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  • Jim Gilkeson

Phases in Learning Energy Healing-(part 3)

The usual setting for most of my teaching is in schools of bodywork and massage and it has been an ideal place to observe how people learn the craft of bodywork. There, students are exposed, willy-nilly, to several different bodywork modalities in rapid succession, typically massage plus anatomy, physiology mixed in with introductions to such things as acupressure, reiki, craniosacral and other electives. You could say that the standard massage and bodywork school is a temple to the "tooling up" phase of learning bodywork. In some students, this takes the form of a feeding frenzy as they collect modalities and certifications like butterflies. The really serious ones get extra-large business cards so they can list all the healing modalities of which they are now "masters."

You can emerge from a training and tooling up phase wonderfully heavy with knowledge. But sooner or later comes the inevitable realization that you can't use all your fantastic tools all the time. Something else has to enter the picture, something that will organize the tools and skills we have. This is where we continue our exploration of phases in learning energy healing.

Developing Your Own Approach

The tooling up phase sooner or later gives way to the need to work on an approach of some kind. This phase has to do with bundling together the tools you have mastered and skills you have learned and putting them to work in some purposeful way. Here is where you begin (if you haven’t done so up to now) to ask yourself, "Why am I doing this in the first place? What is all this good for?" We begin to see that there are many possible interpretations of what energy healing is all about. The skills and techniques that you acquire as you tool up will tend to organize themselves around the stories you are telling yourself, and what you most deeply believe, about what you are doing. Your approach will inevitably find its center near what you believe is important.


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One of the truly nice things about energy healing is that it operates on a variety of levels. Many people, for example, will use their tools in the service of "f ixing" the person they are working on, because they earnestly believe that this is what healing is all about. Other persons see energy healing as a means of entering into the psycho-emotional processes that underlie symptoms, and use these practices as a vehicle for healing traumatic past events, providing for release of old experience and the drawing in of new. Others see energywork predominately as a psycho-spiritual discipline, and still others see it as a means to kick-start meditative experiences or help another person to enter altered states of consciousness, and then integrate their experiences with their everyday lives.

Energy healing integrates all the aspects of this continuum, from symptoms and problems to exploration to transcendental experiences without parking exclusively on any one aspect. I can tend to a client’s headache in a way that makes room for emotional release and inner exploration which may even flow into some transcendent experience and a re-entry into everyday life with a new feeling. It is all part of the same continuum.

Approach-building is just as fascinating as tooling up, and it often has more power to it. There comes a time, however, when you have grooved in your basic set of techniques so that they become seamless and effortless, and your approach becomes a part of your approach to life in general. Then, marvelously, when you relax the need to tool up or build an approach of your own, the whole project takes a new turn.

This series on phases of learning energy healing will continue in my next posting.

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