May the Force be with You

I was talking with someone I’d never met before a few days ago. He was very friendly and interesting and chatty, but within a few minutes I felt myself starting to get really lethargic and tired. After about half hour with him I was yawning. After another half hour I had to leave or I would have fallen asleep and/or off my chair.

Once I was away from him for a while, I perked right back up again. So then I realized, I’d been in the presence of an Energy Vampire. Just like Twilight Vampires, Energy Vampires sparkle and glow. They’re very effervescent and draw people to them like chiggers to a bug zapper.

Then they somehow drain all the energy out of the people they attract just by being near them. There aren’t many of these people in the world, thank goodness. I’ve met maybe half a dozen in my entire life. It’s very strange being around these people. On the one hand they’re fun, but on the other hand, they’re only fun because they feed off your life force. I’m not saying they’re bad people. They’re just exhausting, and a little frightening, to be around.

Religious people believe humans have a soul. I think the notion of a soul evolved from evidence of a human energy field.

Every living thing is constantly exchanging sub-atomic particles.  Everything vibrates with electrical currents that generate corresponding magnetic fields.

 A machine called a Superconducting Quantum Interference Device (SQUID)  is able to detect these tiny biomagnetic fields. Medical science is now recording biomagnetic fields around the heart and brain to complement electrocardiograms and electro encephalograms because they provide a more accurate picture of physiology and pathology.

This is pretty cool for a lot of reasons.

New ageist types and ancient mystics and shamans have been trying to tell us since forever that people have “auras” or energy fields.

So, if they were right about that, are they also right that people can be healed via their energy fields? If our energy is disturbed or otherwise affected, it can, apparently affect our overall health.  And if so, if our energy is re-aligned, for lack of a better term, can this help bring us back to health?

I don’t see why not.

The ancient Japanese practice of Reiki,  for example, claims to be able to promote healing for any illness or malady by “attuning” energy. I had a good friend once, Patty, who was a Reiki Master. She had an energy that was extremely pleasant to be around.

Just being near her would make me smile and feel calm, comforted and content. She used Reiki on her plants, too and had the most amazing garden. And, when XUP Jr. got sick years ago, Patty was able to pinpoint exactly in which part of her body the issue was – long, long before the doctors, to whom I was dragging poor XUP Jr., even acknowledged that there was a problem.

I think Patty was an exceptional person anyway, with or without the Reiki as a tool.

It could be very useful in our lives to be more aware of other people’s energy and how it affects our own, don’t you think? Aside from The Energy Attuners like Patty, and people like The Energy Vampires there are also:

  • The Energy Amphetamines – People who immediately make you feel nervous, irritable, anxious, tense.
  • The Energy Discombobulaters – People who make you feel very uncomfortable, wary, confused, insecure. These are the people around whom you automatically fold your arms across yourself. This is your instinctive way of keeping their bad energy away from you.
  • The Energy Igniters – People who fire you up with energy. This can be both positive and negative. They’re often salesmen, motivators or coaches because they can rev your energy up and sometime get you to do things you maybe shouldn’t have. In a more positive way, they can be people who just energize you when you’re around them and generally allow you to experience things more fully.

So, once you’re aware of the sort of people you’re dealing with, what can you do about it? Well, obviously do what you can to stay away from people who adversely affect your energy and surround yourself with people who do positive things to your energy.

If you must deal with negative energy people, try not to place yourself to close to them and try to redirect their focus away from you as much as possible.

You can also do things to attune your own energy. There is the usual relaxation/deep breathing stuff. Or, you can briskly rub your hands together and place them near the area (about an inch away) of your body where you’re feeling the distress and just hold them there until you feel better. Or you can also visualize a mirror reflecting the negative energy back on to the person affecting you.

I don’t know. Do you believe any of this stuff? Do you think it’s important? Do you think well-being or even better health can be promoted with energy work? Have you had any positive or negative energy experiences?

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41 responses to “May the Force be with You

  1. I have a relative that affects me that way. Luckily, she is no longer speaking to me-long story. Maybe I affect her the same way. I do believe in negative energy. There are just people who energize me.

