When Barbara Ann Brennan first began to take seriously the energy fields she saw around the human body, she was employed by NASA as an astrophysicist. Since leaving to pursue her vision, Brennan has almost singlehandedly brought energy healing into the realm of rigorous science. That her focus is also deeply spiritual attests to the growing knowledge in our world that the two -- science and spirituality -- can no longer productively be separated.
The following interview was conducted by Roger Windsor, editor of Spectrum
magazine, and originally appeared in that publication. The Spirit of Ma'at
is reprinting it here by permission of Spectrum
and Dr. Brennan.
QUESTION: How did you go from being research scientist and astrophysicist working for NASA, to becoming an energy healer? They seem to be very different professions.
BARBARA BRENNAN: I was living in Washington, D.C., and during one of the race riots in the early 70s I was on top of a building looking down at people breaking into stores, burning the city. That seemed to be a turning point for me. I got very interested in human rights, and human problems. Before then I was primarily interested in science.
At that time, encounter groups were just beginning. I started joining different humanistic groups like primal scream and Gestalt therapy while I was still working at NASA. My interests switched from outer space to inner space. I began to apply what I knew about the world from the perspective of a scientist and a physicist to inner space, and trying to understand it in that way. That's how it switched over.
I felt that I needed to develop the other side of myself. I had worked very hard to learn a lot. I studied science and philosophy in college, trying to find how the world worked. Then, I realized that neither of those was broad enough.
Incidentally, it was at this time that I remembered my experiences of seeing energy as a child. I spent a lot of time alone as a child, so I would go down into the woods and look at the energy around trees, and not really think anything of it. I never talked about it because I didn't think I was experiencing anything differently from anyone else.
Another thing that moved me in the direction of healing was a car accident. A friend recommended acupuncture treatments, and that started me on the road to complementary/alternative health. I was studying Bioenergetics at the time, a form of body psychotherapy, but nobody seemed to be applying it to health and healing of the whole person.
QUESTION: These psychologies left out something?
BARBARA: They realized that the physical body is a manifestation of psychological health and psychological history. Most people understand that the body is a manifestation of our genes, our physical heritage, but it's also directly related to our psychology. Our emotional, social and environmental issues as we were growing up within the family structure, and how we dealt with them, show up in the physical body.
Even though these therapies understood the psychological component, they didn't deal directly with physical illness. They only approached healing from the psychological perspective. They taught the mind/body connection, but it wasn't looked at in terms of healing.
I was at a two-year training program in Washington, D.C., at the Community of the Whole Person. It was all about body psychology, not about physical stuff, other than using hypnosis or deconditioning to deal with some physical problems. But, when I began my own practice, I began seeing my clients' auric fields, the human energy fields. I started noticing how the problems in their physical bodies were directly related to their psychologies by looking at the structure and organization of their auric fields. People distorted the auric field through their psychological issues, or, shall we say, psychological defenses. In order not to experience and feel something that is very painful in the past, one changes or blocks the flow in the auric field. Eventually, that affects the physical body and creates disease.
In the beginning, people were coming for psychological reasons, and I kept watching this phenomenon of auric distortion. Eventually, I referred all my therapy clients to other therapists, because more and more people came to me for healing. I had this ability to perceive exactly what was going wrong in the auric field, and heal that - restructure it, recharge it, balance it - and they would get well.
QUESTION: Can you give an example of a common trauma a person might experience in childhood, and how it can be healed?
BARBARA: In terms of characterology, there are five major character structures resulting from trauma that I list in my book, and these come directly from Bioenergetics. Each has its own cause.
For example, when a child at an extremely early age, even in the womb or shortly after birth, experiences any kind of direct negative aggression from an authority figure, a parent or anyone else, that child's consciousness will react with the "flight" syndrome. This could be physical abuse, or repeated psychological abuse such as yelling, or even aggressive looks. When you're a little kid, and an adult is striking you, wherever it is, you're going to defend against it. It's a very terrifying experience, they're five times bigger than you are. There is an immediate reaction.
