Over-working Your Energy and Energetic Breakdowns

Alpine view, spiritual nature, spirituality in nature, conifer, mountain
Today's topic is a rare issue, but from time to time, I have come across people who have over-worked their energy and de-stabilized themselves. This can result in a lot of uncomfortable physical ailments and overall despondency. Seriously, people can end up a total mess.

By and large, this won't be an issue for most of you. Most of you would probably do well to have a kundalini yoga practice in the morning, breathwork in the afternoon, and receive energy transmission from a spiritual teacher in the evening. That would make for a pretty great Tuesday for most people.

In fact, most people need a lot of energy to get things moving and to overcome internal resistance, which is what a lot of spiritual tools aim to do. Without the extra push, shove, and kick in the pants, it's easy for people to stay in the energy cycles to which they are accustomed.

However, there are some people who have a pretty low-threshold for the amount of energy moving activities they can sustain before things get too unstable to process what is going on. I would say that the three groups that comes to mind as being most likely to be overwhelmed by too much energy work include the following:
  • Trauma survivors
  • Highly sensitive people
  • Awakened people
To be sure, these aren't mutually exclusive groups, nor are they the only types of people who could be susceptible to excessive energy work. So let me talk a little bit about what can happen when you do too much energy work as well as why it is important to know yourself own energy system.

The Gift of Accessibility to Spiritual Tools

It really wasn't that long ago that access to different spiritual tools was pretty limited. It was basically whatever was in your local geography for centuries. Books helped to spread knowledge of spiritual tools, but the Internet has done wonders in creating access to spiritual tools for virtually any spiritual tradition around the world. For the most part, this is awesome!

However, accessibility has drawbacks. In this case, the lack of appropriate instruction seems to be one. By appropriate instruction, I mean that people are often not taught why and when to use a tool nor how to understand their own energy systems. They are just taught how to use it along with some vague ideas that it'll bring them happiness, closer to God, or something else. It's like teaching someone how to use a paint brush, but then you don't tell them when to paint. So they paint stuff that needs to be sanded first, and then the sanding comes along and takes off the paint. This is a pretty benign example, but the main idea I am pointing towards is that how you use a spiritual tool matters as well as when you use it.

Additionally, I feel like there is a real lack of spiritual teachers who understand the tools that they are doling out. Perhaps, I should call them spiritual instructors. They instruct people on how to use their paint brushes, but they only vaguely understand when to use those paint brushes. Because of that, it leaves a lot of people in the land of trial or error, which for most people isn't that big of a deal. If someone awakened every time they did kundalini yoga, then it would have been extremely evident how powerful this tool is and would have forced instructors to reconsider when and how to teach these things. They'd also have gotten lots of experience with helping awakened people move through the resulting process. Of course, if kundalini yoga didn't ever move anyone to a new level of inner transformation, there'd be no problem either, but then it wouldn't really be kundalini yoga.

Kundalini Awakening and Kundalini Experiences

In short, it's awesome to have accessibility to so many powerful spiritual tools, but you should be mindful about what you are using and how it shifts things inside you.

Discovering Your Spiritual Power Tools

Because we are all unique in our energetic make-up, a spiritual tool that is powerful for one person is underwhelming for another person. Also, some tools have usefulness at different times of our lives when we are working on certain issues. So your list of spiritual power tools can shift and change as you heal and grow spiritually.

Spiritual Power Tools

However, it's been my experience that tools like Kundalini yoga, intense breathwork, and certain types of energy transmission or energy work (craniosacral therapy comes to mind) really move a lot of energy. They're like jackhammers and chainsaws where meditation and journaling are like hammers and saws. These power tools need to be RESPECTED.

Too often, a lot of spiritual tools are looked at as toys and opportunities to feel good by spiritual seekers. If you just want to feel good, go to an ecstatic/conscious dance or cacao ceremony. To be fair, how you dance can turn an ecstatic dance into a pretty intense ride too, but by and large, that's more of a function of how you dance rather than the innate nature of the tool. Kundalini yoga is designed to wake up your energy and ignite an inner process of self-transformation. So that particular spiritual tool is one that should be respected and used appropriately while giving yourself space to integrate after using it to see how your energy responds.

Spiritually Breaking Down and Issues Rising Up

As any of my regular readers know, the rising of issues is a normal and healthy part of healing, and we basically all need to heal right now because of all the issues that have taught people that they are not good enough as they are. But people who are not used to dealing with issues can really freak out if they've been doing a lot of energy work and stuff starts coming up. Stuff can be anything. It can be forgotten past romances that ended painfully or memories of abuse from your mother that you thought you'd gotten over. The more destabilized someone is, the more stuff can come up.

This isn't bad. This is part of knocking down the walls of your ego self to help free you. That releases all the termites that have been nesting in your walls and eating away at you. You have deal with them. In so doing, you find greater freedom within yourself.

