What Does Energy Feel Like?
When I first started learning about awakening symptoms and spirituality I heard a lot about energy. I would read and watch videos and often hear people mention this energetic-life force which influenced reality. It sounded similar to emotions, but different. Immediately, when I heard about it my heart leapt because it brought some experiences I had never been able to describe into perspective, but my brain was quick to shut myself down.
I would be surprised if I was the only person who doubted themselves when they first entered into this new way of perceiving reality or questioned if the things that others spoke about pertained to them as well. Afterall, other people in the spirituality community seemed so convinced of what they were saying. They believed just as strongly in their view of reality as the Christian community I had been immersed in during college and the academically focused scientific community I had grown up around. All these explanations for why things are as they are and what choices to make to live the most fulfilling life were stated with confidence and it was confusing to me to try to discern which of these sincere believers came closest to the truth.
Energy talk made sense to me, but it was a new language and I couldn’t be sure if the things I perceived matched the explanations provided. I had wished at the time that instead of explaining how energy worked someone would tell me what it felt like so I could compare my own experience and come to a personalized understanding. There are probably other personal examples now, but this kind of sharing is what I hope to do here today. I’m not writing an objective guide to what energy feels like for everyone or in general, this is just my experience with it. This is how I perceive certain strange energetic experiences and things that I have found helpful in navigating them. I imagine that just as we all may unknowingly perceive color, taste, or touch differently, we also are likely to perceive energy dynamics differently while using the same language to describe it. Even so, it can be helpful to talk about these perceptions so that we can bounce our ideas off each other and see the places that they seem most similar and the places where they differ. I believe that this is one of the best ways to develop clarity and understanding, it also helps form connections and community. With that in mind, please leave a comment to share your own experiences and perceptions if that is something that you would like to do or reach out using the contact page if you want to share anything privately.
What Do I Mean by Energy?
Before I dive into my perspective on feeling energy, I want to take a minute to explain what energy is in the spiritual sense. Energy has so many different definitions that depending on the context and background of the person you are talking to you could be using the same word to describe very different things. In this context, energy is somewhat abstract. You could think of it as a kind of life-force, except it runs through everything in existence, not only things that are alive. It is that unexplainable force that causes electrons to move around protons, creating buzzing in atoms. Everything in existence is in constant motion and the energy is the force that moves it. When it is used in spirituality it is associated with things like vibration or frequency and is a key player in the law of attraction. The explanation for this is that different things vibrate at different frequencies. In music this is easy to understand because low notes vibrate slower than high notes. According to the law of attraction, things of similar vibrational frequency are pulled together and things of different vibrational frequencies are pushed apart. This can get complicated because people and things can emit multiple frequencies simultaneously, leading to colorful, hard-to-confine experiences that don’t always fit neatly into boxes. In general, though, feeling good is an indication that you are emitting frequencies that are in harmony with your highest good and purpose and will tend to lead you toward experiences that match those frequencies and register emotionally as being pleasant.
Energy is not physical or emotional, but it directly influences both emotions and physical experiences. Therefore, it is usually a good idea to maintain an energy that is aligned to things like health and wellness and use it to pull in more positively matching experiences (this is over-simplified but that’s the idea). All things including non-physical things like thoughts, ideas, emotions, and memories are made up of energy and when they are near to each other things of different vibrations can influence each other. This is why there is such an emphasis on things like thoughts in spiritual communities, because thoughts vibrate with different frequencies and impact the energetic wellbeing of the individual thinking them as well as those in that individual’s environment.
This view of energy is not generally accepted as valid within the scientific community. However, there are often scientific principles, findings, and studies cited in the spiritual community to explain it. To be fair, science primarily focuses on things that are objective and quantifiable, which makes it very solid in many areas but also limited in what it can confirm and explain. From my perspective, science is one of many perspectives that can be used to understand reality and there are some places where it is extremely helpful, but there are also times when it is very limited.
