Protecting your energy is vitally important. This applies to your daily living and not just when practicing energetic healing arts like Reiki.
Fundamentally, I believe that we are all connected (part of the same universal energy). However, until we achieve a total return to “oneness,” there remains individuality to our bodies and souls that we must be conscious of for our own health (physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually). We must monitor the ways in which we are connecting with others so that we are not drained or absorbing others’ negativity.
We need to remember to set our boundaries. These boundaries can involve energetic intention (techniques I’m going to describe in this article) as well as understanding that often it’s okay to say “no” when people demand too much of your time, energy, and resources.
When to Say When
Sometimes you might want to please other people so much (to gain their approval) that you don’t conserve your energy enough. You might fear losing love and acceptance by saying “no,” but you cannot allow people to dump too much on you. Some people will inevitably take advantage.
So it’s important to remember that it’s perfectly okay to set your limits at times by saying “no.” You can say it in a loving, positive way (i.e. “I’d love to help you, but I’m dealing with more than I can handle right now.”).
As people begin dealing with the new you who’s not afraid to enforce boundaries, they may not like it at first (especially if they’ve grown accustomed to using you as a crutch). They might try to make you feel guilty. But say “no” as well to taking on that emotion. Ultimately, they’ll probably respect you more.
Of course, it’s wonderful to help when you can. It can feel so good! But if you walk too many extra miles, you’re not doing anyone (especially yourself) any real favors.
People don’t have to be asking too many favors, however, to sap our strength or lower our energy vibration. There are people known as “energy vampires” who can be exhausting to deal with and sometimes truly pull “chi” out of others’ individual energy fields (more on this later). We also can be impacted energetically by the vibrations of others.
Fundamentally everything is energy, vibrating at different frequencies. We all experience varying vibratory rates based on our thoughts, feelings and actions (how well they we care of themselves). The faster our vibratory rate, the better off we are.
Negative emotions such as anger, jealousy or fear can substantially lower that rate. When people spend too much time in lower vibrational states, the flow of life-force energy in their bodies might slow down or stagnate in certain areas, eventually manifesting as various physical, mental or emotional problems.
Therefore, some of the best energy protection we can do is to be mindful of our own thinking. Our thoughts are communicated immediately into our body. So focusing too much on fears and regrets can have a serious impact on our energy and health over time.
Accentuate the positive!
Reiki healing can help raise the energy vibration in the body, restoring better flow to energy pathways that might have essentially become kinked like a garden hose (with “chi” struggling to move through blocked areas).
But choosing positive, productive thought patterns (letting go of unnecessary negativity and limiting belief systems) is key to maintaining that higher vibration. And that’s a major reason I offer hypnotherapy (to literally help people to change their minds).
However, we can’t try to force healing on people who haven’t sought it out yet. There are plenty of situations in our daily social and work lives where it would be inappropriate – and likely unappreciated – to tell people how their negativity could be affecting their own energy and that of everyone around them.
In these situations, we just have to remain conscious of keeping our energy vibration as high as possible. We can lead by example.
Dealing with Negativity
For example, I once worked in a communications department with another writer who had many admirable qualities but tended to have a sour, judgmental disposition. One day, when I was feeling pretty good about life in general, she darkened my door and said, “Isn’t this just the worst place ever?”
If I’d let her steer the dialogue into a conversation about everything that was dysfunctional about our colleagues and the overall organization, I could have started feeling pretty pessimistic as well, lowering my own energy vibration. I could have wound up agreeing, “Yeah, this place does kind of suck, doesn’t it?”
But before I let that happen, I decided to gently nudge the conversation in a direction that would improve her mood and raise her vibration, discussing her plans for an upcoming holiday and a movie she was excited about seeing. I kept it brief, got her smiling, and then got back to work.
Choosing your conversations carefully, avoiding negative gossip, can definitely help protect your energy. While it can be of great service to lend a compassionate ear to those going through tough times, eventually you’ll recognize whether these people really have an interest in healing, or if they’re simply seeking someone to affirm their fears and negative self-fulfilling prophesies about life. They might be addicted to their own drama.
When I work with Reiki and hypnotherapy clients, people sometimes arrive feeling upset about circumstances in their lives, experiencing a variety of negative emotions. As I help them identify patterns that may no longer be serving them, my goal is to serve as an energetic influence that helps lift them up into a higher vibration.
