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Chakras, the human energy field, and psychic perception

Date: Mon Sep 27 2021 00:00:00 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)

Even though Chakra's or other related things are not technically part of Reiki, these things are widely discussed. Reiki clearly acts on the human energy system, the aura, and the chakras, as well as the physical body.

By David Herron

Chakra's, the human energy field, and psychic perception, are all widely discussed among other things in the broader energy healing field. Since Reiki is one of several forms of energy healing, and since Reiki practitioners often cross-train in other energy healing modalities, it is natural for Reiki practitioners to understand this practice in the context of Chakra's and other aspects of the human energy field.

But we have to remember that Dr. Usui, Dr. Hayashi, and Mrs. Takata, did not teach these things as part of Reiki. One reason for this would be the differing interpretation of the human energy system. In China and Japan it is seen as the Meridian System and the Acupuncture points, while in the Indian Subcontinent and Tibetan areas it is seen as Chakra's and Nadi's. In case those distinctions are foreign to you, consider it as being like living in a country where we drive cars on the right side of the road, then trying to drive in a country where cars are driven on the left side of the road. In both kinds of countries we drive cars, cars have four wheels, there is a steering wheel, and so forth, but left-hand versus right-hand driving is a significant difference.

Our purpose on this page is to get a basic understanding of the human energy field, so that we can understand where Reiki fits within the broader model. Therefore, it's enough to focus on the Chakra-based view of the human energy field.

In Reiki, the practitioner is taught the symbols to access the Reiki energy source, but the makeup of the human energy field is not really taught. Reiki Masters are likely to teach about Chakra's and the like, but not in great depth. There is a wealth of information available from energy healing teachers outside the field of Reiki. The following is based on my experience and training through the Barbara Brennan School of Healing.

The Human Energy Field

There is an overall energy field that is vast, wide, and encompasses all that is. This energy field is both vastly more complicated and vastly simpler than the physical world we see with our eyes, taste with our mouths, smell with our noses, hear with our ears, and touch with our skin. The energy field permeates all the physical things we see.

The diagram here is a huge oversimplification, showing only the distinction between the physical body and the energy bodies. There is a lot of detailed information available about the human aura from many authors. But, we'll only touch onto the surface.

A simple exercise to experience the human aura starts by positioning your hands a few inches apart, the palms facing each other. It may help to rub your palms together momentarily to increase your sensitivity. The exercise is to gently move your hands back and forth, keeping the palms facing each other. What you're looking for is a feeling similar to when you hold magnets together, namely a soft cushiony feeling. This feeling usually appears when the hands are about six inches apart.

At six inches apart you will have detected the outer edge of the Etheric Body. It is the "densest" layer of the human energy field, and is the most closely related to the human body.

It's fairly easy to observe multiple layers, at least seven, where each surrounding layer is less distinct, or less dense, than the inner layers. An excellent description of these layers is in Barbara Brennan's book, Hands of Light, and the book contains exercises that make it easy to explore these structures. To detect the other layers, simply repeat the above exercise moving outward by about six inches for each layer.

The energy bodies discussed in that book are:

  1. Etheric Body: This is a a structured layer mirroring the physical body, and serves as a template of the physical body. Trauma in the physical body shows up as tangled structures in the etheric body, and performing repairs on those structures can speed up healing.
  2. Emotional Body: This is an unstructured layer, meaning it is fluid and flowing rather than rigid and static. The layers alternate between structured and unstructured. As the name implies, this layer, or body, carries the emotions.
  3. Mental Body: A structured layer, where it corresponds to thoughts, mental processes, and holds the decisions we've made in life.
  4. Astral layer: An unstructured layer which has to do with our relationships with others. The astral layer also contains symbols and imagery of the things remaining from past lives, or are created by the society around us.
  5. Etheric Template: This structured layer serves as a template for the etheric body, making it the template for the template if you will.
  6. Celestial Body: This unstructured layer is where we experience spiritual ecstasy.
  7. Ketheric Template or Causal Body: This structured layer is even closer to the divine.

