Energy Healing, Demystified

Barbara Brennan, Hands of Light: A Guide to Healing through the Human Energy Field. Bantam, 1988.

This book is a classic in energy healing, and many of my readers may already be familiar with it. Yet, over 30 years after its publication, Hands of Light is still a book worth reading and an excellent resource not just for healers, but also for anyone with an interest in metaphysics.

Before I get into praising the many great qualities of Hands of Light, let me tell you about its weak spot. While there is much to be treasured in this book, the contemporary reader may want to skip Chapter 4, which attempts an exploration of the “parallels” between scientific research and the study of energy dynamics. As the product of a mind frame where the only aspects of reality that matter are supposedly those that are validated by science, attempts at dabbling in physics are part of the reason why metaphysical pursuits still linger at the margins of acceptable knowledge. By definition, science is the study of what is measurable; its methods have little to offer to the exploration of subtle realms. If you want to achieve an understanding of metaphysics, ask not the scientist, for you will receive no answers. Ask the artist instead.

It is no coincidence that many religions rely heavily on art to convey their teachings: pre-logical inspiration is considerably more efficient in attuning the psyche to the things of the spirit. This is one of the reasons why I recommend Brennan’s book: Hands of Light is lavishly illustrated with images not only of the human aura (which, after all, are fairly ubiquitous) but also with depictions of auric phenomena and the energetic interactions that may take place during healing sessions. These images will speak in particular to those who have clairvoyant skills, validating and encouraging their perceptions; they will also help everybody else understand what kind of information they may receive through their subtle senses once they develop an awareness of prana. Just as importantly, some of my favorite illustrations in this book represent the energetic defense systems that many people use when they feel threatened or upset. These images are of particular interest to empaths who feel besieged by the emotional lives of others: being able to identify the most common energy patterns will help them deal with the turmoil more effectively.

My other reason for recommending Hands of Light is Brennan’s generosity in sharing important information on how to work with the human energy field. At a time when knowledge of energy healing techniques has become a commodity like any other on a competitive marketplace, Hands of Light has the merit of reminding its audiences that channeling prana is not something you can do only if you have an expensive certificate hanging on your wall; instead, this skill is available to anyone who makes the effort to sit quietly, contemplate, and explore. After all, this is how faith healers all over the world have learned their trade for millennia. Train with a Reiki Master or a Pranic Healing instructor and you will greatly benefit from their guidance; however, do not assume that you cannot pursue this path on your own. In fact, Hands of Light will help you do just that.

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