In last week’s installment we introduced the concept of Energy and focused on a high-level comparison of Energy and the Star Wars concept of The Force. This week I want to take a step back and cover this topic on a more personal level because it is my own personal experience of Energy that has driven my desire to understand it, explore it, and share about it.
Twenty years ago, I had my very first awakening to this energy that connects us all.
Barely seventeen, I attended a Tai-Chi workshop run by one of my high school English teachers. She instructed us to rub our hands together to generate some heat (and presumably electricity) and hold them a few inches apart facing palm to palm.
We were then instructed to move our hands towards and away from each other to see if we could ‘feel’ anything. I gasped as I felt the air thicken between my palms into a substance like magnetic taffy. Other gasps in the room suggested that I wasn’t the only one having an otherworldly experience. What was this?
I went home and spent hours just playing with this substance. Could I feel it without rubbing my hands together? What happened if I hovered the palms of my hands over other parts of my body? Could I stretch it to be ‘bigger’ or condense it? Little did I know that I had awakened to a whole new way to experience my own existence that would permeate the rest of my life thus far.
The next day I went to school and excitedly approached my fellow students from the Tai-Chi class. To my dismay, each one I spoke with insisted that they hadn’t felt anything. Disheartened and thrown into doubt, I began to question what I had felt. Had it all been my imagination?
My initial enthusiasm and desire to share gave way to a quiet, individual exploration – the most dangerous kind. When I got home that evening I again spent hours ‘playing’ with ‘my chi.’ I practiced ‘sharing energy’ with select, trusted friends always focusing on deepening my awareness of how the energy moved and changed.
Although my friends said that they could feel it too when we shared energy, they didn’t seem to have nearly the same drive to understand it that I did. I felt confused, weird, and alone. It’s difficult to fathom this experience today because we are all so tapped into the internet that it’s fairly easy to find other people or sources of information wherever our interests lie. But in 1995 & 1996 the internet was still in a very raw state and only starting to seep into home use.
The summer of my eighteenth year my heart chakra ‘opened’ or ‘tore’ or something. Of course, at the time, I had no idea what was happening to me. I didn’t even know what a chakra was.
On the recommendation of my English teacher I picked up the book Hands of Light by Barbara Ann Brennan. The book was both exciting and disheartening. Exciting because the work validated my own experience (at least I wasn’t totally crazy). Disheartening because her location in New York seemed a ‘world away’ to a high-school student in Chicago.
Playing With Fire
Based on a section where the author discusses the energy of plants, I decided to try ‘sharing energy’ with some plants. My hope was that they would grow better with the addition of my energy into their field – or, if not that, that maybe I would feel more ‘connected’ to the natural world.
Growing up, there were always plants around. My mother was always growing things. In our breezeway, I found a table full of potential energy-sharing subjects. I chose one larger (but still easy to carry) houseplant and then a smaller plant among a dozen of the same kind obviously waiting to be transplanted.
Late at night, before bed, I took each plant individually (of the two) to my room and sat on the floor sharing energy with the plant for fifteen minutes. I then returned each plant to exactly the space on the table where I found it. I did this every night for about a week, but after not seeing any dramatic changes or results within those days I lost interest a little bit and stopped for a few days.
One day, shortly after I had stopped my energy ‘experiments,’ my mom came down into the basement, obviously distracted. “Two of my plants died” she started, “And it’s the weirdest thing. They’re not dried out or yellow from too much water. There is no sign of a disease, and they were fine a few days ago. They’re still perfectly green, but brittle like husks – it’s as if whatever made them alive is just ‘gone.’ There are at least a dozen other plants on that table, but none of the other plants were affected. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
As she spoke, I felt a growing dread and I raced up the stairs. In my heart I already knew which two plants it would be. Sure enough, as I looked at the two plants I had been sharing energy with so recently, I could see what my mom meant. I had never seen anything like it either. If I had to describe them, I would say it was like the plants had been ‘flash frozen’ except they weren’t cold and it was the height of summer.
To be fair, it could have just been an incredible coincidence. My home could hardly be equated with ‘lab conditions.’ But the timing and effects were highly suspicious. Two other incidents that happened roughly around the same time cemented my concern that I was ‘messing’ with something I didn’t understand at the risk of potentially disastrous consequences.
We use the expression ‘playing with fire’ for a reason. All the energy forces we know of are similar in this regard – indispensable in a small or moderate quantity, but highly destructive in vast and uncontrollable quantities; like a wildfire, flood, or hurricane. This is not to say that my energy is vast, but I certainly couldn’t control it and it may have seemed quite vast to a houseplant. I decided to stop experimenting.
Where to go From There
Despite my departure from actively ‘practicing’ with my energy, I continued to meditate and I continued to have energy-related experiences. I had psychic flashes where I suddenly ‘knew’ things I shouldn’t know. I started spontaneously ‘manifesting’ or ‘co-creating’ – meaning, I suddenly and unexpectedly started getting whatever I asked for, even silly things.
One of the oddest, my junior year in college I had a surreal experience when I was working in a warehouse as part of a summer job. I was standing next to a bunch of wooden pallets which were stacked to near shoulder-height. Another worker approached me quickly with a stack full of pallets piled high. Behind me was the drop-off for the loading dock. I was about to be crushed by the pallets and there was nowhere to go!
I remember moving. I remember lifting one leg and making a twisting movement and putting my foot down and lifting the other leg and twisting. I know it happened fast, so fast that the motion was a blur, even for me. But I remember the movement, kinesthetically. My next full conscious moment I was on the opposite side of the pallet stack. My co-worker looked at me and said, “How did you….?” And then he freaked out yelling, “Did anybody else just see that?”
I started to explain, to show him how I had done it, but when I tried to lift my leg the way I remembered doing, there was no way I could have gotten it high enough to get even my leg over the pallets, nevermind the rest of my body. I was struck silent and confused, I had no idea how I got from one side of all those pallets to the other with the loading dock drop-off right behind me (there was nowhere to step where I had thought I put my foot down.)
That was just one of the dozens of ‘energy’ experiences I have accumulated over the last twenty years. I know I am not alone. There is a relatively silent contingent of people out there who have had experiences just like mine, maybe the experiences are not exactly the same mechanically, but they are the same fundamentally. One of the important things to take away from this story is that every person I ‘shared’ energy with could also feel that energy. This is a capacity we all have if we’re interested in pursuing it.
My hope is that sharing this part of my story has communicated that – when I talk about Energy on the blog it comes from what has been a deeply personal, tumultuous experience for me. I am constantly grappling with this concept; vacillating between skepticism and devoted faith, struggling to understand it without becoming so attached to the idea that I hang my whole identity on it.
I believe that the Universe is made up of Energy, that that energy is connected, and that the direction and flow of that energy is open to influence not as a result of reading or studying some new-age theory, but because that has been my personal experience in the last twenty years; over and over again.
How does this Energy I refer to on the blog compare to the concept of The Force in the George Lucas Star Wars universe? Next week we’ll start a side-by-side comparison between the powers exhibited by Star Wars’ characters and the phenomenon that I have experienced with Energy.