The point of listing these bodies is to notice that as you move upward, the concepts have less to do with the physical world, and more to do with the divine.

Energy channels, Nadi's and Meridians

Within the human energy field are channels through which subtle energies (Chi, Prana, etc) flow. In the spiritual lineages of the Indian subcontinent, and Tibet, these channels are called Nadi's.

There are three main Nadi's:

  • Ida which is associated with lunar energies, and is therefore more feminine
  • Pingala which is associated with solar energies, and is therefore more masculine
  • Sushumna connects the root chakra to the crown chakra, and serves as the main vertical power channel

There are a large number of minor Nadi's and the Yoga texts disagree on the number. Whatever the count, they number in the hundreds of thousands.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the system of energy is the Meridian system. The two are roughly the same, but surely scholars of the two systems may disagree.

The Chakra's

No discussion of the human energy field is complete without discussing the Chakra system. It's discussed in many books and other training material in energy healing and spiritual development.

The Chakra's are "energy centers" that partake in the flow of energy through the human energy field. The word, Chakra, comes from the spiritual lineages of India, and has a meaning similar to "wheel" or "cycle". This meaning has both a literal and a symbolic meaning.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, there are specific points known as the acupuncture points which are related to the meridians. If you stare at an acupuncture chart long enough, you'll see some major points that roughly correspond to the Chakra's, but again scholars of these systems might disagree.

What I'll do here is to summarize the discussion of the Chakra's in Hands of Light.

There are seven main Chakra's, the seven you will see discussed everywhere. There are additional minor Chakra's, such as in the palms of the hands or the souls of the feet.

The book ("Hands of Light") describes a system of "standing lines of light" which roughly correspond to the Nadi's and the Meridian lines. As a 1st year student at the Barbara Brennan School of Healing, I was able to ask Barbara Brennan about this, and she confirmed they are the same. The major chakra's form at locations where the standing lines of light cross each other 21 times, and the minor chakra's form where the lines cross 14 times. These numbers are cited to a book, Radionics and the Subtle Bodies of Man, by Dr. David Tansley.

The traditional literature only gives approximate locations on the body for the chakra's, and describes them as "flowers" with a varying number of petals. However, Barbara Brennan describes them as "energy vortexes" in Hands of Light. The petals are, to her vision, sub-vortexes and their number mostly correspond to the number of petals in the traditional description. If you aren't familiar with a vortex, think of filling a sink with water, then opening the drain. The technical name for the swirl of the draining water is vortex.

Of the main chakra's, the 1st points downward between the legs, the 7th points upwards towards the sky. Remember that the Sushumna connects these two chakra's. The remaining chakra's (2nd through 6th) are actually a pair of chakra's, pointing toward the front and the rear. This means the 2nd through 6th chakras have both a front aspect, and a rear aspect.

The function of the chakra's is synthesizing energy from the universal energy field, through the Nadi/Meridian system, and into the physical body (organs, blood, etc). Each of the main chakra's is paired to specific organs, and any clogs or congestion in a chakra turns into weakness in the corresponding organs.

Chakra images source: By Morgan Phoenix - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0; the columns marked Vortexes, Endocrine and Area are from Hands of Light, by Barbara Brennan
7 Sahasrara 972 Pineal Upper brain, Right eye
6 Ajna 96 Pituitary Lower brain, Left eye, Ears, Nose, Nervous system
5 Vishuddha 16 Thyroid Bronchial and vocal apparatus, Lungs, Alimentary canal
4 Anahata 12 Thymus Heart, Blood, Vagus nerve, Circulatory system
3 Manipura 10 Pancreas Stomach, Liver, Gall bladder, Nervous system
2 Svadhishthana 6 Gonads Reproductive System
1 Muladhara 4 Adrenals Spinal column, Kidneys

Some point out that the details in Hands of Light differ from other sources, such as the traditional literature from India. For example, does the Ajna chakra have 96 vortexes or 2 petals? Try tuning in yourself to determine which is true. That's what Barbara Brennan and her colleagues did for every detail in her books, they tuned in, using their own clairvoyance, did what they could to cross-correlate observations between multiple people, and reported the results.

