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This article focuses on the difference between sensing rather than thinking about or understanding messages in our lives. What difference does it make if we meet a person and sense what the person says instead of understanding it? Will we perceive the message differently? My answer is a clear YES. To sense a message gives us more information than just understanding it.

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This type of sensing is ‘holistic sensing:’ using all our senses and our whole nervous system combined with our intuition. Using this technique, we can capture the whole energy around a message rather than just the words. A message can be just a sentence we hear, or it can be a more subtle kind of signal that we pick up on. Every signal, including messages, is energy – and so is everything else.

The main reason to sense instead of merely understand is that by sensing we perceive so much more. Words are two-dimensional and energy is multidimensional. It is not possible to adequately describe an energy in words; it must be experienced. When energies are explained with words, they lose some of their dimensions.

I have something to say about this topic because of my own experiences. These experiences are not something I really like to talk about, but I find it necessary to make my point clear. For many years, if not my whole life, I have had an emotional energy inside me of desire and hunger that searches for answers and the higher meaning behind everything. It makes me ask: ‘why?’ to everything I encounter in life. I have worked as an accountant and business adviser for about 30 years, and at some point I discovered that I often gave different advice from my colleagues. I started to wonder why I did that and found that unconsciously I had focused on the psychological aspects behind my customers’ questions. I started to study management and leadership, and went on to study psychology. I found a lot of answers but not all of them, and my emotional energy of desire and hunger remained active inside me.

In 2003, I started to have breakdowns, and in 2008 after three of them, I read Elaine N. Aron’s book about highly sensitive people. I suddenly understood more of my challenges. I realized that I was very sensitive and reacted strongly to impressions from my environment. There followed a period where I fumbled around for answers. I searched for help from many types of therapists and healers, among others, and also consulted an astrologer. I told him about some of my problems, and he said: ‘You can’t understand that: you don’t react to the words, you react to their energy – it’s very clear in your birth chart.’ By telling me this, he planted a seed in me and from that point I started to explore life from an energetic perspective.

This exploration has provided me with so many answers that today I have only a tiny pressure from this emotional energy of desire and hunger left inside me (I still have pressure from other emotional energies, but this one has almost lost all of its power). I have realized that this pressure from desire and hunger was meant to lead me to the understanding of energies. I was to learn how to understand what I sensed when I was with people or animals and not be satisfied with understanding. For the last couple of years, I have trained my abilities to distinguish between all the energies I sense. I have practiced sensing whether they come from within or from outside myself, whether they are emotional or mental energies, and whether they are mine or other people’s, or even from my spiritual guides. I feel energies all the time. It is not easy work, but it is very interesting and fulfilling.

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Maybe this seems hard to understand, so let me give some examples. It is typically my nervous system that reacts first, and a reaction could be that I feel a part of my body quiver or get warm or cold, or I might become dizzy. In the beginning I got very nervous when my body reacted this way, and I consulted doctors about it for several years. They couldn’t understand why I felt what I did; they couldn’t see anything wrong with me. Spiritually oriented people taught me about energies, and years later, I am much better at not getting nervous and anxious. It was ‘trust’ and ‘faith’ that at last made me surrender and now I both understand the energies and consider them my friends.

Situations Where Energy Can Be Sensed & Why To Do It

To show the difference between sensing and understanding, I will use examples from my own life. The best teachers in my life have been my husband and children. Through our daily life challenges, my internal energy of hunger and desire was very active. I wanted my children to grow up under the very best conditions, so every time I met a challenge, this emotional energy pushed me to solve the problems in the best possible way. I tried to do that by talking about things, but when I look back now, I realize that I have always used energy in this process.

WHEN THE CHILDREN WERE INFANTS, I felt and sensed their needs. I didn’t read in a book how to handle infants, and I didn’t want my children to be treated the way I had been treated, so I sensed and felt their needs. As they grew up, I often had to say to my husband that I knew how to handle a problem in school just because I ‘knew’ what was best. Nobody told me what was best for the children, but I could sense it. Often neither my husband nor the teachers understood my point, and we had many conflicts.