But when someone who has done too much and over-worked their energy, the person is getting overwhelmed. Plus, they are probably not prepared for doing this inner clean-up work. The more pain that is lodged inside someone, the more intense the fall-out after doing lots of energy work. Many people conclude that the spiritual tools are the cause of the problem rather than the light helping to illuminate problems that already existed. So the responses are often to stop using all spiritual tools as well as to shutdown and hold on tight, hoping this will make things better.

But it usually makes things worse.

The Trauma Survivor and Unresolved Pain

Most people who over-work their energy have a bad week, and then they move on. Maybe they do less with the spiritual path for awhile, or maybe they give up on the whole thing as a bad idea because no one ever told them that doing a whole lot of inner healing is part of coming into the truth of their own light, love, and oneness with life.

It's not necessarily so easy for a trauma survivor. Trauma survivors are often teetering on the edge of falling apart and getting lost in flashbacks, depression, rage outbursts, and a whole lot of things on a daily basis. This is daily life for many trauma survivors without churning things up energetically. Some trauma survivors may have unconsciously repressed things so deeply that they don't even know that they're a survivor of trauma. Yet both types of people may be drawn intuitively to the spiritual path for healing. The healing path is one of the most common paths back to the Divine, and truly, the Divine can heal these deep wounds. I see it all the time.

But without a lot of care and understanding, the trauma survivor is one of the more susceptible people to over-working their energy and ending up lost in a see of painful sensations, emotions, and memories that they can't handle. The person can collapse on any level--emotionally, mentally, or physically. It is very possible for this individual to end up hospitalized with no clear understanding of what is wrong.

It's not a pretty picture, and it takes a whole lot of care to help a trauma survivor step back out of this situation.

Re-stabilizing and then Gently De-Stabilizing to Heal Trauma

In my experience and intuitive understanding, the first step for the trauma survivor is to re-stabilize. For them, they need to stop using energy-intensive spiritual tools and start using one or two very gentle tools like meditation and journaling. Re-stabilization may take weeks, months, or even years depending on what came up, how the situation was handled, and so forth. If someone is thrown into a mental hospital, that alone can become a new trauma that must also be dealt with on top of the deeper trauma that is emerging.

And let me be clear; the pain that arises after destabilization is your energy body's attempt at healing. It's trying to get stuff out, but the individual has rarely been prepared to relax into this and allow it to release. Some of the spiritual power tools I mentioned are great for energizing your system to move things. They charge up the system. But once things start moving, relaxing and receiving the moment--especially when something is painful--is critical. Receiving and proactively enegaging are part of that sacred dance of energy and spirit, and they must be understood and appreciated. Knowing when to do which is key. For anyone with trauma in their background, it's really important to have a spiritual teacher or healer who really understands that dance and the spiritual tools they are offering.

Healing Past Trauma, Issues, and Forgotten Memories

Once a trauma survivor is stable emotionally, energetically, mentally, and physically, then gentle tools need to be used to gradually bring up parts of the trauma so that the person can handle things incrementally. Bit by bit, a survivor will learn how to handle and heal their trauma(s). As they understand trauma healing and their energetic system through gentle practice, they feel more secure in themselves. They learn how to be de-stabilized and then how to re-integrate in their healing process. The healing naturally goes deeper, and the person comes to greater levels of self-love and peace.

Highly Sensitive People Blowing Around in the Wind

Highly-sensitive people (HSP) or empaths are the easiest people to move energetically. Because of that, they really don't need a lot of energetic intensity to get things started. Usually, they need dedication to stay grounded with the inner movement and to work through any pain that arises.

For many HSP, they feel energy and get triggered everyday of their lives. It's not difficult for them to find issues, although many misunderstand what they find. That means they usually blame other people and situations for how they feel rather than understanding that the issues that are triggered come from within them.

Absorbing People's Emotions and Issues

Many HSP find their way onto the spiritual path, and they can get into some intense energy work that draws up more issues than they can handle at once. It can open them further to the vastness of life when they haven't resolved much if any of their issues. Since energy work can open people up further, the HSP feels even more things going on around them. And the more open a highly sensitive person is, the more likely s/he is to clamp down again.

In general, highly sensitive people can be rather ungrounded--at least those most likely to get over-worked by energy. Being over-worked means that they can feel very fatigued, despondent, and otherwise overwhelmed much like someone with trauma. But in this case, there is not hidden trauma. Instead, the highly sensitive person has a vast ability to feel life. It's like listening to 500 TV stations all at once. While a trauma survivor is basically watching one horror movie over and over again, the HSP is "watching" a comedy, the news, a documentary, three sports games, four sci-fi movies, a talk show, and several hundred other things. They don't know what tune into or even how to tune into something. Over-working your energy if you are HSP basically opens you up to even more channels, and with more stimuli, that can trigger even more issues inside you as well as intensify the pressure on pains you already feel.

