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Dealing with energy!
Answer
12/16/09 11:51 AM
Hey guys! This is my first time posting anything. I'm enjoying what you guys got goin on here. I just have a good old question that I have been learning to work with for a while, and just wanted any tips on what you guys see from it.

About 6 years ago when I was the ripe age of 25 I started having really intense panic attacks from using psychedelics, and I guess the basic theme was "oh shit i can't handle this energy, and I'm gonna die." So I would normally just go run really far. It seems like many of you have been through similar things? So after doing a lot of great work with craniosacral folks, acupuncturists, yoga teachers and anything that worked for supporting me through this I did. And now I have a much deeper capacity to be able to panic without panicking. It was definitely the greatest learning experience of my life and I wouldn't take it back for sure.

So here's what I'm working with. I experience a lot of energy a lot of the time, I have a crazy sensitive nervous system. And when I pray or when I am meditating or just anything that connects me to the present, I experience intense energy shooting up my spine and it makes my whole body shake really intense, and I can pretty much call on it anytime these days. It is how I've always have experinced the holy spirit or whatever you wanna call it. But it is happening more and more frequently with me, and I relate to it like it is a sign post of where I wanna be going. I am just revisiting it in a different way now, and I have this underlying sense that there is so much love I can open up to, but I get fearful that my body just can't hold that space, and I still have similar feelings of being scared to let myself be able to let go that much. I know it is a process for sure, but I am becoming so clear that there is this very powerful energy that is accesible to tap into.

I think that says it clear enough what I'm really wanting to work with right now. And I always answer a lot of my own questions by writing them, but I am wondering what your experiences have been in this realm and the things that have worked for you as far as opening up without blowing yourself out of the water?

Thanks a whole bundle,
Jeffro P

RE: Dealing with energy!
Answer
12/16/09 2:19 PM as a reply to Jeff Kenneth Porter.
Hi Jeff,
Welcome to the DhO. The Kundalini, or Chi or Holy Spirit, or what ever you want to call it is a natural biological function of the body that has its own pathway, function and ending. The energy, already awakened in you, is a physio-energetic process that will end when it finds its home in the heart when the circuit or loop is closed. For most of us, it is a long process of what you have already alluded to in your posting - that of letting go. It works independantly of thought and feeling patterns, but is contained by them so when you get fearful or fill with doubt, those feeling states also have an effect in the physical body, creating blockage so the current cannot run. Your work so to speak can be seen as the willful intention to create the conditions under which the Holy Spirit or what ever, can complete its cycle. In the process it will 'clean' out your system of various tension, psycho-somatic illnesses, physical illnesses, etc. Be careful however with its power. Note though, that the shaking in the body is caused by blockage, mental and physical that are held in the body and mind simultaneously. You will be altered forever in a good way by this process but treat it with respect and awe. It cannot yet be measured by science and as such does not exist in that realm, but we all know how real it is. Also, read Daniel Ingram's book Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha, available at his website Interactivebuddha.com. You may be able to identify further aspects of your experience in this rather awesome book. Hope this helps you out in some way.
Paul

RE: Dealing with energy!
Answer
12/16/09 4:27 PM as a reply to Jeff Kenneth Porter.
Hi Jeff,

I'm going through a similar thing (lots of energy phenomena, which sometimes seems overbearing and causes panic, not unlike past psychedelic experiences). I'm still cracking the nut myself, but here are some observations and materials that have been helpful for me and hopefully for you too. (In the following I'll just describe my situation, assuming it's similar to yours, with the understanding that there may be important differences.)

The fundamental problem goes like this. There comes a moment when a surge of energy, and/or a spontaneous, subtle but unmistakable shift in perceptual experience arises. At this moment, a conceptual doubt arises: something like "uh oh, this is bad" or "I am not going to be able to handle this." This doubt causes resistance to the still-intensifying experience. This resistance causes panic and suffering.

If you accept that something like this train of events is what happens, perhaps you notice that there are multiple levels at which the situation can be addressed.