Energy Protection Technique
Therefore, I always set the intention of protecting my energy before Reiki or hypnotherapy clients arrive so that I’m not entrained to a lower vibration as we discuss any difficult issues at hand.
But this is also a technique that I like to be in effect at all other times of my life, whether I’m relaxing with a small group of friends or walking through a crowded store. I find energy protection helpful in dealing with the vibes in all kinds of physical environments.
The technique is very easy for anyone to perform, whether or not you know Reiki, and takes very little time. Early in the morning, or whenever I need to remind myself to reinforce this energetic protection, I simply follow these steps:
- I visualize a strong beam of white light coming down from the Heavens.
- As this beam reaches a few feet above the crown of my head, I see white light spreading around the entirety of the egg-shaped energy field (or aura) that surrounds me (this field can extend out a number of feet on all sides of the body). I call this “sealing myself in protective white light.” It doesn’t matter how well you visualize; it’s the intention that matters most. But it might be helpful for you to remember how Glenda the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz appeared as she floated along in a bubble of light.
- I also intend that the healing white light surrounding me also completely fill my energy field and body.
- I set the intention that this seal of white light last for the entire day, protecting me from others’ negativity and energy vampirism, while remaining permeable to love and positivity.
If you know Reiki and are familiar with the chakras, you can also take a few additional steps:
- At the beginning, visualize each of your chakras open (front and rear aspects), with the Reiki Power Symbol inside of each.
- Visualize one large Reiki Power Symbol down the front of your body and also down the back of your body. Then complete all the steps listed above.
Success at Energy Protection
This technique was one that I learned from my second Reiki teacher in 2002. Around that time, I’d befriended a man named Jason* who had a strong “energy vampire” (Kyle*) in his social circle.
I began to notice that I could be feeling great (having just drunk fresh fruit and vegetable juice and worked out), and then run into Kyle in a social situation and feel majorly zapped.
A couple of those times our interaction was less than two minutes – just long enough for him to stop by, say hello, and engage in some polite chit-chat. But during those short conversations, he would stare at me super intensely, almost as if he were pulling out the energy with his eyes.
Shortly after learning this energy protection technique, I ran into him again at a social gathering. As soon as I saw him walk in the door, I quickly sealed myself in white light, setting the intention that no one would be draining my energy that evening.
And you know what? It worked! While he acknowledged me in a friendly way, he didn’t stop as long to talk. I believe that on some subconscious level, he knew that he couldn’t find anywhere to plug in to pull my energy (I’d sealed the outlets with white light).
So he moved onto the next person. I saw him plenty of times after that but never had that sensation of being drained again, once I knew how to employ energy protection.
I sincerely don’t believe that Kyle consciously set out to be an “energy vampire.” He was always nice to me, but he was obviously an extremely needy person. I once heard him remark that he couldn’t stand to be alone and needed company around at all times (undoubtedly for energy he could drink). I could literally see the draining effect he was having on my good friend Jason who started to look physically sapped while in Kyle’s presence.
While there’s nothing wrong with being an extrovert and feeling energized by the collective charge of a crowd, it’s quite another matter if you’re boring into one individual’s energy. In any exchanges you have with other people, there’s going to be a give and take of energy. But if you’re consistently taking way more than you give, that can be a problem.
I’ve encountered a couple of dysfunctional people who bragged that they had once set the intention of taking someone’s energy or had intentionally directed negative energy at their enemies. Needless to say, I was not impressed. In fact, I was worried for their karma. Those kinds of practices have nothing to do with Reiki, which can never cause harm.
Please note that I’m not quick to assign the “energy vampire” label. Kyle is one of only a few people I’ve met that I’d firmly place in that category (where I truly felt like a car from which he was siphoning gas). But there are plenty of people out there who can be demanding, difficult and draining in various ways. You might seriously consider limiting your contact with people who want to get you wrapped up in their negativity and drama.
Protect your energy!
Protection during Reiki
As our awareness of energy has grown through the years, more Reiki practitioners have recognized the importance of protecting themselves while giving sessions.
The good news is that most practitioners rarely feel like they pick up burdensome energies while performing sessions on others. In fact, one of the beautiful things about performing Reiki is that all of that high vibrational energy flows through practitioners on the way to clients so that both parties receive healing during the process.
I personally can’t recall a time when I haven’t felt better after performing Reiki sessions than before I started (because of the benefit of serving as a conduit for all of that healing energy). But I always err on the side of caution by protecting my energy with the aforementioned technique.