  2. I’ve certainly noticed this and my mother and I have discussed it. It may also have something to do with brain chemicals being released by smells or something. I do know that I have never come even close to having a panic attack when I’m with my daughter. It’s like my whole body chemistry changes when I’m with her. I’ve often wondered about that. And now that I think about it, I think the same thing is true for my mom. Oddly I have had panic attacks around my dad and my husband and you’d think that would never be the case. I have no idea how this stuff works, but there is something to it.

  3. Yes, I think that people do affect us in these ways. Just one example: I once had a boss who, while a very nice person and capable at her job, affected everyone in her section in a negative way. Morale was very low and people bickered, work didn’t get done, and there was a high turnover of staff. When she went on maternity leave, she was replaced by a person who was one of those “energy igniter” types. It was a whole different environment. The morale problems disappeared overnight.

    Neither boss did or said anything that could have accounted for the difference.

  4. They have a name for people who are actually sick with serious afflictions and use Reiki as the primary treatment: victim.

    Although SQUIDS, which have an extremely cool name, can detect those minute bio-electric fields, there is no evidence of any kind of pervasive “Force” like bio-energy that ties people together or that can be acted upon by Reiki quacks, aura reading charlatans and so on.

    Attitude and personality, however, goes far in affecting the attitudes and feelings the people around someone both positively and negatively.

  5. I know only one person in my life that is capable of changing my state of mind with her only presence. I’m so lucky I married her!

    Great post XUP, as usual!

  6. I don’t know whether I believe the whole Reiki thing, I’ve never really been exposed to it. But I have stopped seeing a few people in my life who just sucked the life right out of me. Was it an energy thing, or just general neediness or negativity, I dunno, but I felt much better once they were gone. I only have so much energy, I refuse to waste it on people who just suck me dry.

  7. Linda – The Energy Vampire, you mean? Those people are the worst. I had a good friend like that once. She was loads of fun, but incredibly exhausting. I could only bring myself to be with her once every couple of weeks.

    Geewits – Interesting.Maybe your mum and daughter’s energy fields somehow keep yours in balance, while your husband’s and dad’s throw them off. I would say there is probably some sort of tension between you and the fellas – not necessarily bad tension. If you’re particularly sensitive to other people’s energy even something good like the sexual energy between spouses can throw your energy off. And with your dad, who knows what sort of energy you’ve built up between you two over the years. Loving someone and being close to them doesn’t necessarily mean your energies are perfectly aligned.

    Penny – Weird.That poor woman should maybe get herself attuned! If she is otherwise a kind, nice person, she probably has some bad stuff going on in her personal life and she’s dragging that negative energy around with her at work.

    Squid – I have a post just for you tomorrow on your favourite alternative health topic. Meanwhile, yes, I agree that it’s probably not a good idea to rely on Reiki to cure serious illnesses. No ethical Reiki practitioner would do that either. I don’t think that even you could deny however that spending a lot of time with people who make you feel bad, irritated, angry, edgy, etc., etc. can adversely affect your health. And that spending time with people that make you happy, calm and relaxed can help keep you healthy and even speed up your recovery when you’re sick. It’s not much different than meditation. Taking time every so often to ground yourself and let go of all that negative stuff that accumulates over the day is good for you and can help keep you healthy. By the same token, if you’re sick, a nice massage, a good laugh, something pleasant will help make you better faster. It’s not magic and it certainly should not replace regular medicine when you’re very ill. It’s just getting your energy back to where it’s working for you instead of against you. You can’t argue with that, can you?

    Mr. G. – Well, that was sweet. I hope you tell her what she does for you often.

    Friar – Absolutely. It only takes one person with bad energy to infect others and/or an enviroment. I have one of those workplaces, too. One thing I always like to do when applying for a new position is to go to the actual workstation where I’ll be sitting. If it feels really oppressive there, I turn down the job, unless there’s a really compelling reason to accept.

    Jazz – Ya, who knows what exactly it is about some people. Wise move to take yourself out of their sphere though.

