awareness of Life.
  • Spiritual: This represents Direction of Life.
    Note In Taoist Terms this is “Shen” and represents both Psychic and Spiritual energy
  • Chi: This represents the Spark of Life.
  • Jing: This represents the Cauldron of Life.
  • Emotional: This represents Feeling Life.
  • Potential: This represents Fuel of Life.
  • Field / Subtle: This represents Interconnections of Life.

Traditional Taoist teaching would only use three groupings: Shen, Chi, and Jing. However, in modern culture, we see the energy in more ways than the traditional Taoist sense. As a result, I have found it useful to extend out and use seven different groupings. It makes it easier to talk about different traditions and gives a slightly clearer perspective on the various angles of human experience and perspective.

As I stated earlier: the various traditional shamanic views can be quite different in the use of language. In fact, when I work with other shamanic friends, we use the term energy less than one would expect. Instead, we focus upon the spirit, upon intention and the context with which the spirit moves with, how does the spirit shift and what it is holding. Energetically, often a shaman is working in a different worldview altogether. It is not uncommon to shift worldviews while working in a shamanic manner. One second you could be talking about a strong, energetic emotion bond the next second you could be seeing it all as a vibrant spiritual being representing that emotional value. When you work with a shamanic perspective, you have to roll to where your senses take you. Often it isn’t practical to sort out experience to a common baseline (to do so ends any future journeys with that energy experience and makes the knowledge static and as a result then stagnant). A shaman always works towards a proactive journey, in partnership with the experience. The goal is growth rather than atomizing or forcing something into a static framework.


I settled into these groupings because it made it easier to teach spiritual energy practices. However, as I teach, the materials change relative to each student. The reason is due to the fact how we work with life energy is based on the human perspective. So the student shapes the teaching just as much as the teaching shapes the student.

Spiritual Energy Examples

What the seven common life energy groupings represent, are ways, due to human nature, people see and work with energy. These aren’t hard and fast rules, rather a guideline meant to help channel the visualization process life energy workers use to manipulate “energy”.

One aspect of life energy work is a life energy worker is trained to use personal senses to work with energy. A life energy worker doesn’t use equipment that can be calibrated to some neutral standard. This means life energy work is strongly influenced by each practitioner’s training and perceptions.

This means life energy terminology often becomes complicate or confusing quickly due to the perceptional differences between people. Also, people get upset over the differences in how they perceive energy very quickly, because this process is a very personal practice. So personal that practitioners do end up defining their own life relative to how they work with energy. Most energy workers use their techniques to explore the world around them deeply. The techniques aren’t only about healing others; life energy work is also about interacting with the world using additional nonphysical based methods. These techniques are used to explore what extends out beyond our physical world.

A side note: when a person gets upset over how something gets termed, or with the words used to describe the experience… then that’s a good sign they are working with a healthy does of emotional energy even if they claim else-wise.

Now one aspect about this is energy can shift form relatively easily. More importantly, since perception alters how we see it, this creates a very fluid environment to work within.

For example, this means:

  • (a) What the energy worker works with can be different than
  • (b) What the energy worker perceives and that can be different than
  • (c) What the energy workers feel within the client and that can be different than
  • (d) What client’s energy gets invoked and that can be different than
  • (e) What the client perceives from the energy worker and that can be different than
  • (f) What the client feels from within them and that can be different than
  • (g) What a third party witness will sense, and that can again be different from
  • (h) What a third party feels inside from watching

Read this very very carefully, because what this means is: it is possible to have many different combinations of what energies are in motion and being processed those present. This means trying to create a physical experiment to determine what is happening is not a simple situation to arrange to qualify what happened!

So for instance:

A simple life energy session could run like this

  • (a) The energy worker uses psychic energy to connect with another person
  • (b) The energy worker then might examine what potentials exist
  • (c) The energy worker then might use Chi to shift how the client Breathes to improve that client’s potential.
  • (d) The client’s Chi energy shifts as they begin to breath easier and with more awareness.
  • (e) The client feels a lightness of being as their muscles relax
    (so physically they feel better as they feel their Jing becoming reinforced and internal organs process the ailment more actively)
  • (g) Someone watching could sense the client’s potential expanding as they hold themselves with more surety of self
  • (h) In seeing someone else heal that same witness could feel their spiritual energy revive as they now feel encouraged to move ahead and be more active in their own life.

This is an exceedingly simple example of an energy working interaction. But I wrote it simply to illustrate how experience and processes can vary between everyone involved in a life energy working session. Working with field energy creates a much more complicated interplay of results.

A skilled life energy worker can help to focus the process on minimizing the confusion of perceptions, but still, this process isn’t about synchronizing perceptions as much as attaining results. Flexibility is one of the strengths of life energy work and trying to limit it down to only one or two ways to define the process causes more problems than it solves.

