This post is part 1 of a 2-part series on what I’ve learned and experienced with the energy body and going through Energetic Puberty. My hope is by sharing my experience, it provides comfort and help to others as they try to make sense of what they are going through.
Becoming aware of the subtle energy body has been one of the most confusing and fascinating experiences of my life. This liminal period of transformation, bewilderment and novel experiences feels kind of like going through energetic puberty.
I first had heard of people referring to “energy” and the “energy body” in my 20’s, but never really thought much about it. I was a dedicated bio-hacker and like most of our society, relied on empirical research to figure out how to get the most performance out of my body. I mostly considered things in the realm of energy work as woo-woo B.S.
Then my whole paradigm kind of blew up after my 2nd Ayahuasca experience where I had an intense kundalini awakening. Most people in the U.S. have never heard of kundalini energy or a kundalini awakening. I hadn’t before and neither had any western Dr. I talked to when I was trying to figure out why my body was shaking like a Mexican jumping bean.
The easiest way I can describe my experience with Kundalini is that it feels like there are these powerful surges of energy that feel like they have a mind of their own moving through your body. In my case, it doesn’t hurt, but also often doesn’t feel pleasurable either. It kind of just feels like a powerful life force that’s trying to go somewhere which moves without conscious thought.
Originally, I thought this was just a phenomenon that was happening because I had just drank ayahuasca. During my first retreat, I had some mild shaking and that Shaman, who was really more a therapist playing Shaman, told me that I was just purging 🙄.
But then a few weeks after my second retreat, the energy and accompanying involuntary body movements returned during my meditation. I came to learn that these movements are called kriyas and from that point on they did not stop. I started to get them 5-10 times a day, mostly when I had a quiet mind.
These unfamiliar sensations inside of me made me extremely uncomfortable. So I went to see a bunch of specialists for epilepsy, Parkinsons disease, and neurology culminating in a 36 hour brain scan. Despite all this, no one had answers for me besides telling me I was probably stressed.
I guess you could say that trying to figure out what the hell was happening to me was how I got into spirituality and the expansion of consciousness.
First Subtle Energy In Here, Then From Out There
Looking back, this experience was the first time I had ever really felt sensations inside of my body. Prior to this, I guess I had never really thought about my body besides how fast I could run and how my abs would look in my annual shirtless instagram post. The only time I ever thought about my organs or insides was when there was severe pain which was incredibly rare. To put it bluntly, I was numb from the head down, but just didn’t know it.
But now that I was feeling so much, it was almost as if I couldn’t stop thinking about what was going on inside. I’d notice constant sensations, movements, and twitches in my abdomen, chest, legs, and shoulders. There were also these massive surges of energy that would come up throughout the day and often wake me up in the middle of the night.
Because I had never felt any of this before and no medical professional had answers, these new feelings were incredibly anxiety inducing.
What was happening to me? Am I going to die? Did I screw myself up!?
I didn’t have anyone in my life that had gone through this which amplified the anxiety because in addition to the fears about my body, there was also the budding concern about whether I was going crazy.
Another interesting phenomena that began to emerge was the intensity to which I could feel emotions. I went from crying a few times a year at the end of watching my favorite inspirational sports movie Rudy, to crying a few times a week often out of nowhere.
Sometimes these emotions were my own and other times it’d seem like they were coming from someone else.
I remember being in a work meeting where part of the staff was told that they were going to be let go. As the news was being communicated, I started to find it hard to breathe to the point where I had to excuse myself from the meeting.
I wasn’t being let go. In fact, I knew about this weeks ago and was sitting there just waiting for the bomb to drop. So why the hell was I not able to breathe?
I’d later come to understand that when you begin to open your energetic channels, you start to get access to information from the collective field beyond yourself which includes other people’s emotions, insights, and ideas. In this instance, I was feeling a coworker’s raging anxiety and didn’t even know it.
I also felt a lot of pleasurable sensations instigated from things outside myself. For example, in the presence of my teacher I would consistently feel a profound peace and bliss. As I consumed great texts from spiritual masters, my mind would go completely blank and the body would melt into ecstasy. The fact that an inanimate book could do this to me was pretty marvelous.
As energy beings, there is a notion of entrainment or co-regulation that causes the energy between two things to harmonize usually with the more dominant energy. This is why people often cry in the presence of many Gurus – they get brought into the high being’s field of bliss. I guessed this is what was happening to me.
