Energy Hygiene is the practice of creating wholeness within one’s personal energy field, particularly in relationship to the larger energy ecology of one’s surroundings. It’s a combination of awareness, skills, and techniques for keeping one’s vital, subtle energies flowing, healthy, clear, life-giving, and positive, as well as doing the same for the subtle energies in one’s environment.
Energy Hygiene – An Energy Ecology
by David Spangler Click here to download this essay.
We live in a world filled with energies of all kinds. Some are the electromagnetic forces that light our lights and heat our stoves and bring us voices over the radio and images on our televisions. But there are other energies that surround us as well, of which most of us are probably unaware but which can affect us just as powerfully. These are subtle forces generated by life, consciousness and spirit.
These forces are set into motion by things we do and feel and think, by our emotional and mental activity. There are subtle energies that radiate from our spiritual presence as well. At a physical level we experience these energies as the chi which martial artists use or the prana that is part of yoga. These are meta-physical energies, and they are as much a part of our surroundings as the physical ones with which we are more familiar. They flow between people and between us and our environment. They form an energy ecology that can affect our feelings, our thoughts, and our overall well-being and vitality in both positive and negative ways. Engaging with this ecology so that its effect on us and others is healthy, clear, life-giving, and positive is what energy hygiene is all about.
An Energy Body
Just as we have a physical body, we have an energy body as well. It receives impressions and vibrations from the surrounding energy ecology, and it radiates them out as well, reflecting the state of our own thinking and feeling. We are each a broadcasting and a receiving station combined. Just as things you see and hear on the television can affect your emotions and your thoughts, so can these subtle energies as they engage with your energy body, though in a different way. We respond consciously to things we see and hear, but the energy body resonates with the energies and impulses it encounters. It becomes like them, like a chameleon changing its skin color to blend with its surroundings. This resonance is unconscious for most people though the effects are not. We may feel our thoughts and feelings are our own and not realize we may have picked up some of them through the interaction of our energy body with the subtle energies in our environment.
Generally speaking our energy body has its equivalent to our physical immune system and resists intrusion. But through resonance, it can pick up bits of subtle energies in much the way a sweater picks up lint. Depending on the nature of this “psychic lint” and the resonance it has with us, it can cling and influence us with its qualities and energy. Usually, it’s a bit of mental or emotional information, saying “feel this emotion” or “think this thought.”
For example, if you go into a room filled with anxiety, you may not know consciously what has happened but your energy body senses and picks up the anxious energy in the room. Bits of “anxiety lint” attach, giving you the message, “Feel fear. Feel anxious.” And this energy message, like any other stimulus from the environment, can pass into your unconscious mind and then into your consciousness. You find yourself feeling anxious but for no reason that you can detect.
We are all shedding such psychic lint into our environment all the time from our thoughts and feelings. Most of it dissipates and is transformed, but some of it persists and builds up, accumulating in certain places or around a person. It can be positive or negative in its effect. The home of a spiritual person can radiate with uplifting subtle energies, making us feel good the moment we cross the threshold. But the home of someone in the grips of depression may be filled with depressive thoughts and feelings that give the atmosphere of the place a gloomy feel even if the owner is not present. In the normal course of our day, we may pick up and discard such lint many times. But sometimes it is not discarded. We carry it with us and it can begin to accumulate. Bits of subtle energy become stuck within our own energy body. When this happens, such a stuck place can become a “lint trap” attracting and holding to other bits of psychic lint that we may encounter. Energy hygiene is a way of clearing this stuff away and removing it so no one is affected adversely by it.
In the physical world, we are separated by distance. What happens to someone on the far side of the earth may seem to have little consequence or affect upon me. We believe our thoughts and feelings are private, locked within our skulls and our skins. But in the energy world, we are all connected in profound and interdependent ways. It’s as if we were all standing on a great trampoline. When one person bounces, it makes the whole trampoline move and we all bounce to some degree. Subtle energies are not limited by distance. Thus when a calamity strikes in some part of the world, our energy bodies all feel the effect of the suffering and fear no matter where we are. We may feel uneasy or restless, anxious or fearful for no reason we can see. We live in turbulent, troubling times. The news is filled with one crisis after another from war and terrorism to economic turmoil to global climate change. People are afraid, and this fear is often intensified by public media. Through our technological ability to communicate images, thoughts, and feelings quickly and dramatically, we have developed ways of blowing our psychic lint—particularly our fears, anxieties, angers, hatreds, and pessimism—around the world so that it affects all of us. Where in previous centuries, such subtle psychic lint would have dissipated and transformed, now it is repeated, reinforced, and strengthened by global media and our subtle energy connections until it accumulates in our world, no longer just “lint” but true psychic pollution weighing upon all of us.
Energy hygiene is a procedure for dealing with psychic lint and psychic pollution. It is a way of working with subtle energies to create a clear, clean, positive, vibrant and healthy energy environment both within ourselves and in our immediate environment. When we use these procedures to deal with larger issues of psychic pollution in the world, then it becomes energy activism, which is simply energy hygiene for the planet at large.
More Than Protection
Good physical hygiene is about more than taking a shower or keeping clean; it’s about all that we do to ensure the health and optimal function of our body. The same is true with energy hygiene. There are techniques of “lint removal” that can be learned and also ways of protecting ourselves to keep the psychic lint off in the first place. But energy hygiene is much more than just a defensive or cleansing process. It’s about vitalizing and expressing a healthy wholeness of spirit, mind, heart, and body. It’s about honoring and nourishing sovereignty, identity, coherency, and boundaries on the one hand and developing and practicing connectedness, engagement, love, and a compassionate participation in life on the other. Energy hygiene is the expression of an incarnational spirituality.
There are three rules of good energy hygiene.
Each of us is like a pool of energy. As long as energy is flowing in and out in a healthy way, this pool is alive, clear and clean; when this flow is obstructed by a buildup of psychic lint, then the pool can begin to stagnate. Restoring and maintaining a healthy flow of energy is important. A good walk, physical activity, learning something new, doing something kind for someone else are all simple ways of restoring flow; there are also techniques for restoring this flow on a subtle energy level. The exercise included here is one example of such a technique. Being positive is more than just practicing positive thinking, though that can be helpful. Positivity is a condition of being radiant, open, giving, confident, and strong. It is an energy state as much as a psychological one. There are many ways of developing and maintaining this state, but they are all enhanced by valuing and honoring yourself and standing in your uniqueness and sovereignty. Connectedness opens us to a larger world beyond ourselves and enables us to participate in a greater wholeness. Just as a pool stagnates that is unconnected to living streams of water and ultimately to the ocean on the one hand and the wellsprings deep within the earth on the other, so we need to be connected to the vitality and life, the spirit and wellbeing of the world around us. We create good energy conditions for ourselves not by isolating ourselves behind shields and barriers but by creating good energy in the world around us. Compassionately and lovingly participating in the life of our world and contributing to the wellbeing of all life is a vital part of energy hygiene.