The germ of A Pilgrim in Your Body: Energy Healing and Spiritual Process was my argument with the narrow, symptom-focused way energy healing was taught in some schools of bodywork and massage. This protest may have served to get Pilgrim started, but the protest phase soon gave way to something more adventurous than merely carping about what’s wrong.
In the case of Pilgrim, I set out with the goal of presenting energywork in its spiritual context. ~Jim
A Pilgrim in Your Body: Energy Healing and Spiritual Process
Chapter 1: Spiritual Process: Spiritual Initiation on the Massage Table
Energywork is anything you do on purpose to influence the human energy field, including energy-oriented practices used in therapeutic bodywork. It invites spiritual process, which is ultimately about the renewal of the age-old human experience of awakening to our most essential nature. This chapter explores the connection between energywork and spiritual process.
Chapter 2: The Three-Fold Spiritual Path
There is a universal pattern to spiritual process: it carries us out of the world in some sense, into sacred space, and then back into the world again. This pattern could rightly be referred to as the three-fold spiritual path. A healer’s work, no matter what the discipline, is enhanced by his or her ability to recognize phases of this perennial three-fold pattern, which provides the healer with an elegant and simple lens with which to view spiritual process.
Chapter 3: Making the Case for Doing Inner Work
Stepping into the arena of energy healing necessitates the personal work of self-healing and self-exploration on the part of the healer. This chapter presents the perspective that any energetic work techniques you might use are at their best and most responsible when they are informed by your own direct, personal experience.
Chapter 4: Ancient Spiritual Technology
In the process of doing energy-oriented exercises, you will master the skills of conscious movement (inner pilgrimages) within the sacred space of your body and energy system. Here, the stage is set for the kinds of energetic practices found in the rest of the book.
Chapter 5: Calling
Your calling plays an important role in your development. This chapter explores the nature of callings and examine some of the recognizable the phases of learning energy healing.
Chapter 6: Self-Knowledge: Sneaking Up on Your Belief System
Beliefs play a critical role in the life of an emerging energy healer. Not only do your beliefs tend to expand or limit the range of your perceptions, they also become focal points around which the skills and techniques you acquire will tend to organize themselves. This chapter is a self-administered mini-workshop designed to help you find deeply held, often unconscious beliefs operating in the background of your healing work.
Chapter 7: Holism
Holism is the perspective that a whole system is accessible in each of its parts. In this chapter, a series of holistic appreciation exercises is provided to help you extend your senses and expand your conceptual world. This is a necessary skill in energy healing, since energetic work entails a shift to the holistic or holographic level of organization of yourself and the person you treat.
Chapter 10: Foundation and the Doorway Downward
Grounding begins with the need to be at home in your body and in a good energetic exchange with the planet, extends to your physical and psycho-spiritual foundation, and reflects into your environmental and social sphere. This chapter examines what this means for you and, if you work with others, for your treatment partners.
Chapter 11: Expression, Control, Balance: When Heaven and Earth Meet in Us (and When They Don’t)
This chapter deals with three persistent processes in energywork: expression, control and balance. Each of these has special meaning in the context of self-development and energetic healing. Exercises are provided for exploring each of these elements of consciousness. In addition, this chapter provides practices for working with the communication between your upper and lower energy centers.
Chapter 12: Twin structures of Consciousness
When we set energetic change in motion, a whole spectrum of phenomena comes with that change, from the internal obstacles we encounter in our personal practice to unexpected events in the outer world. Exercises are provided for cleansing your aura, “combing out your etheric” and doing healing work with the planet.
Chapter 13: Fear: A Hidden Ally
Fear is one of the super-perennial themes of energywork. By paying mindful attention to the sensation of fear—neither indulging it, repressing it, nor running away from it—you come to find out that fear has its way of shapeshifting into an ally. As part of this exploration, I introduce the Liver Stream, an energetic structure that provides access to the etheric storage of the Solar Plexus Center.
Chapter 14: Resistance, Release and Renewal
Resistance, release and renewal, taken as a package, express a perennial theme in healing, growth and development. Here, resistance is presented as a precursor to the release of excess energy from your body or psyche, followed by the potential for a move of consciousness into a new place. Two exercise and treatment cycles, The Demon of Resistance and The Snow Angel, are introduced.
Chapter 15: Integration: Living One Life
Your practice of energywork delivers a changed person to the world you live in. This chapter offers perspectives on integrating what happens in treatments and personal energywork with everyday life. The chapter concludes with a reflection on the gift of joy.
Appendix: Two Reflections on Spiritual Process and Initiation
What I have called spiritual process in this book is informed, in part, by my understanding of spiritual initiatory tradition. Indeed, it is the recognition of some of the hallmarks of initiatory process in energywork that have made it impossible for me to accept a strictly symptom-oriented approach to energy healing. These are reflections on the connection between energywork, spiritual process and an older understanding of spiritual initiation.