That’s a brief summary of what I’m talking about when I’m talking about energy in this post. I will go into my own experiences now. Please note that I’m not a medical professional and the following is not medical advice. I’m sharing my experience with certain energy-related sensations and what I have found helpful for working through them. I have no training in traditional or energetic/holistic medicine, these are just experiences that I have stumbled through and am sharing for the purpose of relating. If you have concerns regarding health which require treatment, please seek advice from a trained practitioner.
What Does Energy Feel Like?
Energy can be perceived in different ways by different people. There are some people who are more sensitive to it and therefore will experience it in a less subtle form, but for many people it can take time and practice to be still enough to become aware of different influences of energy. I’ve also found that how I perceive it differs depending on where the energy is moving and the circumstances around the motion. I will briefly explain some of those different circumstances and what I do to respond.
Pain in my Auric Field
My first conscious experience with energy was pain--burning specifically. There was a burned sensation that I would get around my back or arms when I was seeing and hearing things that others couldn’t perceive. I would call it a burned sensation more than a burning one because it was never sharp the way a burn is when you first get one physically, it felt like some part of me had been burned in the past and was now throbbing. The thing that was odd about this experience was that it was not physical or emotional and since I did not know about energy or spirituality when I first started experiencing it, I had no idea what to do about it. The sensation was real but it existed outside of my body. I would try to describe this feeling to doctors, therapists, and in groups but I never met anyone who had experienced anything similar. I still haven’t found anyone who has had this kind of experience, so if you can relate, please share, I’d be interested to learn more. The way that I eventually learned to interpret this sensation was some kind of pressure or intrusion within my aura (since it’s outside but near my body). I don’t generally focus on this kind of energetic pain alone, I notice it arises when I am also getting overload with messages, so when this feeling comes up I will take some deep breaths to get into a meditative state and ask what the messenger is trying to convey. Sometimes I get a straight forward message but often there is just a feeling of pain and aloneness. I interpret this is a fragment of consciousness that is in need of compassion and then I ask for healing energy and envision a white light coming through me and wrapping around it. The light is for both of us- if it will accept it- but I make sure that it is radiating vibrantly through my body and into the space around me. I don’t take the painful piece inside me as I used to because I learned that this was counterproductive, but I don’t push the painful piece away either. We sit together in the light. Usually, the pain subsides after a short period of time and I am able to focus on what I was doing before; sometimes I become overwhelmingly tired, this takes a little longer to recover from if I am not able to sleep, but once the tiredness resolves I notice that the pain tends to resolve as well.
This experience does not happen to me with as frequently or intensively as it used to. I attribute the change to the fact that I put a lot more conscious focus into taking care of my energetic health now. Exercising frequently (especially running while meditating—my favorite spiritual practice), eating foods that feel good, and being aware of the sensations in my body and when and what to do to replenish—have helped with this. The first shamanic practitioner I worked with told me that I was very porous and gave me some meditations for building a more solid energy boundary as well. All of these things have reduced that specific type of auric pain, but when it does still show up it tells me that 1. There is something near me that is in pain or has a message that I need to listen to and 2. I need to bring my attention back to my own energetic well-being and replenish my health before burning out.
Knots Inside the Body
When I was growing up my mom would sometimes ask for a massage. I never knew what the goal was supposed to be so I was not very good at it. When I got older someone finally explained what knots were and how to know what they felt like and massage them out. Once that registered I could find knots and trace pain and tension back to the knots hidden in a slightly different areas of the body. Energy blockages follow the same idea. There is usually a widespread pain that you can feel. It isn’t necessarily physical but it can definitely take that form especially if there is a lot of pressure built up around it. In my experience there cab also be some temperature variance associated with the pain, for example, a certain area can be perceived as being so cold that it burns or so hot that its freezing. The temperature of that area might actually be a little colder or warmer than the rest of the body as well. I’ve found that massage helps a lot with this kind of pain, but if the underlying issues aren’t resolved it will keep returning. Physical movement such as stretching and certain types of repetitive motion can also help to alleviate pressure in these areas and clear blockages. Exercises like yoga and tai chi are great for keeping the energy flowing throughout the body with fewer blockages and I found chakra-based meditations particularly helpful when I notice an area that repetitively ends up in this type of pain. Talking to the pain or the part of the body holding the pain and building up pressure can also be helpful, along with research into the body part’s symbolic correspondence. There are many times when emotion and external conflicts show up physically in this way, so finding themes related to certain characteristics can help you locate an underlying root.