I consider the Reiki to be extremely high vibrational energy that clears away negativity on contact. As I employ it, I set the intention that the client can pull all the Reiki energy they need through me (but that I’m maintaining healthy levels of my personal “chi”).
After a session, I always remember to employ the traditional Japanese Kenyoku exercise for brushing off negative energy from the arms and hands (really shaking it off).
Protection for Empaths
While taking on negative energy is rarely an issue for most Reiki practitioners, I have encountered a number of people through the years who are strong “empaths.” That word means that they are highly sensitive people can sometimes feel others’ mental, emotional or physical discomfort as if it were their own. They can have trouble telling the difference.
For example, I have a highly empathic friend who sometimes works as a medical intuitive. On a couple of occasions when I’ve interacted with her, she’s pointed at a spot on her head and told me, “You have a headache right here.” And she was right about not only the headache, but also the specific location.
One of those times I politely told her, “I’m having such a nice time, Sandy*. I know I have a little headache, but please don’t remind me.”
And she said, “No, I have to say it out loud, or I can’t let it go from my body.”
I got what Sandy meant, but realized that this might not always be a socially acceptable strategy. Hypothetically, she could meet someone at a social gathering and say, “You have fibroid tumors,” but that might be very upsetting and off-putting to a new acquaintance.
And she could potentially be wrong. There could be another explanation for Sandy having felt discomfort in that region of her body. Medical intuition isn’t always a reliably accurate substitute for medical testing.
Strategy for Letting Go
I’m a much bigger fan of the approach of a highly intuitive psychologist named Donna*, who is an empath. She explained that when she feels something that might not be her own, she doesn’t have to say it out loud to let it go. Here’s what she does:
- She just imagines the length of her body looking like a pipe.
- Then she envisions anything that’s not her own flowing out through that pipe up into heavenly white light to be transmuted.
- She prays to God and Angels for assistance in removing any energies that aren’t her own.
Before she retired, I regularly worked with Donna in phone sessions. At the start of these appointments, she would tune into my energy remotely from her office in Los Angeles. On one occasion we talked around 8 p.m. EST (my time), so I’d already been to dinner and had a couple of glasses of wine.
As she tuned into me that evening, she said, “I feel so relaxed… like I had a glass of wine” (information I had not shared). On another occasion, she detected a rash on the back of my neck that I had not mentioned.
Rather amazed, I asked a lot of questions about how she dealt with this ability. She told that she just regards these feelings as helpful information and immediately lets them go (sending them out through that energy pipe).
Empaths often experience their intuition as clairsentience (meaning clear feeling). Reportedly women have developed a stronger tendency to be clairsentient because of the experience of motherhood throughout human history. They’ve needed to tune into what’s bothering babies who can’t yet communicate with language.
While I often receive intuitive impressions about what’s mentally and emotionally going on with people (just a sense of knowing called claircognizance), I’m grateful that I don’t personally experience those feelings, mistaking them for my own. Fortunately, the vast majority of my students (female or male) never report a problem with this phenomenon.
But I have seen it play out in several classes before with students who were highly empathic or clairsentient. This taught me to emphasize the importance of the energy protection technique earlier in the course, guiding students through the process.
On one occasion, a woman reported feeling a wave of headache pain after working on someone with that issue. I guided her to send that energy out of her body and up into white light (as if it were running out through a pipe), and she soon felt the sensation pass. On another occasion, a woman reported feeling like she was taking on someone’s feelings of low self-esteem until she recognized they weren’t her own and let them go.
Again, this kind of experience is rare for Reiki practitioners. But to be as well-equipped as possible to teach people who are empaths, I consulted with my intuitive spiritual counselor, Chris. Herself a strong empath, she gave me insights to help people identify if they fall into that category.
“If you feel pain if someone you care about is in pain, you could well be an empath,” Chris said. “Perhaps your best friend tells you they’ve been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, and the next day you start feeling really drained as well. There can be unexplained illnesses. Blood tests say you have nothing, but yet you still have all the symptoms with no logical explanation.”
Before Chris learned strategies for protecting her energy, she suffered from a lot of unexplained feelings. “I could be feeling perfectly happy, then talk to someone and start feeling angry and bitter when nothing happened to make me feel that way,” she told me.
Also an energy healer, Chris says that she’s fine as long as she puts on her “suit of energetic armor” before working with clients. “Whenever you are performing energy work, your clients are releasing a lot of stuff that isn’t good happy energy,” she explained. “In the process of that clearing, you’ve got to protect yourself as a healer, or energetically you could be left standing in the equivalent of dirty bathwater.”