WHEN I HAD BREAKDOWNS, my husband and I underwent relationship therapy. I tried to explain to the therapist that I got very stressed because of my husband. She told me that we only solve our problems by looking at our own part of the relationship. I agreed with this, but when I look back now, I can see that I did react to my husband’s energy. I sensed all of him and he has a very strong energy. I didn’t really understand our problem before I understood our energies and how I sensed and felt them. I do that now, my husband knows and understands, and this has changed our conversations dramatically. This transformation could never have been reached if we had focused only on the spoken words.

WHEN I FIRST MET THE HORSES, I underwent training in how to handle them. I was 46 years old and had never worked with horses before. In the training, we focused on the best things to do and how to do them right, and at the same time my inner state was in chaos. I kept sensing and feeling, and these factors were not a part of the training program. I sensed the horses and felt their needs, but nobody around me sensed in the same way that I did. Because horses don’t communicate using words, they are masters in teaching us how to sense them, ourselves, and our surroundings.

WHEN I TRIED TO SENSE MY ANXIETY INSTEAD OF UNDERSTAND IT, my life changed totally. Understanding an emotional condition as anxiety is very different from feeling it. When I began to feel my anxiety instead of understanding it conceptually, information and redemption started to flow into me. I started to use my anxiety as a teacher, and a whole new world opened up. I suddenly understood that there was energy in the anxiety, and mostly emotional energy. This quote from Jaak Pankzepp (1) I found particularly interesting with regard to the difference between understanding words and feeling emotional energies.

He writes ‘Indeed, words give us a special ability to deceive each other. There are many reasons to believe that animal behaviour will lie to us less than human words. This dilemma is especially acute when it comes to our hidden feelings that we normally share only through complex personal and cultural display rules. In addition, it now appears that our two cerebral hemispheres have such different cognitive and emotional perspectives on the world that the linguistic approach may delude us as readily as inform. Medical research in which the non-speaking right hemisphere has been selectively anesthetized indicates that people express very different feelings when their whole brain is in operation than when just the left hemisphere is voicing its views. In short, our left hemisphere – the one that typically speaks to others – may be more adept at lying and constructing a social masquerade rather than revealing deep, intimate emotional secrets.’

IN MY STUDY, I interviewed people with different kinds of jobs and asked them about sensing when they were at work. I asked whether they only looked at facts or if they also sensed and reacted to the subtleties in their work. I consider everything to be energy, but subtleties in particular are a clear indicator of energies. I interviewed teachers about when they gave grades at an oral examination: did they only look at what the students said, or did they also include their subtle impressions of the situation?

I asked nurses how they considered the best treatment for their patients: did they only go by the rules, or did they also respond to subtleties in the situations they encountered with the patient? And I asked an actor about when he performed: whether he only said and did what was in the script or if he implied subtleties in the performance. I also interviewed people with other kind of jobs, but the only one that really understood what I was referring to was the actor. He said that everything I was asking about was the core thing in his job. The other people all said that they reacted to subtleties and that this was when they did their best work. But all of these people were unaware and unconscious of this until we spoke about it; at that point, they realized how important the subtleties were. In my opinion, we all sense energies every day and react to them, but most of the time we think that we act according to our understanding.

Evolving Your Abilities of Sensing

Traditionally, we learn to think and understand through intellectual educations, but it is often through the study of art and music that we learn to use our senses. It would be much better if we were also taught to sense in the intellectual context, and I recommend that we sense everywhere and not only in artistic situations.

I teach people to sense when I hold courses with horses. The method for doing this is that the participants draw their attention against their body and keep breathing into their stomach. They must stop all thinking and just feel and sense all that happens in their bodies. The body is the perfect tool for ‘holistic sensing.’ By using this technique in everyday situations, we can obtain much more information than when we ‘only’ understand and think.

Maybe you can understand something about ‘holistic sensing’ just by reading this text, but sensing is an individual experience, so you really have to start sensing to learn about it. Nobody can tell you what you sense; only you know this. Being conscious of the possibility of using ‘holistic sensing’ is the first step in evolving your sensing abilities. From then on, the method is simply to do it in every situation you encounter, and then the evolving will happen by itself.

This article was a brief account of my experiences around sensing and energies. I write a lot more on these topics in my upcoming books – read more at


(1) Jaak Panksepp: Affective Neuroscience, the Foundations of Human and Animal Emotion. Oxford University Press 2005.

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