  8. First off, you have to, have to, have to, have to read ‘The Body Electric’ by Drs Becker and Selden if you’re interested in this stuff. I can email you a copy in .pdf format.

    This idea of categorising people – even if it has some sort of basis in truth, it’s highly problematic – in more ways than one, just off the top of my head.

    For one thing, what if your unpleasant feelings about someone have nothing to do with auras and are just a case of disharmonious personalities? Maybe it’s your problem, not theirs.

    I think that the New Agey language of ‘energy’ can become this vague, evasive way of always making the other person in the wrong, and you can avoid ideas – disagreements often have some underlying ideological, life-philosophy root that is the subtext of the interaction – and instead of understanding and engaging with the ideas you can just say, “I don’t like you, you make me feel bad, therefore you have bad energy, therefore I will avoid you.”

    Now having said all that, and that’s not an exhaustive list of my reservations about this way of understanding and dealing with people, nevertheless, a friend and mentor of mine is a guy who has for years subscribed to a skeptic’s magazine and studies quantum mechanics, and teaches kung fu – he is certain that there is such a thing as ‘chi’. My mother is a spiritualist – one of these people who talk to the dead and heal the sick – I grew up sort of critically interested in this, with a need to find out once and for all whether it’s true.

    What I found from years of dabbling in this stuff for myself is: there’s definitely something in it, but 99.9% of its practitioners, including the people who teach this stuff to you and even make money out of it, do not have a good understanding of what they are doing, and employ silly wooly explanations for everything and call it ‘proof’. They are not generally people who understand much about scientific method. They are not so different from ancient healers who knew nothing about chemistry, so when they observed that a certain plant extract healed a certain disease they felt the need to make up something about an ‘energy’ in the plant chasing away the ‘demons’ causing the illness. The explanation adds nothing to understanding because it’s just fantasy, but people have difficulty living with the unknown.

    After my experiments, I have a lot of ‘unknown’ to live with, and I don’t expect to ever have all the answers, any more than I expect to one day understand The Theory of Everything. I know that it’s possible to pull stuff out of a person’s head or out of their past, and I know it’s not all ‘body-language’ or ‘cold reading’ because I’ve done it without even seeing or talking to the person. I think it is possible to heal people. But I think that these people who are into this stuff are more like Mark Hamil than real Jedi, if you know what I mean. Even the ones that can do a real thing or two still fake it much of the time – usually unconsciously, I think; the cynicism probably comes more when money and fame’s at stake – and there’s a trememdous amount of wishful thinking and self-deception.

    One of these days I’ll write an essay about my tinkering in these things – been meaning to get around to it for ages.

  9. I think that “energy” pseudo-science is a lot of hooey. But I;ll admit that (to some extent) it does work. Just not for the reasons some people think.

    A lot of that stuff works, because people WANT to believe that it works. And they’ll convince themselves that they feel a positive or negative effect. Mind over matter.

    For example, whenever I see a dog, even if I bump into one on the street, I instantly feel happy and relaxed. And I want to play with them and pet them.

    Does that mean all dogs are Reiki masters?

    Or, maybe I just like dogs. And being in their presence generates positive feelings. Which lowers my blood pressure, relaxes my breathing, and makes me feel better.

    But hey….if the end effect is the same, whether it’s crystal therapy, getting in touch with your Thetans, or petting a dog…go for it.

    Whatever works for you.

  10. I liked the amount of detail you went into, describing the different energies. I do believe that we have different energies and we can become more attuned by becoming aware of them and how they affect us. I suddenly became so attuned when I got diagnosed with cancer and discovered people reacted in very different ways when I told them. I also suddenly understood what Cesar Millan was talking about on his show, when he discussed being calm and assertive and being a pack leader. I’m not sure if you can dissect the energy down to the molecular level however, and then reconstruct it as a more known quantity. I think it is one of those things that will remain amorphous and a little mysterious and unscientific.

