Rose Cathryn Jiggens

Energy: An Experiential Laboratory

Rose Cathryn Jiggens
Energy: An Experiential Laboratory

Energy energy energy… a word spoken so often but what the heck is it?! Abuse through overuse of this word, has lead one of my favourite teachers to say “don’t use that word in my workshops!”

And I respect why she says this, because indeed a plethora of aggressions subtle and not so can hide behind its facade. I’ve been in workshops that don’t have a sex positive or conscious sexuality container and when people discover that I work with sexuality I have received comments such as “I can’t work with you because I can feel your sexual energy,” or “I don’t want you to touch me, your energy is not clear.”

Without energy to blame, perhaps curiosity and inquiry might have compelled them to say “I notice I feel troubled sitting next to you. I am not sure what that is about, but for now I will move away. Perhaps we can talk about it later to discover what is going on?” or simply “I notice I have a preference for you not to touch me” to which I would say “Sure, no problem!”

Both comments originated from discomfort people felt around sexual energy. Could they actually feel my sexual energy? Probably yes, in my own experience as someone who also “feels energies”. Was their reference to my “disturbing” or “unclear” sexual energy, a mask for unspoken judgements about sex and specifically sex work? Almost certainly.

I would also be willing to talk to them and take their concerns seriously, whilst, at the same time, expanding their perspective with what I have learned on my own journey. I have learned that energy awakened through sex can be a powerful catalyst for transformation. I also like to try and talk about it in ways which a rational mind could engage with, paying heed to the discoveries of humanity.

For instance, making a generalisation such as “just trust and go with your energy” is clearly problematic, when science shows how biased we are by snap judgements based on perceptions of race and gender. Clearly, with this knowledge, we have to learn to interrupt “going with the flow” to see what flow it is we are actually moving with - because it might be one of systemic power abuse and oppression.

With this all in mind, here is my own, personal, short-guide to engaging with energy as an experimental, experiential laboratory, and what this all has to do with sex:

  • Energy practices involve one or more of body, movement, breath, sound and visualisation. Working with materials and creative practices can also be forms of energy work. Energy practices are anything that cumulatively produce a transformative result, beyond what we could imagine possible, through mechanical cause and effect.
  • Energy catapults us and intention sets the target. It’s good to get clear if you can on the target, before you release the elastic. However sometimes we just have to let go and adjust course as we go along.
  • In trying to describe what energy is, my own conclusion is that this is as yet unknowable. Instead, I propose opening an experimental laboratory where we from hypotheses and test these to see the effects and come to know energy that way. I consider energy work as a constant ongoing enquiry rather than a thing I know how to do.
  • My enquiry says energy sits on a continuum with material reality rather than as a separate thing - a spectrum of density from the seen to the unseen. I work by building a bridge with ever deepening pillars in both the seen and unseen. If life is feeling stuck I move into the realm of energy to unstick it. If life is feeling stuck I attend to the detail of material reality to unstick it. Both have equal weight.
  • Choose a practice, then test it for a month and diligently assess the results in as objective a way as you possibly can. Notice how you were at the beginning and at the end. If your trajectory is not as intended then adjust the practice and continue on. A practice can be anything from kundalini shaking to dancing Flamenco.
  • Teachers can assist you with your practice, but in the end there is not a mystery that you cannot unlock for yourself. Experience is your best teacher. Think of energy like a painting - you can learn all you like from the masters, but their master work is their own and in the end only you can create your own masterpiece.
  • At some point if you engage with energy you will encounter your sexual energy. At some point if you engage repeatedly with sex of any kind, you will wake up energy and it will start to make things happen in your life. Either way - this is my opinion based on what I have observed - you need to welcome sexual energy and its effects as a reality, or it will start to play out in unconscious ways.
  • I am aware that some people are asexual, and non-engagement with sexual energy does not equate with repression. Sexual energy is simply the most obvious expression of life force we have in our society at present. Also, I am addressing sexual energy as it has been a potent catalyst for me personally. But the power I am talking of might equally express in a myriad other ways.
  • I personally had no way to engage happily in sex for nearly a decade, it was simply too painful for me. Once I chose to re-engage with sex, it was a long time before I could find pleasure directly in my genitals. Before this I awoke to sexual pleasure through neo-tantra and shamanic energy practices. Eventually the energy awakened worked its way back through the spectrum of density, deep into the cells of my body and, finally, I found out what a full blown genital orgasm felt like.
  • I was very happy to rediscover the joy of my sex - and it was attending to energy that led me there. So I am a great enthusiast for teaching about energy, as in my life and practice I see how often it helps people to learn about this. I also attempt to question the ways that I talk about energy based on the bad experiences I described at the beginning of this article.

When sharing perceptions of energy I try to use formulae like these, to open space for discovering my own projections and also to respect consent:

“I have something to share about xyz, are you available to hear it”

“I think I am noticing … (whatever it is you are noticing about energy)”

“My noticing this is based on …. (whatever it is you have seen in observable actions)”

“Can we explore my perceptions together? I would really like to find out what is true for you”

Finally, the only thing I know is that there is still much that I do not know. I invite others to share their wisdom and what they see, so that I can learn from it and pass it forward for the benefit of everyone. In return I continue to try to share free resources and there are lots of articles on my website.