Everybody’s talking about Energy Psychology these days. We seem to have finally figured out that the mind alone does not heal, and that the body is an essential component of mental health. We also know that allopathic medicine, while capable of many wonders, fails to address the psychological role in the perpetuation of disease. We desperately need models that address this integration in order to become whole.
Energy is the interface between mind and body. Just as the electricity in your computer allows the hardware and software to interface, the life force that runs through you connects your body and mind. That life force is known by many names: Yogis call it prana; Oriental medicine calls it ki or chi; the Star Wars movies called it “the Force.” Bioenergetics is the study of the human personality in terms of the energetic processes of the body. In Bioenergetic therapy, we call this energy “charge.”
By whatever name you call it, the internal software of the mind — basically our beliefs — tells our life force where to go in the body — and where not to go. How we distribute energy through the body can make us feel anxious or depressed, vibrantly alive, or full of blockages. When we block our charge we shut down our chakras, our feelings, and our sense of aliveness.
I like to think of the word “charge” as standing for: Consciousness Having a Really Genuine Experience. When we are full of charge we are intensely alive, regardless of whether that charge feels pleasant or painful. In the moments when we’re angry or afraid — we at least feel real and present. We also feel alive when we’re charged up with excitement or pleasure.
We seek charge because we seek aliveness. Whether we label our charge positive or negative, the amount of charge present in an experience is directly correlated to the meaning or impact that experience has on us. If we minimize our charge, we minimize our aliveness and life starts to feel like it has no meaning.
The human body/mind/spirit complex keeps a balance or “economy” of charge throughout life by charging and discharging. We charge up by engaging in challenges or receiving love and affection, as well as through more biological activities like eating and sleeping. We discharge through releasing emotion, such as crying or yelling, as well as through physical activity.
However, our “economy” of charge may get stuck at a high charge level, which we call anxiety, or a low charge level which we experience as depression. This is because of faulty regulation in the charge/discharge cycle, where charge is instead bound into body armor, such as excess weight or chronic muscular tension.
Mind-Body Integration requires connecting with the basic “charge” or life force, learning to follow it deep into the core, and allowing it to move through the body. Energy then awakens the chakras, clears blockages, brings insight, and dissolves body armor. This process is an art, but it can be learned. Whether you apply it to yourself or your clients, it will transform your understanding of yourself, your relationships, and your clients.
Anodea Judith, Ph.D.