Physically, this results in release of adrenaline, rapid heartbeat, etc. Energetically, it means that the auric field and some of the consciousness just go out of the body. The person is not present with their consciousness. They're trying to defend from a dangerous experience.
Usually, the child will pull energy out of the area that has been traumatized, but there are different reactions to trauma. One type will pull it out of the area, another type, however, might make that area very big and heavy. A person might gain weight in that area. This will continue as a pattern throughout life. Wherever the reaction, you'll end up with some kind of physical problem, eventually.
When the person is so scared that they leave the body, they'll actually twist the auric field. They're not consciously aware they are doing this. In order to effect breaking your consciousness away from the terrifying situation, you twist the auric field to get out, and may even break the human energy field at the joints. Many times the auric field will show energy squirting out some of the joints, not necessarily where the person is hit.
Another example of a different kind of childhood trauma is when parents over-attend the child, over-caretaking. In the world of psychology it's called "invasion" - constantly invading the person psychologically and not letting them have their own space. What happens with these people is that the 3rd chakra is blown out, and they will be very vulnerable there, and feel very empty because that chakra may be constantly pouring out energy. These people tend to overeat. In this case, instead of getting out of the body for safety, what they will do is compress themselves inside of the body and gain a lot of weight, tying to create a boundary so they can't be invaded.
The result is weight gain, with all its concomitant physical and psychological problems. There would be problems in the digestive organs, possibly the liver or pancreas, and most likely the stomach.
Just by looking at someone's auric field you can see which chakras are in trauma. A chakra to me looks like a funnel or vortex. In the Eastern tradition they are described as petals or wheels of light, but in Western terminology, it's a vortex, six to eight inches in diameter, containing smaller vortexes. All these vortexes spin, pulling in life energy from the energy all around us. Each vortex relates to a particular organ. A trauma tears open the chakras, causing some of the vortexes to fail at pulling sufficient life energy into the organ. Those organs deprived of energy will not function well.
When I look at a chakra, I check out the vortex, follow it down, look at the organ associated with it, and check out the organ to see if it has the correct pulse. If the chakra is torn open, the organ would be pulsing too slowly and be extremely weak. The colors would be faded out. If the vortex going to that organ is clogged up, the organ is probably going to be clogged up and dark, and needs clearing. It wouldn't be functioning well because of congestion.
QUESTION: So people have these patterns of energy dysfunction with which they're living every day. In most cases, they're totally unconscious of the cause, only aware of the outward manifestations, such as fears and physical disease. This means that, in someone who's overweight, for example, they may try many things, like diet schemes or herbal preparations, but it wouldn't get to the real cause of the problem. The cause is a pattern of functioning that needs to be changed on a different level.
BARBARA: It's actually on both levels. If a person starts using their will power to stop overeating - that is assuming that they get the right diet information when they stop the overeating, it will bring up the childhood pain, because that's the defense. As the weight starts coming off, then that person will feel much more vulnerable, and it will allow the bringing to consciousness what had occurred and the cause of the pain in the first place, which is what needs to be healed. At that point, they might go get some help. When they get the help, if they go to a healer who knows how to work with chakras, they're able to get the chakras to function properly again.
Of course, the person can do it on their own, but, if you go to a healer, they can work directly right on the chakra as well as deal with the psychological issues, then things can be healed quite rapidly.
QUESTION: Those techniques of Gestalt and body psychotherapies, they're thinking of the bodily manifestations of trauma in terms of muscles and tightness, and not in auras and subtle energy. Would a person have the same result from using these techniques? For example, would those therapies help an overweight person carrying a trauma that caused them to build a separation between themselves and the world with their own body fat.
