I made this rawhide rattle with amethyst crystal points. It’s for directing energy, like a wand, but is also shaped to help me see energy flowing. I like it because it kind of looks like it does something, like a Star Trek prop.
I often speak of my meditation-prayer, which is just to inhale thinking “Thank you” and exhale thinking “Bless you”. It is a simple thing, but how much energy you can pack into it and expand upon the practice is nearly infinite.
Since I love making spiritual tools, or pretty art pieces that have some function, I came up with the idea of a breath work “hour glass” — a rattle that you can use to help you breathe slowly and deeply for meditation. The motion of turning the rattle with each breath also helps if you need a little more stimulation during meditation and don’t like to keep completely still!
This my first prototype:
The energy body has been described in countless metaphysical models, and has a few footholds in modern medicine as well, at least insofar as the body clearly utilizes electrical signals in its functioning. Whether you believe in soul or brainwaves, the idea of the body expressing pure energy is not really an esoteric suggestion, as many scientists today happily admit that “everything is energy”.
At this time, however, the idea that we can engage with our own energy body and manipulate aspects of it, both subtly and dramatically, is firmly placed in the realm of metaphysics. To me, addressing both the energetic and the physical body equally only makes sense. After all, describing our thoughts (of which our lives are infinitely dependent upon) purely in terms of particles and matter is impossible. There is electricity dancing through your brain. We are both particle and wave.
How you interact with that energy depends on your metaphysical beliefs and paradigms. But I would advocate that everyone develop some kind of theory for engaging with energy – at least to maintain a little energy-body-hygiene. This could be meditating, yoga, Reiki, shamanism…the list of available options is impressive.
If I were to give a simple exercise that would be reasonable for most people, regardless of their metaphysical bent, I would say this:
Everything about relationships with energy, matter, and the infinite is about give and take. So just stop for a moment. Inhale slowly and say “Thank you”. If you like, you can imagine yourself receiving any sort of energy or (even just oxygen) from the universe around you. Then exhale slowly and say “Bless you.” Be honestly grateful. Give out your breath and if you like, your best ideas of blessings and energetic exchange. Now you’re breathing and exchanging energy with the Infinite. If you do it for five minutes it feels pretty good, too.
I believe that our paths represent our current models of reality, and that as we grow, paradigm shifts cause these models to expand and even bubble into whole new operating systems. I don’t tend to hold onto any ontological belief too tightly, as at any moment it could radically alter. Instead I suspend belief as much as possible, as Kenneth Smith explains in his wonderful book Shamanism for the Age of Science:
“One remedy for projection put forth by Zen teacher Shunryu Suzuki is to not believe in anything. This doesn’t mean to believe in emptiness, but suspend belief in arbitrary rules embodied in transient formations of reality. […] He is advocating a stronger relationship with potential, with a creative force, instead of being limited solely to human contrivance.”
This often comes through in my art, in concerns with my spiritual practice. I never hesitate to take apart old tools that no longer speak to me, in the pursuit of making something new. Today I got the crystal of my dreams, a fluorite from Muzquiz, Mexico, which represents a fractal form. It is symbolically important to me right now, so I took apart my old shamanic rattle — which I’ve already taken apart a few times now — and made something that speaks to my new inspirations.
The higher self can be viewed as a fractal, of which you are one single iteration. I believe the higher self ultimately transcends space and time, containing every possible version of your soul in every possible circumstance, across all possible realities and parallel universes. The essence of your soul, the one thing that ties all these potential versions of you together, is thus revealed in the shape of the fractal and describes your soul’s purpose.
Yet if you’ve ever played with the scale of a fractal image, you can imagine how only an infinite being could perceive its ultimate complexity and shape. So how do we even begin to approach an understanding of the higher self and our soul’s purpose?
I think it is important to allow for evolution here: if you’ve come upon an inkling of your soul’s purpose, or even created a statement about it, don’t call it a day and stop. Your soul’s purpose looks different at different scales and the scales represent your levels of conscious awareness, your ability to see and know what your soul’s purpose is. So as you develop your awareness, your concept of your soul’s purpose will evolve, perhaps even completely change, like any living thing, so why not allow for this growth?
My point is that the higher self is infinite and your life can be a journey of exploring it, learning deeper and bigger truths. It never really ends. If today you think your purpose is to teach, allow this statement some room – or else be stuck forever at one level of seeing and knowing yourself.