  11. Like others have already said, I think there really is something to all this, but I’m unsure how much. I’ve had several Reiki treatments, and although I came out quite relaxed, I still prefer a real massage for relaxation. I also wonder if the negative energy people know that they are negative energy people and that’s why no one wants to hang out with them, or are they spectacularly out of tune with themselves and barely even notice?

  12. Friar – I just imagined a dog dressed up in a Reiki Master costume (imagining that to be a very elaborate costume) and it increased my humour energy levels.

    As for the detected energy levels, if you read the first paragraph of the Wikipedia article on SQUID, it says that animals (in which category I’m lumping humans) emit energies about a millionth of what a fridge magnet puts out. If biomechanic ‘energy’ from animals had any impact, then the science surrounding the effectiveness of magnet therapies (whose tools are a million times stronger) would be resoundingly clear. Instead, it’s ambiguous and not distinguishable from the placebo effect.

    (I can’t say I’m really looking forward to a post on the H-word)

    – RG>

  13. I couldn’t agree more. I have been walking and passed by a person and immediately shrunk back and felt I was in the presence of evil. It radiated. The wierdest one though was a man I knew thirty years ago. He had almost died twice in accidents and you could literally feel energy radiating from him. However, he was a real piece of work. Don’t know how he kept that good energy.

    I also know someone who drains you. Avoid that kind at all cost. He’s a really nice guy but a downer.

  14. @RealGrouchy

    That’s it!

    I’m gonna duct-tape fridge magnets on my head.

    They’ll be great accessories to my pyramid-helmet.

  15. The effects you describe may be real, but I seriously doubt they have anything to do with mysterious energy fields.

    Personalities can interact in complex and interesting ways, and do so without the need for supernatural help.

    Also, it is always a challenge to disentangle why it is we feel a certain way about something. Often, it might have little to do with the thing (or person) itself, and more to do with something else it reminds us of.

  16. @RealGrouchy
    Hmmm…that sounds interesting. An electromagnetic field that is “homeopathic”. (As opposed to the “regular” kind).

    This could change the the laws of physics as we know them.

    I’ll look into that. But first, I want to drum to heal Mother Earth, after the oil spill in the Gulf.

    http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/press/around-world-common-cause,1391448.html

    Then I want to try Auric Cleansing

    http://giftedpsychiclea.com/www.giftedpsychiclea.com/SPELLS_AND_SERVICES.html

  17. G – First, yes, I’d like to read the book. You can send it to urbanpedestrian@gmail.com and I’d like to read your essay when you’ve done it, too. Next, I wasn’t suggesting that this is how we should be categorizing or judging people. It’s just one small part of a person and energy isn’t always the same. I’m sure that if I avoid someone there will be a lot of reasons not just because of a “bad vibe”. And yes, I agree that most of the people involved in all of this new age stuff are flakes and/or charlatans. It’s an experience to meet someone authentic once in a while though.

    Friar – Reiki Master Dogs. Ha ha ha. You can call it whatever you want but I like to think that there is something more to us than just a collection of bones, muscle and organs. That we have some sort of energy or spirit. I’m not 100% convinced and I have no real proof, but it’s fun to think about.

    Julia – I made all that up about the different types of people’s energies, but it’s based on observation. And you’re right. As I sort of said to Friar – it IS something that makes you feel somehow better to think about.

    Pinklea – Good question. I have no idea what sort of energy I emit. Do you? And I don’t think Reiki is supposed to relax you in the same way massage does – although massage is also partly an energy practice, along with touch therapy, reflexology all that chakra stuff and some others. Interesting that you’ve done it though.

    Grouchy – Don’t worry, a post on the H-word needed to be written. It’s been boggling my mind for too long now not to. I’ve never seen anyone dressed as a Reiki Master. They always just wear normal clothes. Also, fridge magnets complete me.

    Savanvleck – The weirdest energy I ever got was off a young woman who’d had an aneurism and almost died. They had to revive her and cut a piece of her brain or something. I knew her before and she was very full of herself, immaculately groomed, high-powered job, etc. Afterwards she was completely different – dressed in layers of old clothes, let her nails and hair grow really, really long, unkempt, had no impulse control anymore and blurted out whatever came into her head. She was paranoid and forgetful and behaved inappropriately almost all the time. Her energy was scary – like she was a zombie or something…like she should have been dead, but they were keeping her artificially alive. Very eerie.