BARBARA: They could very well do that. It depends on the bodywork. I think that what must be dealt with eventually in order to bring out the childhood traumas, or past-life traumas, is to understand how you are holding the entire distorted, negative or defensive state in the auric field in the present. You must understand the childhood origin, and experience it, so you feel how powerful it is in your life. Just thinking about it isn't going to work, which is why body psychotherapy is so important. You do need to understand it with the mind, you need to experience the power it has in your life, and then you need to go the next step, and understand that it's a habitual defense, a habitual pattern of behavior, not only psychological, but in the auric field and in the body, something that you hold in place all the time.
Usually the most difficult parts of the work are coming out of denial, and going in and actually facing and experiencing the pain, and then understanding it, and your belief system under it, and then, on purpose, aligning yourself to change it, and making that choice every day. Sometimes this is the hard work - to change the habit, to learn to run your energy field in a balanced way, to begin to feel what that feels like to be balanced and clear.
QUESTION: Let's say that I've had a trauma, and have a distortion in my human energy field that is causing me to overeat. I go to a therapist and realize that this is a pattern I have. Then, what happens? How does the healing process go from that point?
BARBARA: The internal struggle is started - a choice of change. Many times overeating is related to dependency, such as a person who has been over-cared for. Since the issue is dependency, there will be quite a long struggle of claiming independence, learning how to make your own choices in life and run your own life, without the kind of dependency that you've been experiencing.
The defensive pattern is to not understand and to not act from the internal self. It's so compressed inside, it's not accessible. When I say the inner self, I mean the self that is full of creativity, love, and divine wisdom. It's very difficult for many people to reconnect to this self, because there's never been anybody in their life that has verified it for them. Therefore, there's a long-term learning period that each individual goes through.
By the way, everybody is full of these traumas. If you're incarnated, you've got problems. It's part of the schoolroom. The uniqueness of the work we do, that I've innovated, is that the connection of mind, psychology, body, spirit, feelings, etc., can all be perceived in the auric field, and worked on directly. That means we can work directly on the energy consciousness causing the difficulty. In the auric field, energy and consciousness cannot be divided.
In the example of dependency that we were talking about, if the energy field is stagnated, you can pull a lot of dark energy out, and help the person have the experience of independence. For someone full of fear who leaves their body, we can work directly with the energy field to help the person stay present in direct contact with another human being and feel safe. In this way, the person gets the experience, feels it in their own field, and learns how to regulate their own energy consciousness, which is the auric field.
QUESTION: Let me see if I understand what you're saying. People avoid situations in their lives that reawaken their childhood traumas and cause them anxiety. To heal, they need to go through that anxiety, and be present with it. When this is repeatedly done, and nothing bad happens to them because their fears were, after all, illusory, their anxiety disappears. The body learns there is no need to flee or defend against those situations.
BARBARA: In the beginning that's what happens, but, ultimately the idea is to hold your center with a balanced field even when something "bad" happens to you. And, then, begin understanding how your own actions have created certain situations in your life, and how you can also deal with things that used to frighten you.
When you find the origins, they're not necessarily going to frighten you anymore, because all of it's based on a child's consciousness. If the child experiences a trauma, he or she is going to apply that lesson in a generalized way to their life. They unconsciously make a conclusion about what is dangerous in the world and what isn't. That's the learning process. If a child is young, and a male or female person is directly aggressive to them, they're going to watch out for all male or female people from then on, whichever one it was. They may not consciously know they are doing this.
The issue shows directly in the life. Wherever there is a problem of unfulfillment, chaos, trauma --- whatever your life situation is that is not fulfilling to you - the reason it's that way is because you are blocking your ability to create that kind of fulfillment. You hold a block in your auric field, because of your defensive patterns. There is a direct correlation to what's going on in your life right now, and what you haven't yet been able to bring to conscious awareness.
When we're talking about bringing out consciousness, and bringing out childhood pain, the whole larger picture of this is not just bringing out childhood issues, it's bringing out all the unresolved experiences that you've had in your entire life. It's also all directly related to any lack that you have in your life right now.