This is my favorite type of energy related sensation, even though it can be a uncomfortable when it is strong. I think of it as growth and the visualization that I get is of electric sparks pushing through gray matter and creating pathways to disburse the light. I noticed this sensation happening a lot when I was first starting to run and sometimes it would get uncomfortable enough that I would stop and have to use the bathroom. When I was running, I would feel it mostly as pressure in my lower stomach and bladder. It would also happen when I tried strength training but then I would feel it in my arms or legs, whichever part of my body was being required to work. The feeling for this is one that is tingly. It feels like static but I find myself wanting to laugh and cry simultaneously. It doesn’t hurt, but when the sensation is strong it makes me want to curl up.
Even though I first noticed it when I was making a conscious effort to exercise, it doesn’t only occur because of physical exertion. I notice this sensation in different locations-- sometimes I will feel it in my chest near my heart, other times it will be in my stomach, or around my head, sometimes it is everywhere. I interpret this as being related to whichever system needs expansion. One positive thing I have noticed is that it tends to happen more frequently when healing is taking. I might wake up from a particularly emotional dream and find this buzzing sensation or the feeling might start to come in during the resolution of some conflict.
There can be different temperatures associated with this type of energetic change as well and I sometimes notice that it coincides with the energy sickness that I’ve described in a previous post. It’s a strange occurrence. Initially when I noticed it in my stomach or chest I would call it anxiety, but I’ve learned to recognize it as a movement towards change. It still has an odd sensation but labeling it as excitement or growth helps me reduce the level of panic I used to associate with it and redirect my thoughts to more positive things to come.
If the sensation gets really strong and I am able to then I will usually just lay down and feel the movement. I’ll take mental notes about where it is the strongest, the direction, and anything that seems to increase or decrease the sensation. I’ll try not to curl up because this seems to stymie it, and I believe that this sensation is actually a positive one that shows up because it is helping create change. It is the energetic equivalent of squeezing dirty water out of rag. Since this sensation seems more beneficial than detrimental my focus isn’t on alleviating it but adapting to it. Over time the sensation becomes less noticeable but bringing attention to it can help with recognizing energetic movements within the body in general.
Other Things to Pay Attention To
There are other things about energetic movement that are more nuanced. If this is something that you want to get more attuned to in your own life then meditation especially with the intention of feeling the energy within you is a good way to become more aware. It can also be good to check in with yourself from time to time to get in the habit of feeling your internal environment. Sitting still and intentionally feeling the energy running through your toes up your feet and legs, through your stomach, and further up your body is a great way to start to notice the sensation of being alive and become more attuned to yourself. Some other things to notice are any places you feel movement or tingling, any places you feel pressure or restriction, and temperature variations and sleepiness/ wakeful cycles.
Again, I am not an energy healer or medical practitioner. If you feel that you are experiencing things that require medical expertise, please seek help from an experienced practitioner. My goal in bringing all of this up is simply to open it for discussion and to communicate it so that anyone experiencing something similar can have a little insight or feel less alone. It can be difficult to have experiences that people around you don’t relate to and I remember how helpful it was to hear other people speak about things that made undefined parts of my life understandable to me. So, please let me know what you think and if you have had any similar or different experiences with energies. If you want a private one on one coaching session to use as a place to discuss and process some of these experiences, please check out the about page for more information.
Thank you for being here and for taking the time to read this. Have a great week.