    Milan – True. Like I said to G. I wasn’t suggesting that energy was the only way to define or judge someone – just one part of who we are. And yes, we have no reason to put any faith in Reiki. But we also have no reason not to – as long as we’re not using to replace conventional medicine when we’re very ill.

  18. @XUP: Yeah, you’ve thought it through more than most people then.

    This idea that any ‘aura’ would be drowned out by stronger ambient fields is not as solid as it may seem on the face of it. There is plenty of evidence that the body can be affected physiologically by tiny fields and electrical currents because the body is attuned in some way to certain types of field/current, even though they may be tiny signals within a general noise. Example: almost all animals use the Earth’s magnetism to navigate, and if you introduce a distracting magnetic source that is much stronger than Earth’s magnetic signal, the animal may adjust for it – filter it out. Experiments have been done on pigeons and on humans.

  19. I believe in Vampyres.
    I’ve met a few that try to suck out every bit of free information out of you and waste shitloads of your time.
    I met with a couple today and it seems that once they hook on they try desperately to never let go.
    I think that even better the description should be leeches.
    A vampyre will suck the life out of you then its done. A leech attaches itself to you and gently and rather annoyingly suck your life force. Then you scurry around looking for a cigarette to burn them off with.

  20. I have a few friends that drain me too; one woman is the nicest person, but after an afternoon with her I’m spent. Then again, I’m an introvert and she’s an extrovert.

    I’ve had way too many paranormal experiences to NOT believe in this energy field. I don’t doubt it and don’t need proof. To me, it’s a reality. I do believe there are a lot of quacks out there jumping on the bandwagon, though.

  21. I am like Davina-A bit of an introvert, and extroverts kinda sap my energy. But that’s o.k. (As long as they’re happy extroverts)

    The WORST kind of people are the ones who displace all their anger at the world towards you and make you feel insignificant and small. They probably fit into the “discombulator” category. Their “negative energy” spreads far and wide.

  22. But we also have no reason not to – as long as we’re not using to replace conventional medicine when we’re very ill.

    I disagree. I think it is problematic when people believe in things just because they cannot be conclusively proven false. The foolishness of doing so is humorously illustrated by the whole Flying Spaghetti Monster phenomenon.

  23. G, er… do I dare say? Welcome… to the twilight zone: I’ve seen things, heard things and felt things. Happened many years ago but in every case there was NO doubt in my mind about the reality of what was happening. You know how sometimes after a period of time passes, you start doubting? Well not in these cases. Not even 1% of doubt.

    Pauline, I’ve known people who displace their anger at the world. You can really feel the force behind that energy; especially if you’re sensitive. One previous friend (who was aware of what he was doing), used to tell me that people would literally cross the street when they saw him coming, or they’d give him lots of space.

  24. @Davina: Yeah, I know what you mean by that – something striking happens but it’s such a rare type of event that its impact wears off gradually. I’ll say to a friend occasionally, “you know, I think all this stuff might be a load of crap”, and she’ll say “but remember when…” and I’m like, “oh yeah.”

  25. G – Pigeons and humans, eh? Who won?

    Lebowski – It’s cool how all my blog posts speak directly to your life situations.

    Davina – Ya, science can’t explain everything and just because something isn’t explainable, doesn’t mean it isn’t real. Too bad the quacks spoil it for everyone.

    Pauline – I can usually hold my own with discombobulaters, but there are occasionally people you just have to walk away from.

    Milan – Why is it problematic to believe in something that isn’t backed up by science? Science isn’t always right either. Science has often had to go back and correct itself. People believe in god and it makes them happy – gives them a purpose and a guide for their lives. We can think they’re foolish, but foolish isn’t necessarily harmful or a problem.

  26. ‘Science’ and ‘evidence’ are not the same thing, though the former depends on the latter when it is as its best.

