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What Are You, Energy?

The word “energy” has been understood by most people today as a certain something that exists in nature. That’s certainly the sentiment I gave to the world, in any case. Some may interpret this energy to be a fluid-like phenomenon.  What it ultimately is, however, still remains a mystery.

In his book, “The Nature of Nature; the Discovery of Superwaves and How it Changes Everything,” Irv and Estee Dardik describe the mathematical origins of the concept of energy.

“Science’s mathematical models of nature have a common finding. This commonality is energy. But what exactly energy is has escaped them. It is a mathematical quantity with no tangible existence.”

In the words of Heinz R. Pagels, a prominent physicist of his day, “the visible world is neither matter nor spirit but the invisible organization of energy.”

Certainly anytime we feel a strong emotion or witness a positive event, we are


Echoing this understanding of Energy as an abstraction is Claudio Naranjo in his book about meditation, “The Way of Silence and the Talking Cure.” Meditation can bring a person to great spiritual states, where one feels fundamentally different and enshrined in all kinds of subtleties. We are apt to use words like “energy channels” and “subtle bodies,” to help us describe our state of being beyond what’s is normally perceived. Naranjo discusses this question with great insights.

“First of all, it is necessary to ask: what are the subtle energy channels that constitute the subtle body? And what is it that flows in our body when we feel “energy” flowing? From the strictly scientific point of view, we might begin by considering that “energy” is something that we project onto the reality of a world in which we only observe masses and velocities.”

Why we might do this, Naranjo says, is because, “as an entity on its own, it [energy] matches our felt sense that, just as we will or intend, there is also in nature a power and a will that is the agent of what happens.”

Naranjo discusses energy in reference to meditative states but it might as well be stated that healing modalities such as chiropractic, homeopathy, accupuncture, ect, all have in themselves transformative effects via the practitioner-patient relationship.

Naranjo, speaking of “the descent of the force” and of “flow,” “body energy,” “prana,” and “subtle energy” typical of deep meditative states says, “My personal view concerning this is that, however sacred and spiritual the core of the kundalini experience may be, the prana and chakras are physical, and the sensations of “energy flow” are not exactly a flow, in spite of their unquestionable subjective characteristic as such. Yet I don’t believe ‘energy flow’ to entail any ‘subtle energy’ – or even flow!”

Instead, Naranjo posits that the energy dance within the body of someone going through an ego-dissolution to be “an ever-shifting tonus dance that takes place in our muscle system. And the subtle nadis [energy channels] to be individually self-aware muscle fibers or bundles thereof.”

What Naranjo is telling us by this interpretation is that the flow of “energy” is in fact the operation of subtle muscles, some constituting centers or bundles of awareness, that upon mental or physical alterations, just such ego-dissolution, a cascade of impulses funnel through the body which we perceive and frame under the concept of “energy.” What this “energy” is really signifying is something far more profound, the opposite of something passive, but rather something alive, perceptive in its own right, intelligent, and aware, and belonging to the realm of the physical quality of the body itself.

With this complex and intelligent cascading motion of self-aware muscles and muscle fibers, subtle to an unknown degree, as an explanation for what was once seen as “energy flow” we might also see anew the nature of thoughts and emotions. Imagine that the mind is nothing more and nothing less than the intelligent interplay of self-aware muscles and muscle memories, not just of the brain, but of the entire neuronal-muscular network of the body.

I believe that in the healing arts this interpretation serves to benefit both practitioners and their clients not only for the novelty of excitement that the perception offers, but for the actual awakening of a deeper connection to the body.

Under the framework which holds energy as a real, non-abstract agent of change in the world and in life, the intelligence of the body had to become passive in order to make way for energy’s active role as informer and doer. Upon the intelligent, genetic matrix of life, Energy played the songs.  Life, in this no-less beautiful framework, was treated dualistically. On the one hand, we had the complex, intelligent organism, full of ready potential. On the other, a surrounding and penetrating energy informing that potential into action. The energy side of the equation is what we used to explain the impetus and force behind growth and change, while the body’s intelligence explained the capacity, the blueprint.

With energy resigned back as only a mathematical projection, the body’s intelligence can now take on a new dimension and a new agency that, in fact, always belonged to it. The dualism between energy and bio-intelligence becomes unified. The impetus of change is in the organism and its physical environment not in the invisible fields that are said to permeate it.

Nothing can explain this unification better than the above mentioned book, “the Nature of Nature,” by Irv and Estee Dardik. For now, I want to close with a tip of the hat to chiropractors.

Chiropractors already knew the presence of intelligence mediated through the nervous system. Yet, with the ascent of material mechanism used to explain biology in culture, chiropractors were left to either hold to the excellence of this intelligence despite pressure to conform, or to perform their work out of a mechanistic worldview. With the rapid cultural adoption of the mathematical concept called “energy” we could see a clear desire from people of all walks to step away of that mechanistic model. Practitioners of every stripe were eager to re-inspire and enliven their science and art with the use of this word. Energy, that invisible force we all feel and know to be true. Now, we can go full circle. We can traverse over the primacy of energy back to a model of pure intelligence. At first sight, without the help of energy to imply what is happening, this model may appear to be a materialistic. But upon further insight it shows something more. For the many varied and majestic phenomena of the body and mind, this new model returns us to the primacy of the intelligence of life, showing the scope, depth, and power of awareness that’s present in every fiber of the body. We have, in short, traversed a small distance from the original chiropractic philosophy from knowing the intelligence of the nervous system that stretches throughout the body, to seeing that intelligence as awareness in the very muscles and fibers of that body we call home.

The next time you lay your healing hands on anyone, feel their body’s intelligence conveyed to you through their outermost layers of skin, for it is there in full effect, just as much as it is in their mind.