We create from the center of our being. That creation wells up from our core essence through our intentionality, through the levels of the auric field, and is manifested in the physical world in whatever form. I'm talking about relationships, careers, children, income tax, artwork, whatever. Human beings are constantly creating. The difficulty is that, as this creative energy upwells from the center of our being, and precipitates down the levels of our fields based on intentionality, it hits all these blocks that have been held in our fields for centuries, because we've had all these incarnations. It hits these blocks and becomes distorted.
Any flow of energy consciousness that is blocked blocks everything - not only the negative feelings, but all the positive ones, and all of the creative force. So, the key here is to open up your life. On the physical level, we're talking about opening up your life and having human needs met. From the spiritual perspective, we're talking about awakening. In order to clear these unresolved patterns, we need to bring them to conscious awareness. That, in fact, turns out to be the awakening process of enlightenment that everybody is talking about.
If you think about it in terms of the auric fields, all of the blocks in the field are actually unresolved creations. If you think of a human being as a generator of creation, that comes from the core center, the Divine within us, in order to create in the physical plane it has to precipitate from the higher frequencies down to the physical world, anything that is blocked in the field is, in fact, that creative energy. The way that is blocked is that the energy is split from the consciousness. Eventually, it causes all these other problems, physical, emotional or in our lives. The spiritual process of awakening, which the Buddhists, Hindus, and everybody talks about, we're also talking about that, because, when it's blocked, it becomes unconscious. So we are in the process of bringing all of this to conscious awareness, becoming awake and aware. This is the spiritual process of enlightenment.
QUESTION: Many spiritual teachings say that the goal is the realization that the individual ego is an illusion, that everything is One. On the other hand, psychological therapies focus on the many problems besetting the individual, and their resolution. These seem like two, very different approaches.
BARBARA: These are two different approaches that I think are coming together. Probably we have a language difficulty here. I agree with both of them, except it isn't the ego that we're trying to get rid of. Many religions talk about giving up attachments. In my experience, the attachments are actually the attachments to all of the blocks, and all of the negative belief systems about reality, as well as our blaming everyone else for our own problems, rather than looking inside to see how we are creating them.
The psychological language is based on the preservation of the self, and the language that is used to refer to the self is ego and those kinds of words. The Buddhist and other religious traditions talk about AtOnement with the Divine, which includes an awareness of that AtOnement. The positive ego, from my perspective, is a good thing, because it is our conscious awareness making choices from the sounding board of all of our life experiences that we call our "truth" - our conscious awareness using our truth to make choices for ourselves and our lives. Usually these choices are about our growth, which is where I believe it should be centered. That's a positive thing.
The process of growth is to become consciously awake and aware of the AtOnement that already exists in the Divine. The part of ourselves that is usually relegated to human consciousness doesn't yet know that experience of Oneness, but there's a deeper part of ourselves that does and always has. What we are doing now is bringing the part of ourselves that is consciously aware of self into the experience of AtOnement. It is not an experience of void, it is an experience of expanded, universal Self, but it still is an experience of self.
Many views of AtOnement come from the Eastern traditions, where the ego and the consciousness itself is not so highly structured as it is in Western society. I think that we are getting to a deeper truth by moving from both ends of this into the center.
QUESTION: Some believe that the enlightened being is always in some kind of trance-like state of samadhi, off in some other worlds. However, in your view they would be fully in the world and creative?
BARBARA: Yes, without the separation between spiritual, mental, emotional and physical, and between divine and human.
There's another way to look at this. Here's some theology: In the beginning, there was the unmanifest Divine. In that, there was no conscious awareness of any separation or individuality. The next stage is becoming aware of individuation, which is the process we're in now. One of the ways to individuate is to incarnate and become self-aware.
QUESTION: "Self" with a big S?
BARBARA: In the beginning, it seems like self with a small S. I haven't met a human being that is beyond the self with the small S. So there is the self, and there is the Divine, and some of us can feel the divine self. The process of awakening is one of becoming consciously awake and aware of the self as one with the Divine, but it is still self, the individuated Divine.
