- Jim Gilkeson
Work on Your "Mental Muscles" before Talking about Energy Healing (CT 4)
(This is part 3 of a series called "The Communication Task.")
If you work with clients, there are likely going to be moments when you are challenged to talk about what you do. Maybe you are asked to submit an article about healing or some group invites you to give a talk about your work. You realize that there is no reason you have to just stand there flat-footed, doubting what you actually know, feeling tongue-tied because you're still working on a language that allows you to communicate effectively. Then it's time to get some mental muscles in your thinking about energywork.
Start with Yourself
As you prepare yourself to talk about energy healing or explain things to clients, teach a workshop to people new to the field, start with yourself and your own concepts. See if you can "sneak up" on how you came by your particular set of beliefs. Which of your beliefs came to you from teachers and books? Which came out of your own hard-won experience? This latter group is worth paying attention to because "farming" your own experiences allows your insights to ripen into language that is natural and that belongs to you. Develop your talk from there. One handy practice for this is the "Walt Bodine Exercise" which I outlined in Part 1 of this series on the communication task implicit in energy healing. If you haven't explored that one, give it a shot because it sets up this next one.
Anticipate the Communication Roadblocks
Apply some critical thinking to your preparation to talk about energy healing. Realize that you are going off edge of most people's consensus reality. What follows is an exercise that might start as a mental exercise and then turn into a writing exercise for you. It is aimed at dealing with some of your own inner demons and insecurities by anticipating the roadblocks you will think you will encounter if you start opening your mouth about energy healing around people who are not your close circle of fellow healer-types. It doesn't matter if you ever actually encounter them in talking to others; dealing with them in your own mind ahead of time is a step toward the mental muscularity and clarity you need in order to communicate with the world outside your bubble of friends and colleagues and become more resilient in your communication.
Here is a way I have approached it:
When I was writing my first book, Energy Healing: A Pathway to Inner Growth, my great salto mortale was to stick my neck out and collect candid comments from friends who endured a reading of my early manuscript. Right away, of course, I ran into gaps in understanding, places where I was making whole different sets of assumptions that my readers were not making. It underlined the need to build bridges and take steps to meet my readers where they were, instead of insisting that they come to where I was, or assume that they would automatically follow me wherever I tried to lead them.
As usual, the communication task had to begin in me. So I started with the things I was worried about, down in my heart of hearts. I tried to vividly anticipate the potential kinds of resistance I would surely encounter if I kept writing about energywork. I challenged myself to get clear with this question:
“How can I write about something as
outside of consensus reality;
as energywork, without sounding like a(n)
Northern Californian who wakes up unexpectedly in Kansas?"
Choose Your Battles
If you have thought about this sort of thing, you probably have your own list. Here's what I did with my list: I went back to the first list and began to choose my battles. I weeded out the knee-jerk, insecurity-ridden, fear-based misgivings I harbor—not about energywork itself, but about my ability to communicate about it. I weeded them out by getting mentally muscular and digging into where I really stand on these issues. I did it by lining 'em up and picking ‘em off, one by one, trying to see how I would answer these theoretical objections, and seeing what remained standing.
For me, it meant getting some "attitude,"like this:
Nebulous? Not for me. That word means “cloud-like,” and I don’t feel fuzzy or unclear on this subject at all. I work with this every day. I make a living doing what I do. I pay taxes.
"Airy-fairy"? No one uses this word except those who want to make a value judgment about things that they are not initiated in. Energywork only sounds airy-fairy when it is described by people who have not learned to be grounded about it. But this subject has its own weight and gravity, as everyone finds out who takes the trouble to really learn it.
Unproven? Are you kidding? Go read the research by those who are seriously looking into energy phenomena, such as the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) and the International Society for the Study of Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine (ISSSEEM). Go read Richard Gerber, James Oschmann, William Tiller, Elmer Green, Patricia Norris, and others.
Unscientific? Typically only for the kind of science that is enthralled only by the prediction and control of outcomes. Remember that there is also the science of open-ended inquiry into the nature of what’s going on.
>>>Obviously, if you are going to talk with scientists, you have to get some appreciation for their lingo, their research methods and paradigms. Learn something about how things are tested. With energy healing, the research is there for anyone who cares enough to look, and that's why I am mentioning the researchers above.<<<
Subjective? Yes, and with energywork we have to get used to the subjective side. The subjective side of energywork does not invalidate it. (Come to think of it, calling something “unscientific” is also not the ultimate condemnation, either.)
Ethereal? This is just a ten-dollar way of calling it "airy-fairy." The word is used to mean it is hard to get a grasp on. Which does not condemn it. Tying clouds to stones is an art which some people just haven’t mastered yet. Ethereal means “of the ethers.” And one of the things most heavily dealt with in my books on energywork is the etheric, which is one of the names for the layer of energy activity closest to the physical body.
This left “non-linear” and “outside of consensus reality.” I knew that these were two important items I couldn’t just walk around or try to muscle my way out of them. I knew I couldn't address them in just a nodding way, so this is where I pitched my tent when I started rewriting my book. I approached it as a task of "world-bridging."
For me, the solution to the first question of non-linearity was to, first, acknowledge it and explore the implications with my readers; then I had to develop a "random-access" system of writing about subjects that don't follow a strictly linear sequence, like energy healing. (I will talk about that system in a future blog entry.)
Some important answers to the second question of "outside consensus reality" came in my interactions with my early manuscript readers, who didn't understand what I intended to say. And this was especially true with my editor, Hal Bennett, who actually understood very well what I intended to say, but confronted me at every turn when I wasn't saying it so that a reader could come along. In that hammering-out process, I had to approach the lack of consensus about energy matters head-on, which entailed a lot of exploration of how our individual and cultural beliefs affect how we approach something like energy healing.
In conclusion, it's important to recognize that when you talk about energy healing, you are venturing "outside the box" for most people. As a result, there is a lot of bridge-building to do. That often starts with anticipating the natural resistance that arises, both in you and those who you are speaking or writing to, when you get into the into the energetic and out of their comfort zone.
How about you? What roadblocks have you run into in communication about energy healing? Did at least some of them turn out to mainly be thing you had not gained clarity on within yourself?
Next time I post on the subject of the communication task, I'll tell about my "Write-Brain Book Box," which helped me in the writing of two books to deal with our favorite non-linear subject.
Diving Deeper: For more discussion and context about the communication task:
See Chapter 6: "Self-Knowledge: Sneaking Up on Your Belief System" in A Pilgrim in Your Body: Energy Healing and Spiritual Process
For more about some of the authors and organizations mentioned above, click here to go the "More Resources" page.
Copyright ©, 2017 by Jim Gilkeson. All rights reserved.