Reactions of Energetic Puberty to Alcohol, Caffeine, and Other Substances
With all this emerging, there was also my newfound reactions to all kinds of substances that had been staples in my life. Like many hard charging New Yorkers in their 20’s, I had an illustrious drinking career. I’d counteract my hangovers with cold brew coffee so that I could burn the candle on both work and play ends. Sometimes, and by sometimes I mean most weekends, I’d combine them with an espresso martini…or two. ☕️🍸
About 3 years ago, my ability to consume these substances fell off a cliff. When I drank alcohol there was a very linear correlation to me feeling an intense number of emotions that were not my own. It was if the alcohol created a massive portal for other people’s shit that got sucked into my awareness like a vacuum. I’d later come to know the same type of portals can be created with sex and psychedelics as my former shaman describes here.
I’d also had many different healers tell me that I had entities (spirits) that attached themselves to me. I sit there on these tables, they’d put their hands over me, and my body would start to dance until I’d seemingly vomit out an energy. My head didn’t spin with green stuff coming out like the exorcist, but the whole thing was very alarming.
Again the biggest correlation to me being subject to outside energies including entities seemed to be when I drank alcohol. I’d drink, and then there would be a strange personality in my awareness that was not mine. It’d often be expressed as negative and scared thoughts kind of like a pesky child. After a few days, there seemed to be an expulsion of this energy usually when my body was at rest in bed or the middle of the night. I eventually learned how to more actively perform energetic expulsions with relative ease.
I’m guessing many of my romantic partners thought I was a very strange dude.
One day the strange coincidence that alcohol is often called spirits came into my awareness. I looked it up and apparently Aristotle gave it the name in 327 B.C. because “he thought drinking a distilled beer or wine put ‘spirits’ into the body of the drinker.”
If one of the greatest thinkers in history who seemed to be aware of the bigger reality picture was experiencing the same phenomena, I guessed I was not completely crazy.
On the caffeine front, I went from slamming cold brews daily to a few sips making me very jittery and anxious. I originally thought this was an energetic resonance thing, but now understand that with all this opening and energy, my nervous system was on overdrive. I’d eventually come to learn that the nervous system is a key player in the awakening process which is constantly becoming more refined and robust as your windows of perception widen.
Obviously, there are many people who drink, have sex, and do psychedelics who do not have to deal with these things. It seems to be a challenge when people become start to open up their channels to the broader field. Or maybe the sensitivity is just not there to feel the downstream effects of these behaviors. I really don’t know.
Energetic Opening And HRV
Interestingly enough, during this entire period I was wearing a whoop. It’s become quite a popular idea to use the HRV metric as a proxy for nervous system health and longevity.
In my 2 years prior to the energetic opening, my average HRV was 118. In the year after the kundalini awakening it was 188.
Many days I’d hit an HRV score of almost 300. The 188 number is skewed by the fact that I was single and drinking on dates 2-3 nights a week which caused the number to plummet. More realistically, I’d say the HRV score was well above 200 when there was no alcohol.
Averages over time:
To put this in context, regularly putting up scores above 250 is quite abnormal according to the Whoop data below.
I emailed Whoop my data and findings to see if they were interested in featuring my thesis that spiritual awakening can result in profound changes in nervous system capacity. But they never responded and probably wrote me off as some quack.
Since I assume many will ask, I stopped wearing a whoop years. I don’t know what my HRV is these days. It seems like you kind of learn what you need to and eventually the metric drives your experience of the day vs. the other way around.
There have been many other interesting phenomena and experiences I’ve had since getting in touch with the realm of subtle energy.
How Getting In Touch With Subtle Energy Is Like Energetic Puberty
Just like puberty, when you enter this phase of evolution your body and capacities evolve in unfamiliar ways which is accompanied by an awkward phase. Like a 7th grader who grows 8 inches in one year, you’re bound to experience some discomfort and goofiness before you overcome the growing pains and start to learn how to dunk with ease.
What can make this entire experience really challenging is that most of the people around you and society at large are not going through this. It’s like you are the kid with a beard, smelly armpits, and an interest in sexuality in 4th grade, only this time it’s unclear how many people around you are going to change in this way.
Instead of having all the adults around you telling you that’s normal and okay, there’s a seemingly very small population that is hard to find that can reassure you that everything you’re experiencing is a good thing. This dearth of support can make you feel like there is something wrong with you instead of like you are on the precipice of something wonderful. This is why organizations like the EPRC and IMHU are so imperative as more people go through these transformations with the global expansion of consciousness.
Then there’s all the challenges that arise in your relationships with others. Because everyone around you is not subject to the heightened sensitivities you feel constantly, they’re not able to effectively consider your situation. The lack of understanding often makes you feel like an outsider so long as there’s a pattern of needing to fit or be acknowledged which is really just an expression of low self esteem.
I remembered feeling all sorts of subtle judgmental, undertones when I stopped drinking. This was hard when these people had no concept of the personal consequences that I had to deal with by continuing to engage in this behavior. And don’t even get me started on some of the initial awkwardness with modern dating. It’s not like you can just come out and say, “hey I’m trying to avoid any foreign energies entering my space that would require me to perform an exorcism later so I’m just going to have a mocktail.”