QUESTION: Can you talk a bit about the nature of auras? Why do most people not see them?
BARBARA: Most people see auras when they are kids, but it's not verified, therefore, they disregard the phenomena. For example, a child will look at Aunt Bessie and say, "What's that orange around Aunt Bessie's stomach?" And, Mommy will say, "She's not wearing an orange dress, it's a yellow dress." As a result, the child learns that what mommy is looking at is a yellow dress, and forgets about the orange human energy field around the belly that shows Aunt Bessie's hepatitis.
QUESTION: So the human energy field is an visual phenomenon, not more of a feeling or intuition?
BARBARA: The auric can be perceived with all of the five senses. When you begin perceiving auras, you begin to distinguish more senses. The three major ways are seeing, feeling and hearing, and distinguishing between emotion and love. Seeing can be very precise, whereas intuition is usually more vague. You can see into the body, see the different organs, and see the different levels of the fields.
QUESTION: What happens during a healing session?
BARBARA: I do not have a practice anymore. I now teach, run our school and write. But I'll describe what I did when I had a practice.
I would have the person come in and have a seat. I didn't tell them I could see auras, because I didn't want them to be uncomfortable. (Of course, after my books came out, everyone wanted to know what their human energy field looked like.) I would sit in another chair, several feet away, outside of the 7th level of their auric field. Then, I would sit there casually and ask them what they wanted my help for. While they were talking I would read their fields. In their talking, when they told me about anything that was wrong, it would emphasize it in the field. Any time you worry about what is wrong with you, you increase the manifestation in the field. Then I would ask them to lie on the table and I'd work on them. I'd get more information as I was working.
Depending on what I perceive, I usually will tell the person right away what I saw, but only to a certain extent. I also learned quite early on in my practice not to tell people everything because it frightened them. And, I learned to check my perceptions three times, with three different senses, before I would give any information. Then, I would find out what the person was capable of implementing into their life before I would give them suggestions.
Any kind of description of the problem would include the psychological issues - which of the family members are connected with the trauma, what was the particular incident that occurred that initiated the whole thing, what happened after that. All of this can be read in the field, related to any particular part of the body. You can also see the state of the organs right now, and how many sessions it will take to resolve things.
Some illnesses require more than subtle energy work. Life-threatening illnesses always require more intervention that straight hands-on healing. I would never work on anyone with a life-threatening illness unless they were seeing other medical people. With any serious problem, the person needs to go to their choice of physician - M.D., naturopath, etc.
QUESTION: What is the actual technique of correcting the human energy field?
BARBARA: I would ask the person to lie on the table and remove their shoes. Then I would proceed to give a healing, which would usually begin at the feet and work up the body, charging and balancing the field. I would go to the specific areas of the body that needed work and clear, charge, balance and restructure the field. Restructuring involves rebuilding the specific pattern of the field in the area that's been distorted.
I primarily work on the first seven levels of the field, but there are many more. The auric field has two major components. One is a standing, structured energy field, with a very specific configuration. Levels 1, 3, 5 and 7 are structured, while the in-between fields are unstructured, so they require different healing techniques. The structured levels need more advanced techniques - more high-sense perception, and more ability to control the energy coming out of your fingers. You're rebuilding lines of light, rather than removing mucus or bioplasma from the unstructured fields.
QUESTION: So, you use your own body's energy to heal the human energy field?
BARBARA: I use my energy field by clearing and balancing it, bringing energy in through all my chakras, then running it out my hands. So, it's not just my energy, it's energy I take in. That's why it's called channeling healing energy. Your body acts as a transformer during the healing, and the regulation of the energy through your field is important. You can change the frequency of the energy out of your hands, change where it goes, you can make it very specific to rebuild certain structures. You can even rebuild the energy fields of organs that have been removed from the body, reducing the requirement for medication. For example, if the thyroid is removed, you can restructure the energy field of the thyroid, and the person will have to take less synthetic thyroid hormone. There are a lot of specific types of healing that can be done.