Psychic sense, and the limits of human senses

Many energy healers rely on receiving "psychic" information with which to guide the healing session. They may be clairvoyant, in which case they literally see the chakras and other things we've just discussed. Or they may rely on more tactile sensation, and therefore move their hands around to sense things. Or they may get hunches about what to do, and how.

Let's therefore discuss a model for understanding psychic perception.

Our five physical senses are: touch, sound, smell, taste, sight. We receive that information through sensors built into the human nervous system.

That which we can sense with physical senses is limited. The sensory organs have a specific range within which they operate. for instance the eyes operate in the light frequencies between red and violet, the ears between 20 and 20,000 Hz, and so forth. There is a wide range of vibrations of physical matter which our physical senses cannot perceive because it is outside the capability of our physical bodies. Science and Engineering have done wonders with extending the range of our sensing.

For a practical example consider these three views of the same scene:

There's no manipulation involved in these images, other than the right-most having a little manipulation to make it look better. Instead, these pictures were taken with two cameras with different capabilities. The left-hand picture was taken with an unmodified camera. It see's light in roughly the same range as our human eyes, and the resulting image looks normal to us.

The two other pictures were taken with a camera that's been modified for full spectrum photography. What that means is, most image sensors in digital camera can "see" more of the light spectrum than we can with our physical eyes. Camera makers install a filter in every camera that blocks light outside the visible spectrum, and the filter forces normal cameras to see only the "normal" range of light. By removing that filter you create what's called a full spectrum camera, that can capture light in the infrared and ultraviolet spectrum. The middle picture is shot with no filter on the camera, and captures a full spectrum image. For the right-most picture, an infrared filter was attached which blocks all light except the infrared, and then the picture was processed a little to make it look nice.

An infrared filter looks opaque. If we look through one with our naked eye, we literally do not see anything, because the filter blocks all visible light. When paired with a camera which can capture infrared light a whole new world opens that humans cannot see. Leafy green plants look white in the infrared because they reflect (do not absorb) infrared light. In other words, light-colored objects in infrared pictures either reflect or emit infrared light, and the darker objects reflect or emit very little infrared.

This shows you how the same scene can look very different depending on the capabilities of the instrument through which the scene is viewed.

If we get back to human vision, the left-most picture is the limited view we have of the world. It is as close as we can get to capturing what our human eyes can see when using an inexpensive digital camera. We clearly see from the other two pictures there is a view of the world we cannot see, because our eyes are limited.

What the folks who are labeled "psychic" perceive, therefore, is a broader spectrum of information than we perceive through human body senses. There are five psychic senses that correspond to the five physical senses. Clairvoyance is psychic vision, clairaudience is psychic hearing, and so forth. Many suggest that psychic perception is simply to be open to information outside the range of "normal" human perception.

It's believed that psychic perception works through the chakra system. Remember that the chakra's receive energy, converting that energy to nourish the human body. Chakra's also receive information, making it available as part of the information we process about the world around us.


What we've learned about is the surface of what's most likely a multidimensional system.

Energy healing, and Reiki, in part affect this system. Many observe that disturbances in the human energy system affect the human body, and that physical trauma affects the human energy system.

For example a cut, or a burn, or a broken bone, causes disruption to at least the etheric body. Healing that disruption is observed to speed up healing of the physical wound.

This field of study is quite deep and could be a lifetime of study, which we do not have space here to present.

About the Author(s)

David Herron : David Herron is a Reiki Master, graduate of the Barbara Brennan School of Healing, writer, and software engineer focusing on the truth. He is especially interested in spiritual exploration, divine wisdom, clean energy technologies like solar power, wind power, and electric cars. David worked for nearly 30 years in Silicon Valley on software ranging from electronic mail systems, to video streaming, to the Java programming language, and has published several books on Node.js programming and electric vehicles.
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