    We shouldn’t believe in things for which there is no evidence because doing so untethers us from the real world.

    The whole reason science is so powerful is because, at various times, people have seen instances where evidence contradicts what they believed, and they investigated the matter further. It is those sorts of thought processes that led to us understanding the world as well as we do now.

    Throwing that away for a vague feeling of well-being strikes me as very foolish.

  27. I have known one or two energy vampires and they are absolutely exhausting. and impossible. Sometimes you have people in your life where you have no other option but to walk away.

    I have a coworker who does energy work and we talk a lot about energy shifts and things that affect our own energy, etc. She’s done some work on me for my headaches and also at our house to get rid of some bad energy we had sticking around. I find it all very interesting.

  28. Milan – Yes, it may very well be foolish, but some of the best things in life are based on whims and feelings – love, spirituality, faith and trust are just a few that spring to mind.

    Linsey – It is interesting. But does it work?

  29. The mother-in-law did Reiki, having known her close-up I’ve lost much faith in all the “energy” related crap… sorry.

    But I do think that there are people who drain us for whatever reason. I think it just comes with knowing what these relationships will entail, and how much work they are… I also think we know when we’re being pitched… and revved up. Fundamentally, I don’t think people can be fooled into doing anything they don’t on some level want to do.

  30. I like the idea of chi and energy. There’s something to the idea that most practitioners are fumbling around wanna-bes. I had a yoga instructor who was the picture of poor health who practiced twice a day for decades. But then, like the marathoner who had a heart attack, what was the starting point. Perhaps if the marathoner was a couch potato he would have died before adulthood, or the yoga leader would have, without yoga been much worse off.

    For the last couple months I’ve been trying to verbalize this idea that you just did — the energy vampires, energizers, etc. I’ve been trying to work out some mechanism. It is situational and interactional. Some times I’m radiating differently and am more sensitive to incoming. I’ve thought of it in terms of waves, out of synch, cancelling, in synch or out of reach.

    There’s body language, posture, speed, tension, responsiveness, genuineness or falseness of response, all those microfacial expressions.

    In photographing people I find it funny how some people who are all cheer in the shutter speed look concerned or hard-featured and others who have nervous twitches in frame by frame look relaxed of face. The brain is processing more signals than the camera picks up.

    That appliances send out more electricity than people might explain being more at home in the woods.

  31. Yes, I saw the homeopathy post. Very nice. I’d ban homeopathy outright if I could. It hurts people. It KILLS people. It impedes the flow of real, tested medicine. It’s very bad news.

    You hit on the one thing about alternative ‘medicine’ though that is, perhaps, slightly beneficial…

    Many people feel threatened by doctors. Alternative practitioners tend to have the whole touchy-feely-cuddly thing going for them. That puts people at ease, makes them think more positively. They think they’re getting better (even if nothing substantial is being done). There’s something to be said for putting people in a positive mindset… although that just means they die with a smile on their face if they’re actually sick.

    What you call “energy vampires” I refer to as “emotional vampires”. The idea is the same: they suck the life out of wherever they are… but to me they simply operate on an emotional level, no energy involved.

  32. Nat – It’s too bad there are so many people involved in the alternate/complementary health fields who are nuts. I guess anybody can do the course and then call themselves something. It takes a special person to be an authentic practitioner though. I think you have to have some sort of healing/positive energy before you ever take the course or you’re just another crazy person who thinks they’re special.

    Pearl – Interesting thought about how our energies might be conflicting with the electricity of all the appliances and gadgets around us. They are certainly not contributing to our good health. I know I sleep much better, for instance, in a room without any electrical appliances and as far away as possible from other appliances in the home.

    Squid – What are emotions if not energy? I wouldn’t be completely dismissive of all alternate/complementary health care or remedies. Some of this stuff has been working for people for hundreds of years. Some of it is still working for people – especially those who don’t have access to modern medicine. Sure, we can now keep people alive longer with some creative slicing, dicing and chemicals, but that doesn’t mean we’re keeping them healthier. Allopathic medicine treats symptoms. Alternative/complementary medicine treats people.