Thought Forms by Jan Engels-Smith
Thought forms are bundles of energy that have come together and hold an intention. We create them consistently throughout the day and many of them influence our behaviors, determine our responses in our interactions with others, and create conditions that are either favorable or unfavorable to our well being. They exist throughout time and can gain and lose energy. Understanding thought forms—what they are, how they work, and what role they have in shamanic healing—is a vast and complex subject. In this article, I propose to introduce the concept in a relatively broad sense and then to discuss more specific healing practices associated with thought forms in a future paper.
Isaac Newton changed our understanding of the Universe by enumerating his Three Laws of Motion and his First Law has applicability to thought forms. Newton stated that every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion until an external force is applied to it. If we apply this physical law to metaphysics, we can understand that thoughts and intentions put energy into motion and that energy will continue to radiate out sustaining that energy across time and space. Energy medicine, as it is understood in shamanic practice, focuses on understanding the impactful nature of thoughts, intentions, and actions and how they create a matrix of energy whose influence reaches far beyond our immediate range of vision. This matrix of energy, for example, might hold a moment of time, or a particular event, that would allow a shamanic journey to take one to this exact moment in time or the particular event. A journeyer can travel to any span of time past or future. This phenomenon occurs because of the law mentioned above. Once energy is placed into motion it will live throughout eternity held in a matrix of time and space until something interrupts it.
Some events are enormous and the effects of them can linger for centuries. A pervasive thought form is created and energy can build within it from resonance attraction. This can be either positive or negative depending on the event. Other events might be highly personal and individualized. In either case, the thought form has influence beyond the immediate possessors of the initial event. How individuals in great or minor events perceive the circumstances in which they find themselves will determine the ongoing impact of these events. Our thought forms, therefore, are important not only to our personal well being but also to the well being of humanity.
Let me give you an example of a positive way of building a thought form. When clients call me for an appointment for a soul retrieval, I would tell them that the healing starts the day that they make the appointment. Their intention for the desired healing puts the energy into motion. I would ask them to start praying in preparation for their session. My request is that they pray each day—either an asking prayer or a thanking prayer. An example of an asking prayer is: “Please prepare me to receive back my soul parts.” An example of a thanking prayer is: “Thank you for the gift, the return of my soul parts.” If one prays this way daily and several times a day, one will build an enormous thought form. Through resonance attraction the thought form will grow in density, mass, and volume, so by the time a person arrives for a soul retrieval, the energy will have already been prepared and the person will step easily into it.
Prayers create the matrix of energy that actually lingers over and around the supplicant. The clients literally bring this matrix of energy through the door when they arrive. They have created the sacred space for their healing through their desire for, attention to, and building of energy. When I start my healing journey, I can capitalize on this matrix of prepared energy.
When I was in energy medicine training I worked with an incredible healer that taught me about thought forms. He would literally place energy constructs around the room. He would build them energetically with the energy coming off his hands. He would build shapes and place an intention inside of each shape. He would have them mapped out on paper of where they were in the room and what shape and program was in each. We as students would move through the room with the idea that when we are attuned to notice these shapes our energy perception would inform us when we bumped into one of the structures. When we encountered a matrix we would have to outline its shape with our hands, name the shape and then reach into the matrix and be informed of the intention that it held. None of this was visible but all was done through our senses. These teachings are invaluable to me and they broadened my awareness of how this could be used shamanically for healing.
Now let’s broaden our scope of thought. All of us are exposed to thought forms daily. They linger. I can share an example of this from a conversation I had with an individual. She was a meek, soft-spoken woman who disclosed a troubling event to me. She lived in a rural area in Oregon and practiced an environmentally sustainable lifestyle. She told me that she had traveled to Los Angeles by car and that when she was driving on the highway a force came over her. She found herself consumed with road rage. She became a rude and aggressive driver, something she had never experienced before. I believe that a particular thought form lingers over the Los Angeles highway system. An accumulation of energy has formed over these highways, fed from years of stressed drivers, who spew obscenities, express rage, and have enormous negative emotional outbursts. Any person driving on these roads will be subjected to this energy. Some may feel it, some may not, but in some way it will affect everyone. We can counter negative energy with positive thoughts and begin to alter the energies that surround us. Even in the high energy of the Los Angeles highway system, if we are aware, we can find a different way to be in reaction to the negative forces around us.