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Energy Work Questions

Today’s question:

I have a question about the energy generated from Taoist practices: I’m a little reluctant about generating so much energy and what is considered dangerous.

 

Energy is such a confusing term and used in so many ways. Let’s look at the different ways we use it in Taoism.

First: look at our nature :

  • We are physical: matter. On the surface level, people understand the mass/matter of their physical form.
  • We are also energy: We are fire. The body is the furnace, the fuel we burn is food: we are literally a living fire.
  • We are a process of reaction: We breathe, to bring in oxygen to oxidize and stoke the fire.

So our very nature is a Yin / Yang mixture of Matter / Energy

Taoism considers the three aspects of this situation.

Taoists take care of the body: the furnace to keep it clean and promote an even burn. If you burn too hot, you harm the furnace. Funny thing is Taoists, at times, are known to lessen our fire (our burn rate) on purpose to lengthen life and explore spiritual practices. Science has caught up to some degree and has shown how eating less can lengthen the lifespan. But this process of controlling the rate of burn-in life leads to many interesting Taoist practices. So this is one area of energy work in Taoist practice.

Taoists take care of the food we eat. The quality of the fuel we burn makes a difference for both keeping our physical self in shape and access to cleaner energy to work within our practices. This is very important for more advanced Taoist practices. However, eating well has an immediate impact of the quality of life even when not using it for purposes of focusing clarity into one’s practices.

We take care of how we breathe. This is the key step, by controlling the breath, we control the very center of the process of generation of energy. The core of many energy work practices is within the breath.

Qi-Gong practice often focuses on the breath and then upon shaping and keeping the body, the furnace, in optimal performance range. Much of the practice teaches a person how to reflect and keep track of their state of being to keep oneself in the form they desire for life.

Energy work is a central aspect of our life. You cannot harm yourself if you practice energy work at a moderate rate since energy is part of our very nature. You only harm yourself when pushing the limits. Going to the limit of any aspect of our life skews the balance of our nature. For instance, eating only sugar: it burns too hot and corrupts the furnace (our body) by leaving its residue behind.

It’s important to understand: energy is a fundamental aspect of life. It isn’t only crystal new age stuff.  To ignore the energy balance/aspects of one’s life is to ignore half of our nature. This is why many in western culture are unbalanced in their life practice. Addressing this imbalance is also why spiritual healing work can be very effective at times.

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Regarding Energy Questions/Comments Below

Before you post a comment or question, please take the time to:

  • Be clear and direct so that I can respond appropriately. I realize the experience of energy work often goes beyond words, which makes it even more important to take the time to edit and make your comments clear and concise.
  • We only teach how to work with energy directly to our students. We will delete any question asking us to teach techniques.
  • I will delete any comments which are: rants, morality/judgement statements, mention the use of drugs, medical questions, link to outside pages or aren’t respectful. Also on this page, I approach energy work as a natural process: Posts with religious references are removed.

Casey

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JOAN LEE

Love this, Thank you x

BRANDI M

Thank you for this mindful article. I am just now learning to work with energy. I have found that my experiences with energies as a child changed to fear as an adult through strict Christian upbringing. Although I have stepped away from that trapped mind thinking many years ago, there is lingering fear. My guides have done much to get me ready to understand what has always been….. and Now I want to hear and see and feel it all! But it’s not working like that. I loved your article because I was able to visualize the layers in which… Read more »

Lisa

I found this article to be incredibly helpful, thank you. I happen to be a Reiki master but I never really continued with energy work. I worked with an energy group and I was not grounded and aware of my surroundings and the people I worked with. It then opened a door way to mental illness. I under went a tremendous amount of energy and physical and emotional pain. I was in and out of hospitals too. I didn’t know what was going on with me until I sought out, psychiatric care. I went through doctors, medications. All which seemed… Read more »

This was incredibly helpful! Thank you so much for putting this together. What a gift! I asked myself the question, “what is spiritual energy?” and found this. It’s so clear! I can now say that I feel personally drawn toward emotional energy. This is how I perceive life energy. Wonderful!

Camron

Hello! I just wanted to say I loved reading your article and it aligns well with what I do as an Energy worker though I never knew any of the words used to explain it. To be honest I am trying to find a mentor to help me grow in my abilities which are many and hard to explain. I would greatly appreciate getting in contact with someone who can help me out especially because one of my ancestors was a Shaman from on of the Native American tribes and I feel like this is an important journey for me… Read more »

Phoebe

Wow! I woke up feeling low energy and googled how to manage/work with energy and this came up. I guess its for practitioners because I’m completely mystified, reading it 🙂

[…] could be about you making a big change within your life, it could be a major change on your spirit energy, your life purpose or your surroundings. The change may be be spiritual, physical or even both but […]

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