QUESTION: So, you don't become depleted doing a healing?
BARBARA: I actually get energized.
Any thing that you do in your life that appears to be depleting is because you are not living in the creative moment of the now. You have brought your energy consciousness or awareness off the wave of creation, and have separated your awareness from the energy-consciousness flow within you. Therefore, it doesn't matter what the activity is, what matters is your reaction, or response to it. If you react to it in a defensive manner, no matter how slight, it will be draining. If you respond by synchronizing with the life purpose, realizing that whatever is before you is exactly what is to be attended to for your greater growth, then, indeed, nothing is depleting.
QUESTION: It would seem that a person's energy field would be not only affected by their childhood experiences, but by the food that eat, their exercise level, etc. Do you recommend lifestyle adjustments?
BARBARA: Absolutely. Lifestyle adjustments include: eating a balanced diet, fresh, natural foods that are not poisoned with insecticides; getting exercise; and taking care of all of your needs. A lot of this is detailed in Light Emerging, my second book, in which I relate needs to each level of the auric field, and the things that you must do to keep your fields healthy and balanced. Living in a pollution-free area is also important. Some of the big cities are very unhealthy now. There's no separation between you and your surroundings.
QUESTION: What are your goals for the future?
BARBARA: I want to answer this from the perspective of our school. What we are doing now is starting internship programs in university medical schools - bringing healing techniques into the medical schools. We are already giving lectures there, but now our students will learn to work in the medical setting, where they need to be. Many of our students are already in operating rooms and working in conjunction with hospitals; now we are starting an official program.
Of our 700 and some students enrolled now, we have about 15 to 20 medical doctors studying with us, as well as lots of other health care professionals.
I personally would love to do research, but it doesn't seem to be happening. I'm so busy running around the country giving lectures, and running the school. I also want to clear the way for more writing, because I have a lot of material for another book.
On the personal level, I'd really love to study more science, and to have more fun. I'm interested in the whole integration thing, so I've been doing things like integrating my life more. I've had an awful lot of work over the last several years, and it's taken an enormous amount of effort to build the school, and to create this whole training program. I want to go work in my flower gardens and swim more.
QUESTION: Would you like to see more scientific research on auric fields?
BARBARA: There are two major types of research that need to be done in terms of the fields. One, which I'm less interested in, is efficacy studies. That is, which kind of healing techniques work for what. This is underway under the sponsorship of the Office of Alternative Medicine (OAM).
The area I'm really interested in as a scientist is creating some kind of device to measure the fields. Then, we can use it as a way to diagnose health problems, just as we do now with X-rays, CAT scans and MRIs. If we develop equipment that shows the field for diagnostic purposes, then we'll also be able to build instrumentation to heal the field. This will be a huge step in preventive health care because all physical problems show in the human energy field before they are precipitated down into the physical body. As a result, people can be healed before they become physically sick.
There's a lot of tinkering going on now that is not rigorously researched. People are creating all kinds of devices with little efficacy study behind them. Some of the ones I have seen damage the human energy field.
QUESTION: Any final comments or advice for us?
BARBARA: I think the major thing for self-healing is to center into your divine essence daily, which I see as the Core Star, located about one and a half inches above the navel, right in the center of the body. It's a beautiful, brilliant light, the individuated Divine, the God within. Expand it outward. The more we learn to identify with that part of ourselves, instead of all our problems, the more support we give ourselves to become awakened and aware into the AtOnement that already exists within us. It's just a matter of becoming aware of it. It's also a great healing technique to bring that light into any part of your body that you are concerned about.
Also, it's important to realize that anything in your life that is not fulfilled is a key to where you're blocking your energy of creativity. All of your problems are directly related to the creative force within you that needs to express itself. They are the way through, and you must go through them to create your fulfillment.
See also Barbara Brennan's Website and her Biography.