Energy, whether positive or negative, attracts like energy. When astronauts attempt to drink liquids in outer space and the liquids escape into the capsule, the liquids float about in globules of constantly changing shapes because of the lack of gravity. It has been discovered that when two different liquids, such as grape juice and orange juice, escape their containers at the same time, they separate into multiple droplets and move about the capsule and sometimes collide. As they collide, the droplets might merge into ever enlarging masses. Amazingly, all of the grape juice droplets merge together and all of the orange juice droplets merge together, each attracted to their like and creating two completely different puddles of juice. This is a representation of the law of attraction, the process by which energy is attracted to resonant vibration. Every thought, feeling, or word that you speak is like those individual droplets of juice. All float into space and go somewhere. These energies connect with similar thoughts, feelings, and words. These collections of energy grow as more individuals and their thoughts, feelings, and words feed into them. This energy then manifests in a reality of some sort. There are positive and negative realities created in this process. Fear, worry, hatred, greed, and dishonesty all create incredibly negative thought forms, with many people continually feeding them and contributing to their manifestation. We have examples of negative realities all over our planet. In a like manner, positive forces can also be multiplied into positive realities when people choose to broadcast constructive and affirmative vibrations through energies of optimism, hope, love, and compassion.
Let me share some examples that may coincide with your own experiences and give you a more tangible connection with the concept of a collective consciousness that is filled with thought forms. Take a moment to think about some of the cities you have visited. Cities usually have a distinctive feel to them. You may have felt energized, nervous, scared, or enveloped in the history of a particular city you’ve visited. Places hold collective consciousness in them. When you walk into buildings they each have a “feel,” especially the old ones. I was nearly brought to my knees when I walked into the Sistine Chapel in Italy. The magnificence of that place was truly overwhelming. I was only 22 years old, with absolutely no wisdom concerning spiritual matters, and had not entered looking for or expecting spiritual energy. Yet when I walked in, my knees started to buckle and I got goose bumps all over my entire body. I was awestruck. Millions of people had walked into that chapel before me and shared their awe, their prayers, and their love of God. The energy of those feelings lingers and grows.
I had a very different experience when I visited the concentration camps in Germany. I cried uncontrollably. The terror, sadness, and depth of despair still linger there; it was a horrific experience. Although these are examples of two extremes in accumulated energies, they describe the phenomenon. All places have an energy in them – even your home or the individual rooms of your home. Become aware of what the energy of places feels like. As you tune in to these feelings and understand them in terms of energy, you enhance your work with energy. Thought forms can control behavior and influence thinking because, knowingly or unknowingly, individuals tap into a collective consciousness, which actually exists. Even though you may not be able to see it, it is there. Remember, we are made of energy and are affected by the energy around us. Ideas, concepts, experiences, events, issues, cultures, and spiritual doctrines all have prevailing thought forms connected to them, which may represent hundreds of years of accumulated energy.
Probably the most pervasive thought form that I encounter is from the Medieval and Spanish Inquisitions. Yes, the impact of the Inquisition still affects us all. During the Inquisition many women were burned at the stake or otherwise executed. Thousands of families lost their mothers, wives, sisters, aunts; all of humanity was affected on some level. These women were killed because they were healers, herbalists, midwives, doctors, and they were “known” because of their gifts. Even in the 21st century, we have people afraid to be “seen,” especially if they have metaphysical gifts or understandings. The residue of the energy of the Inquisitions lingers still, as people often fear revealing their different ways of thinking or being. We fear ridicule or shame or rejection. Anyone in the healing arts has experienced this or knows someone that has experienced this. We would be better served if we chose to express our spiritual beliefs, intuitions, and gifts in a positive manner and held true to ourselves. Such positive thoughts would contribute to a collective consciousness that encouraged an optimistic view of the infinite potential of the human spirit. From a shamanic perspective, a damaging thought form can be unraveled, and a person can find comfort and confidence in converting a negative energy into a positive force. I will address this process in my next article.
Acrylic on canvas artwork by Raina Imig. ©