Post Healing Rituals
Smudging with sage after a session is always a good idea to renew your healing space. You could use sage incense or a sage stick (a bundle you can buy at most metaphysical type stores). Burning herbs like sage is a common practice among Native Americans and other groups for purification in their spiritual practices.
According to smudging theory, as the smoke clears, it carries away negative energies to a place where they can be transmuted into something positive.
After clients leave my healing space, I also say a prayer for their healing but know that I have to let go of worrying about them during my off time. I think of the healing work I do (whether healing the chakras with Reiki or subconscious patterns with hypnotherapy) as opening doors of opportunity. But it’s the clients’ homework to walk through them and actively work on positive life changes. I can’t do that ongoing work for them or carry their burdens.
Just in case clients have formed any unhealthy attachments to me as a healer, I imagine cutting those cords and asking Archangel Michael to lift them up into heavenly light so that clients can draw energy from a higher, limitless source until their next session. When it comes to energy, time and space aren’t factors, so people can pull your energy just as effectively 500 miles away as five feet away.
It’s widely believed and perceived that we have energy cords that connect us with key people in our lives. Sometimes these connections can be unhealthy and require cord cutting (or unplugging). This doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily ending the relationship; just that you recognize that no one is well served by either of you being drained. This effect can be a two-way street.
There could be energy cords still attaching you to people with whom you ended relationships long ago. It’s possible that these cords could be holding you back in some ways with moving on fully with your life. Cord cutting can be valuable in those cases as well.
To perform the cord cutting exercise:
- Think of a particular person, and imagine where their energy cords might be connected to your body. It might be a particular chakra on the front or back of the body, or another area. Or you might see them attached in many places (for instance, at your heart, solar plexus and shoulders).
- If there are multiple cords, see them intertwining like a rope a foot or two out from your body. Then visualize Archangel Michael’s sword of light easily – painlessly – cutting through them all.
- Ask Archangel Michael to lift those cords up into the Heavens, and then visualize a beam of white light filling up the areas where those connections once were, healing your energy field.
Archangel Michael (often depicted with a mighty sword perfect for cord cutting) is always available to call upon for protection and support. He just requires your free will to ask.
Repeat as Needed
You might yourself needing to repeat this cord-cutting exercise. You or the other parties might be tempted to reconnect energetically (even from a distance). Sometimes people can really tell that something has shifted and might start subconsciously searching for another outlet to plug into you (even remotely). At those times, you might find them popping into your head.
If that’s the case, simply close your eyes and repeat this cord-cutting exercise.
One of the first relationships I cut the cord on was with a person whom I’d developed a strong romantic interest more than a decade ago. I expended a lot of mental energy on it and eventually realized that this person enjoyed drawing a lot of energy from my attention, leading me on, but had no real interest in reciprocating my feelings.
I performed the exercise and immediately felt a little lighter and freer. But that person must have felt a change, too, because later in the day I received a phone message left in a voice that sounded rather anxious: “Ugh, just checking in to make sure everything is okay!”
I repeated that the cord cutting every day for a couple of weeks until I felt like we’d adjusted to our new energetic boundaries. I still maintain a relationship with that person as good friends.
Dealing with Spirit Attachments
Other types of attachments that we could conceivably be affected by involve spiritual energy entities that might be attracted by our vibration. These attachments theoretically could involve confused souls who don’t realize they’re dead (or are afraid of judgment in the Afterlife) who seek refuge in our light.
Again, neither party is served by this kind of unhealthy attachment. To protect myself, I regularly ask that Archangel Michael and Ascended Masters remove any foreign spirit entities from my body and home and escort them up into Heavenly Light where they can be healed and released from me.
This concept of spirit attachments is a complex one that I plan to address in another article. But I’ve taken some training in this area and learned that the solution can often be pretty simple: Just asking Archangel Michael and Ascended Masters for help.
Things to Remember
My goal in this particular article is not to create fear about negative or foreign energies, but to empower you with easy-to-use strategies for raising your energy vibration into a healing zone and maintaining it there. The powers of positive thinking, prayer and intention are very strong and always available to you.
Of course, if you have already taken Reiki training, then you know that giving yourself regular sessions is a wonderful way to keep your vibration up, clear away negativity, and improve your energy flow.
* Most names have been changed in this article to protect identities.
Copyright, 2013, Wellspring Reiki & Hypnotherapy