1. dissolve the conceptual belief underlying the doubt. The whole problem starts because of an underlying belief that something is going wrong or that you won't be able to handle it. Implicitly or explicitly, you believe that something bad is about to happen and you'd better resist it or else things will really turn out poorly. But is that belief correct?

You should try to rationally review your own experiences and the experiences of people with similar experiences, both for practice-induced energy phenomena and for panic attacks. What you will find is that although the experience itself is intense, in the end it's safe. It is subjectively wild but objectively perhaps not much more than an arousal of your sympathetic nervous system, not unlike what you experience during moments of stress or during moderate exercise.

You should know this not just in an abstract, discursive sense, but in a really believed, digested, felt-in-the-bones sense. Remind yourself of this, research it, thoroughly convince yourself of it. You are going to be okay when this stuff happens.

2. dwell in equanimity. What causes the suffering is resistance to the experience. One way to address that is to work on the belief fueling that resistance, to weaken it or prevent it from occurring in the first place. But if the urge to resist arises anyway, do your best to exercise equanimity.

That is, rather than getting your hands dirty trying to direct the flow of experience here or there, assume a radically hands-off, radically non-interfering disposition. Observe the experience as it comes, changes, and goes, without engaging it. Let it wash through; from your research, you already know it's going to harmlessly wash through on its own anyway.

At the most basic level, this applies to the experience of energetic phenomena, but in a more sophisticated way you could also apply this approach to whatever bodily feelings and internal, mental images and speech might be going on that convey to you the sense of fear and wanting to intervene. Don't let these experiences be your "base of operation", but rather, be equanimous about them too; observe them as just so much more sensations coming and going.

3. short-circuit the problem while it's small, instead of allowing it to get out of control. This is key. If you are like me, there is a clear moment during which you are evaluating your energetic experience (e.g. "uh oh, here it comes") but before which you have really got yourself in a bad way. What you do in the next few moments is pivotal. If you react poorly, then the thing can get really out of control and difficult to deal with. But if you react well, you can easily handle it and have a smooth (even euphoric) ride.

When you first feel that energy coming on, make a point of it to remain in complete equanimity during those next crucial moments. Let whatever happens, happen, without interfering at all. You may find that things go a lot smoother than you thought they would.

It's kind of like the onset of the energy phenomena is like the lighting of a match. You notice the small flame and see that you have a situation on your hands. You might think the match is dangerous (fear), so you should try to put it out (resistance). You pour water all over it, but turns out that the water was gasoline, and you've got a huge fire on your hands (suffering). This is what happens when fear the experience and thus try to resist it. You just make it worse.

Conversely, what you can do is notice the match is lit, but just check out how it sparkles without so much as breathing on it. You are okay with this because you know the match is just going to burn out harmlessly. If you feel the urge to put it out, just sit back and check out that urge too. Consider it to be an object alongside the match, rather than something internal that is guiding your actions. The match, left to its own devices, will eventually burn out harmlessly. (Or, maybe it will light up a pleasant fireworks display for you. emoticon )

The advice about equanimity (point 2) can be very difficult to apply in the heat of the moment, especially to your own evaluations, urges, and fears, and especially if you are already panicking. That's why it's important to exercise point 1 (to reduce spontaneous resistance) and point 3 (to nip the problem in the bud while it's still manageable). Really the fundamental point is to have equanimity (i.e. not to resist), because resistance is what causes all your problems in this scenario. But it helps to minimize the size of the problem that you have to remain equanimous about.

I like some of the stuff Shinzen Young has to say about equanimity. Maybe you'll find these helpful too.

general writing on equanimity and mindfulness
http://shinzen.org/Retreat%20Reading/artEquanimity.pdf
http://shinzen.org/Retreat%20Reading/What%20is%20Mindfulness.pdf

talk about ascetism, suffering, equanimity, and purification of consciousness (highly relevant!)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HPObyaLB68
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OsyekyUsImc

RE: Dealing with energy!
Answer
12/17/09 6:08 PM as a reply to Paul Hurley.
Thanks a lot! It's great to have a group like this with peep's who are speaking my language! I really appreciate the input a whole lot!

JP