Loud venues and regions with lots of freneticism like clubs or New York city prove to be difficult because you feel so much. When you opt out of them, you’re seen as the non-fun person vs. someone that is merely trying to feel good while being subject to a different reality.
All of this is very difficult both physically and mentally. It can put a strain on relationships due to the lack of awareness and literacy. Until you overcome what is often unconscious low self-esteem, there is a tension to conform to activities and conversations that no longer suit you in order to feel a sense of belonging.
As these situations arise, there are many times you wish you could just “go back” and do all the things you used to be able to without the consequences. For better or worse, this is not an option. Once these doors of experience and perception have been opened, there is no going back. Eventually you come to see this as a good thing because this transformation can be so damn hard to go through that if you had the option, you might not have kept going. My friend Andy Johns talks a bit about that here.
In order to liberate yourself from the pull to remain consistent with the old world, you need to accept that there’s a part of you still trying to fit in and holding on to your old way of being even though it is no longer you. This acceptance is the beginnings of self love.
With greater acceptance, the desire to maintain old ways begins to melt away. You regain your confidence and start to embrace the fact that you are in fact very different from most people for now and that’s okay. And with these greater levels of self-love, you no longer feel compelled to abandon yourself or disguise your truth in order to fit in. There is a sense of true freedom that eventually emerges – the kind where you really don’t care what anyone thinks and can move through the world in newfound levels of authenticity. This liberation is a profound gift.
I probably spent the better part of 2 years in this weird middle phase. It was the most challenging period of my life. But with all the difficulty came striking mirrors that forced me to go inward and examine all the imprints and patterns standing in the way of unconditionally loving myself and others.
So as to be expected, the difficulty of this period was balanced by the immense gifts which were eventually recognized. Even upon reflecting on circumstances like how alcohol invoked outside energies, all the discomfort forced positive changes in my life like quitting drinking which ultimately served my evolution and joy.
Looking back you can see that it’s all happening for you, but it’s hard in the moment when you can’t see the totality of how it will all unfold.
When Energetic Opening Starts To Get Fun
Once you get past this liminal period of energetic puberty and start to settle in, the whole process becomes much more awe inspiring and curious.
There’s a sense of what else can I do? Where can this take me?
You recognize that the limitations that have been imbued upon you about the human experience are a reflection of the predominant context, but not your context.
It’s not all fun as the physical challenges remain while your nervous system evolves to handle more energy. This seems to be a continuous balancing act. You learn to toggle up and down the practices that activate energy with periods of rest that allow the system to integrate and re-pattern so there is less discomfort. Until you learn how to tow the line of growth and ease, things can be quite uncomfortable as described in my last post on the perils of spiritual ambition.
There can also be an immense amount of somatic release that occurs. This can be understood as the process of incomplete emotions stored in your consciousness being expressed physically as you continue to purify the various bodies and systems. In my own case, the evolution of consciousness also corresponds with a physical evolution.
Despite the presence of discomfort, these realities are now balanced with a healthy sense of optimism that was less salient then before. You know that these bumps are just part of the road on the way to restoring your divine nature. And the closer you get, the more beautiful the scenery is. This feedback loop motivates you to keep going as well as prioritize stillness which you now associate with growth.
On the social side of things, the restored sense of freedom and confidence means you just start to prioritize people and things you actually resonate with. You no longer feel an ambient pull towards anyone or anything for the underlying desire to feel accepted and acknowledged. You’re much more comfortable just doing you and prioritizing spending time with more like-minded people in your life. For the first time in my life, it feels like I can openly fly my freak flag and not really think much about it. I remember reading the subtle art of not giving a f*ck and thinking it sounded nice, but never being able to really live it out. I guess it took redefining the self to finally get there.
If you are going through this confusing and challenging process, you are not alone. Since I’ve started sharing my experience there are far more people that are going through this then I would have ever imagined.
There is another side to all of this that is quite magical and blissful. The best advice that I have is to be kind to yourself and refrain from pushing too hard. Learn to trust the divine timing of it all and continue to try and see it’s all happening for you. It’s helpful to surround yourself with others on a similar path so that you don’t feel such a pull to ways of old that no longer serve you.
And every time you feel like you are not normal or are living in a world where no one understands what you’re going through, just remember that you are not normal…YOU ARE MAGNIFICENT!
In my next post, I’ll be describing more learnings on the energy body and engaging with the broader field for information.
I encourage you to subscribe if that sounds interesting!
- Tara Springett – I appreciate her amazing work on healing kundalini symptoms and also for getting the metaphor of energetic puberty on my radar!
- Jonny Miller – Nervous System Mastery