Donna Eden, with David Feinstein, New York: Tarcher/Putnam, 1999
Energy Medicine is a quest book, the final outcome of a quest of the authors, a real voyage, and realization of a dream, with all the obstacles that this implies.
From her book and writing style, Donna Eden appears to be a very strong character, and she probably needed to have exactly that quality in her wisdom quest as when she started, more than a decade ago, modern medicine was really hostile toward the idea of integrating any of the many perennial healing concepts that it discarded as vitalistic. The authors introduce their book in very comprehensive terms:
The return of energy medicine is one of the most significant cultural / developments of the day, for the return of energy medicine is a return to personal authority for health care, a return to the legacy of our ancestors in harmonizing with the forces of nature, and a return to practices that are natural, friendly, and familiar to body, mind and soul./2-3
It also seems that Donna Eden’s collaboration with David Feinstein led to a wholesome mix of energies. The authors have done ground-breaking research on the ubiquitous quality of the energy concept and have laid the theoretical groundwork of the Donna Eden Energy Healing Practice. This is truly a good thing to happen, as there are today many healers who learn from hearsay and practice methods they don’t really understand. Not so for Donna Eden. She has complemented her strong intuitive knowledge, or what she directly perceives through her extraordinary energy sensitivity, by a thorough base of theoretical and cross-cultural knowledge, and this makes the strength of both her healing practice and her books. The authors write on the cultural background of energy medicine:
Numerous cultures describe a matrix of subtle energies that support, shape, and animate the physical body, called qi or chi in China, prana in the yoga tradition of India and Tibet, yesod in the Jewish cabalistic tradition, ki in Japan, baraka by the Sufis, wakan by the Lakotas, orenda by the Iroquois, megbe by the Ituri Pygmies, and the Holy Spirit in Christian tradition. It is hardly a new idea to suggest that subtle energies operate in tandem with the denser, ‘congealed’ energies of the material body./16
To add to this list that the Japanese call this energy hado, not ki, so far as water is concerned, as Masaru Emoto explains in his books.
—See my reviews of Masaru Emoto’s books The Hidden Messages in Water (2004) and The Secret Life of Water (2005).
Most native peoples call the organic, bioplasmatic energy field mana. It is also of interest that in our natural healing tradition the field was known by a whole line of alternative scientists, a lineage which started probably with Paracelsus, who called it vis vitalis, and we see it reappearing with Swedenborg as spirit energy, with Mesmer as animal magnetism and with Reich as orgone. The base principle of what I would like to call the energy worldview, as opposed to the materialistic worldview, is well put in the following short sentence:
Matter follows energy. That is the fundamental law of energy medicine. When your energies are vibrant, so is your body./17
The Western mind, cunning as it is in splitting unity off in dualistic opposites, has always had much difficulty to understand what in India is called atman. Brahman and atman are related, and express the divine principle, in its universal nature (brahman) and in its personal or personified and incarnated nature (atman). Now, then, I often hear the question after I explain what atman means, if atman and soul were identical?
I always reply that honestly I do not know. When we pick out concepts from different cultural soils, we cannot just put them in the same box and glue one label on the box identifying both.
When you do that you disregard the truth that every concept is filled with meaning and the meaning is contextual, cultural, and not implied in the concept per se. So for knowing the difference between atman and soul you have to get into Hinduism and Christianity, and it’s not guaranteed that you will find the answer. In fact, you don’t need to know the exact difference, for if you look at both notions from an energy point of view, for you will very quickly understand that both notions are dynamic, that both notions are considered as containers of vital energy. So if this serves you as a commonality, you don’t need to do that extended philosophical and religious research. It seems to me that the authors have taken the latter approach, as they are talking about soul:
The soul is the source of the most subtle energies of your being. Yet this subtle energy gives form to everything else about you, from your cells to your sense of self. If spirit, as it is often defined, is the all-pervasive, intelligent energy of creation, soul is the manifestation at the personal level./20
Now, let’s look at another fundamental principle of energy medicine: balance. What does balance mean? I have found it expressed in Chinese medicine as harmony. In Chinese medicine, harmony means health. It’s as simple as that. The ancient Chinese physicians discovered that when an organism is healthy, it is naturally harmonious, and there are no extremes. All is in a state of harmonious balance. The same is true the other way around: when an organism is found to be in harmony, the physician could conclude that the organism is in good health.
This was ignored over centuries in Western medicine, and energy medicine now brings this perennial notion of harmony or balance into our own medical paradigm. The authors write:
Balance is a pivotal concept within energy medicine, just as homeostasis is a pivotal concept within biology. All systems move toward an energetic balance, a state of internal stability and harmony with other energies. At the same time, every expenditure of effort and every interaction with the environment upsets this balance. You are always moving toward balance and always disturbing that balance in living and growing./22
However, the book goes far beyond the theory. The theory is kind of underlying, and the book really is a practical guide for healing, and you can apply it on a daily basis. The knowledge is transmitted in good little chunks, and with clear and comprehensive language.
There are many different ways to work on your vital energy, and how to balance it if you have abused of yourself too much, through stress, smoking, fatigue, drug intake or through destructive relationships. For most common ailments the book gives practical advice how to treat not just the symptom, but the underlying energy misbalance, so as to reestablish health by opening the energy flow, as a first step, and by balancing the energies, as a second step. The authors explain that many health problems, at their early stage can be healed simply by opening the energy blockage. How does the energy flow get blocked? In most cases by mishandling our emotions, by repressing certain emotions, or by trying to overadapt to certain situations, disregarding feelings of anger or frustration over long periods of time. This is how the vital energy can become obstructed.
Energy medicine is really useful in informing the reader about the possibility to heal disease by simple methods of energy rebalancing, by enhancing the energy flow, also by giving the necessary practical advice so that the reader can administer the methods by himself or herself, without needing to consult an energy practitioner.