More than Meets the (Inner) Eye

May 6th, 2013


“There is an old Chinese guy with a long white beard standing behind you. He’s not one of my guys. Is he with you?”


Taoist saint


This was the observation of my colleague Graeme Docherty during a healing session many years ago. We were in the experimental stages, developing a healing technique called ‘Solid Air’ – the name inspired from an album by John Martyn. At that time in its development Solid Air had become quite visual for us and almost shaman-like in its symbolic imagery.


Although this was just a practice session and we were not working with any specific health issues I had actually begun to develop what I thought would become a full-blown throat infection. Although I had not mentioned this to him he said:


“There’s a black and white snake wrapped around your throat. Do you think your guy (the old Chinese man, apparently) could cut it off? My guys just sit and watch.” His ‘guys’ at that time were a small group of etheric beings, in odd clothes (not of this time and place at least) who kept silent watch with him while he worked in Solid Air. Apparently ‘my guy’ did his job as, to my surprise, I awoke the next day with not even a hint of a sore throat.


Meanwhile, in my own clinic one of my clients, an artist from Finland, came in with a present. She had created a series of brush paintings of Taoist saints for her latest exhibition. One in particular stood out to her as one she must not put up for sale but rather offer it to me – a lovely present I was only too happy to accept. I wasted no time in hanging it on my clinic wall.*


One day I ‘felt’ it over my shoulder while I was working and turned around to study it. Here, standing behind me was the ‘old Chinese guy with a long white beard’ my colleague had mentioned, overseeing my practice.


 ‘We are the Boss’


It is very easy for both therapists and clients to get carried away with internal visions or sensations during treatment. I have noticed that clients who are schooled in symbolism from different systems are the ones most likely to jump to conclusions about what they or their therapist has ‘seen’ during a session.


I prefer to see everything as the play of energy – with the emphasis on ‘play’. While the various forms energy takes can be instructive it is advisable to not become too attached to it or try and base too many conclusions upon what we see. Its playful and elusive nature can easily dance away from us.


In any case, while actively working with energy in its many etheric forms it is worthwhile to remember that ‘we are the boss’. That is, we can reset our mind at any time and neutralize any etheric scene we may receive that we feel is leading us in ways that may be feeding off the desire or even fear for a given result. Just as in ‘normal’ life we do not need to give our power away to anyone or anything else just because we find it impressive or intimidating.


“Do not only believe the Truth”


This is a saying coined during the writing of an upcoming book by myself and Graeme regarding working in the Solid Air. It reminds me of the sentiment of the title of the Talking Heads soundtrack album ‘Stop Making Sense’.


Not everything we see or experience in the etheric forms of energy has to ‘make sense’ or even be the ‘truth’. Energy takes whatever form it needs. The form is, ultimately, unimportant. It is just the sign that energy is at work – and play…


We can make endless shapes from the shimmering dots of energy around us. We do not need to hold on to them however.


Crocodile in the dots


In that spirit we can work (and play) with everything we experience without needing it be true or proven to someone else. It does not need to make sense to anyone else or indeed at any other time than the moment it occurs.


The Finger and the Moon


A Taoist saying warns us to not mistake the finger pointing to the moon for the moon itself.  A signpost, after all, is not the destination or the essence. It is the discovery of wisdom (the ‘moon’ in this case) that is most important. Outside of the context of helping us discover the moon, the finger that points to it has little significance.


So it is with the play of energy in its ever-changing forms. We do not need to become attached to them.


Nothing Special


Shunryu Suzuki expresses a similar view in the context of the meditation experience in his book Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind. He viewed whatever came up in meditation as ‘nothing special’ – at least when we are experiencing it. It is only after, when we come out of the meditative flow in the now that our mind tries to grasp it and make sense of it. Then we may become amazed at our ‘special’ experiences. We need not be. It is only the moment that is important. Once it has passed we can let it go without a further thought.


To see it as ‘nothing special’ is not to negate or downplay the experience; it is to be detached from it. If we cannot do that it is only a small step of the ego to make us (the form that experienced it) ‘special’ or ‘important’. We mistake our ego for wisdom. The same could be said of the healer or the client identifying too heavily with etheric forms during a treatment session.


Jem chi


Whether we have ‘amazing’ internal experiences or not is less important than being present in the moment to catch whatever waves energy offers us. Experiences come and go. The moment is eternal.


Till the moment of another Monday arrives,


* The painting in question is the first picture in this blog.



© Jeremy Halpin all rights reserved. All images are the author’s own.

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