So the HSP often chooses to hide or shutdown when faced by overwhelming energy, emotion, and sensation.

Dedicating Yourself to Inner Work and Simplifying

Where a trauma survivor does need to shutdown and re-stabilize first, most HSP who get overwhelmed need to learn to go into that overwhelm and to focus on one "channel" at a time. They also need to be dedicated. If there is a power tool they particularly like, then they should just do that one instead of mixing and matching, which may have been part of the issue that caused the breakdown.

Spirituality and Discipline: Dedicating Yourself to the Spiritual Path

In general, most people are not tuned in enough to themselves to work with a whole lot of different spiritual tools appropriately. Using too many tools and/or combining powerful spiritual tools inappropriately are two ways people can over-work their energy and get into a hot mess, which sometimes people call spiritual emergencies. I really don't know what that term means, btw. But I think for a lot of people, a spiritual emergency just means the ego is freaked out by new and often painful sensations. For some, I imagine a spiritual emergency means a catatonic energy crash and being non-functional.

Clearly, if your energy and spiritual work leaves you catatonic, you are not ready for what you are doing. Back off. Simplify.

Also, get help from someone who does know what they are doing. I know that can be challenging because so many people act like they know what they are doing when they don't, but do your best to trust your intuition.

Additionally, use your intuition to figure out what is moving inside you and what spiritual tools to keep. Just like for a trauma survivor, you should maintain some kind of spiritual practice for ongoing support. You may be more gentle for awhile, but you should also start to figure where energy intensity is needed. As you learn more about your energy system, then you can rebuild energy intensity to work on specific issues without causing yourself to totally breakdown.

Awakened and Over-flowing With Energy

Today's topic is one time where it really matters to know what awakening is. Sometimes, this definition isn't that big of a deal, but this is a time when it really is. You see, some spiritual tools like kundalini yoga are intended to awaken you. But once awakened, the energy is now moving itself within you. Using tools to awaken something that is awakened is often too much and not necessary. It's like jump-starting a car. You don't continue to jump-start a car once the engine is running!

What Is a Spiritual Awakening?

Yet, sometimes an awakened person ends up using some of these intense tools as they attempt to figure out what has happened inside them. They do so because they don't understand their spiritual awakening if they even know to call it that. And some of the spiritual communities using these powerful tools are talking about awakening, so it's natural to go there for potential help because it sounds like they may know what to do with a spiritual awakening.

I can't say that kundalini yoga and other powerful spiritual tools wouldn't help someone who has awakened. But usually, the newly awakened person has so much going through them that they do not need to intensify anything. Those people who have spiritual openings and glimpses of the truth often say they have had "awakenings," but unless their energy runs 24/7 all on its own and drags up realizations and pain, that's not awakening. The person with a spiritual opening actually needs additional energy work to boost themselves through resistance so that things start flowing on their own.

Trusting the Awakened Energy

For the person who has awakened, trusting the energy is more important than anything else. You need to learn what your energy is drawing up out of you and relax more deeply into it. You need to make space in your life for this transformation so that your physical needs are addressed and you can allow this inner unfolding. Spiritual tools will be useful at different times, but it rarely requires a lot of intense energy work. That flowing energy and intensity are already accessible within you, and your energy is far smarter than any tool.

5 Practical Spiritual Awakening Strategies

As you pay attention to the issues in your heart, body, and mind that your energy brings up, you'll get an idea of what kind of inner work you need to do and what types of spiritual tools to seek. The more you trust this inner knowing, the more easily you can go into issues and resolve them. Also, it becomes easier to process realizations and see how they apply in daily life.

The awakened self is here and hard at work, and until you really understand how inner transformation works, it's best to get out of the way. That doesn't mean you won't be deeply fatigued and less functional than before, but you are unlikely to be non-functional and totally overwhelmed.

Working Through an Energetic Breakdown

It can take a lot of care and support to work your way out of an energetic breakdown if you don't know how to mindfully breakdown and deal with the issues that emerge. So you'll have to learn patience right amidst something that you want to be over as soon as possible. And as I said earlier, you may need to ask for help.

There certainly are other ways to over-work your energy than I've described and other types of people who might do it. But as I said in the beginning, this really isn't an issue for most people. Even with awakened people, as they understand their energy and grow, they can do a lot of intense energy stuff, absorb it, and grow even more powerfully. It's typically the early stages of awakening that people need to be the most cautious. The more clear the tube and the wider it is, the more water you can blast through it. Energy is kinda like that.

So I hope this is helpful. If you are new to energy, then go slowly with the spiritual tools you use to figure out how you respond to things. And if you ever get in over your head, feel free to reach out to me for help.