What are subtle energies?
In our 3D world we are very aware of the material objects in our environment, including our physical bodies. In fact, we live in a world where most people believe that only physical objects exist – objects that are visible and tactile; that we can see, feel and sense. The corollary is that if only objects built from atoms and molecules are real, then our body comprises only cells and functions like a machine. But is this true?
Medical science understands that our bodies “run” on electromagnetic energies, and that they are critical to our body’s optimal functioning. Medical techniques used to understand what is happening inside the body, such as EEG (electroencephalogram), ECG (electro-cardiograph) and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), all utilise the fact that our bodies produce electrical and magnetic currents.
Underlying everything we can see is another world containing even finer, and more fundamental, energies that are present, both in our bodies and in the world around us – just as electromagnetic energies are also present inside our bodies and in the natural environment. They are known collectively as subtle energies.
Subtle energies are actually very fine energies that we currently haven’t developed the technology to measure. Ancient traditions have described many subtle energies, some in great detail, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Most of us are aware of these subtle energies, at least unconsciously, and many people like me are able to sense them in various ways.
Many ancient cultures spoke of these subtle energies that animate all living things. They had various names for them: in the Yogic tradition, they are called prana; in China, chi or qi, and in Korea, ki. In Hebrew ruach, often translated as the “breath of God”, also refers to subtle energy.
Why are subtle energies important?
All the physical processes in the body are underpinned by subtle energy moving through it, often through specific subtle energy structures. If no subtle energy is moving in the body, we are devitalised, lacking energy – and in the extreme case, dead. Hence, this vital subtle energy is often referred to as life force.
This energy flows through and around our bodies, animating us, providing vitality, and nourishing our physical organs and cellular structures.
The ancients also described multiple bodies and structures that we can’t see, but that have a profound influence on us. What are some of these subtle structures?
The meridians, mapped by the Chinese, are conduits of subtle energy or chi. They are energy pathways that conduct the energy to all major organs and physiological systems in the body.
The Chinese mapped 14 of these “pathways”, and most of them are named for the primary organ that they service — for example: Heart, Liver, Kidney, Bladder, Stomach, Spleen, Lung, Large Intestine & Small Intestine. Two of the meridians, Central & Governing, form a circuit up the centre of the body and down along the spine, called the Microcosmic Orbit.
The aura, or auric field, is a series of subtle energy “shields” surrounding, but also interpenetrating, the body. It has the dual function of screening incoming energies that may be harmful to us, while also drawing in beneficial energies. It is a two-way communication system, allowing us to transmit and receive these fine informational energies.
The chakras (literally wheels in Sanskrit) are akin to transformers, stepping down higher-frequency energies to a frequency level that the denser physical structures can handle.
The seven major chakras are located along the spine from our tail bone to the crown of the head, and each one governs specific functions within our psyche. Each chakra feeds energy to the areas of the body within its neighbourhood, and also processes and stores incoming information relating to its function.
There are many other ways that this life force energy moves through the body, and other subtle energy systems exist. The three above are the most well known.
Healing the subtle energy body
Eden Energy Medicine founder, Donna Eden, who sees these subtle energy flows, has recognised them as correlating to traditional energy systems, such as meridians, chakras, the auric field and radiant circuits among others. She also identifies lesser known systems such as the Celtic Weave and Tibetan Rings.
Donna describes how life force energy always wants to keep moving. It is rather akin to rivers and streams, where water also moves wherever there is a gradient. Just like a river, there are various ways in which life force can get blocked or stagnate in the body. Where there is too much energy (a blockage) or too little (a deficiency), that is where problems are most likely to arise. They may manifest as pain, charged emotions or disease.
The goal of all Energy Healing is to identify blockages and deficiencies in subtle energy flows, and then to facilitate a healthy reinstatement of the flows through specific techniques. Eden Energy Medicine has many techniques that, with training, allow you to directly act on the subtle energy systems. For example, by tracing a certain meridian you can encourage its healthy flow; tapping specific locations on the body can stimulate the flow of energies, or sedate them if the flow is too great.
Other forms of energy healing, such as Reiki, simply tap into the body’s innate intelligence and allow natural hing functions to reboot or be restored. A Reiki practitioner uses their hands to direct universal energy or chi to various parts of the body, but the body’s intelligence then uses that chi for healing and balancing energies in the most effective way. As a result Reiki sessions are very gentle and relaxing, as there is no direct manipulation or intervention by the therapist.
An understanding that we comprise these subtle energy systems allows us to respond with greater sensitivity to our environment, and to be more resilient, able to face the many challenges of our lives.