The Subtle Energy Search for Meaning

By Cyndi Dale
[Energy Work]

In the words of Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist, and concentration camp survivor Viktor Frankl (1905–1997), “When we are no longer able to change a situation … we are challenged to change ourselves.”1
I take inspiration from this quote. Sometimes I feel powerless in the face of a client’s challenges. When this occurs, I “turn it over” and ask for greater help. I examine my beliefs and attitudes, as well as my training and desires. Although I dislike feeling personally paralyzed, I struggle even more when I perceive this condition in my clients.
How are we supposed to support a client who seems unable to alter the causes of their aches, pains, and predicaments? Certainly, we can do our best to address a client’s physical needs, but we are often called to do more than this. Whether we like it or not—or feel capable or not—a bodyworker is often perceived as a beacon of wisdom. What can we do when the job seems to include helping a client cope with what appears to be the impossible?
Frankl authored a memoir based on his life in the Nazi death camps. In Man’s Search for Meaning (Beacon Press, 2006), Frankl shared stories of his own client work, but also reflects on the inhumane treatment he underwent at the hand of the Nazis.2 His book is a staple in my personal and professional library, as it directly addresses the reality of suffering, especially unnecessary suffering. From my point of view, his ideas are also fundamental to the understanding of subtle energy, which is my particular expertise, and provide an exemplary model for bodyworkers who need to support clients through challenging situations.

Embracing Love
People usually come to massage professionals and bodyworkers because they are experiencing concrete problems or desiring tangible changes. There’s another energy, though, which is less detectable. This is subtle energy, and it directs physical reality.
Subtle energy is typically described as unmeasurable, but that doesn’t mean it’s unimportant or weak. What we perceive in physical reality is formulated by subtle energy. What steers subtle energy? Consciousness.
Scientists used to believe that concrete reality is constructed of matter. We now know that matter reduces to energy, which is organized as vortices that constantly spin. We are also discovering that thoughts—such as ideas, intentions, and desires—influence these ever-shifting invisible vortices of energy, deciding what is going to appear or disappear in the world.3
Studies have found that the essential nature of subtle energy is interconnectivity. A person’s invisible and inaudible thoughts, moods, or desires can influence what appears in the objective world. I like using the term directed thoughts to describe consciousness—the steering wheel of subtle energy. When we focus on a desired outcome, or even a positive emotion, we’re able to support uplifting change. This point begs the question: How do we create these empowered thoughts?
Well, obsession doesn’t work; neither does punishing ourselves for a slippery thought. And how has repeating an affirmation a million times worked for you? Our higher consciousness can’t be bullied into perfection. Rather, there are two main overarching activities we combine to direct subtle energy and, therefore, pilot physical reality. In a nutshell, we shift reality by blending awareness and attention.
Awareness refers to our perception of a situation. Attention is our ability to select an aspect of our awareness and focus on it. By putting the two activities together, our brain’s neurons will oscillate rhythmically and help create a desirable outcome.4
When clients’ struggles are overwhelming, and they—or we—don’t seem to be making a dent in them, we have to go off-road. It’s not going to work to massage harder or talk louder. We must activate more powerful energies than are available physically. We must call on the subtle realms. To do this, I suggest returning to Frankl’s wisdom. I believe he would advise a bodyworker in this way:
By far, the most effective way to shift subtle energies and, therefore, concrete reality, is to assist a suffering client in uncovering what is most meaningful to them. And then, help them focus on what is meaningful, no matter what.
As already inferred, Frankl was an expert on the meaning of life. He endured four Nazi camps between 1942 and 1945, though his family perished. What did he learn? This brilliant and compassionate psychiatrist concluded that we cannot avoid suffering, even in everyday life. We can, however, choose how to deal with it.
After the camps, Frankl created a psychological treatment called logotherapy, which encapsulated his wisdom. In Greek, the word logos stands for “word,” “reason,” or “plan.” Frankl claimed that the only way to thrive during intense situations is to discover what we find personally meaningful, rather than pleasurable or empowering. This, Frankl asserts, is our primary life purpose.5 In other words, we must become aware of, and attend to, the self that we desire to be.
During one of the thousands of demeaning and callous cruelties inflicted at the hands of the Nazis, one of Frankl’s fellow captives made a touching comment about the captives’ wives. Frankl was struck with a profound realization. He grasped the secret embedded in all human hearts, writings, and activities. There is only one aspect of reality that counts, and that is love. Even when we’re completely desolate, we can always create a moment of bliss by focusing on that which we love. Even when we’re unable to take a single positive action, we can act honorably by directing our thoughts toward that which we love.6 No matter the situation, human life never stops having meaning. Even the most hopeless of situations doesn’t need to detract from our ultimate purpose, which is to embrace—and represent—love.7

Finding Meaning
The more agonizing an event, the more powerless a client might feel, and the more difficult it will be to uncover the meaning in a situation. Meaning is a matter of awareness or perspective. When a client is in pain, whether it is physical, emotional, or spiritual, they might not want to search for meaning. Some people bask in self-pity. Others use suffering to draw attention to themselves. I’ve even met people who become scared when they discover a silver lining in the storm cloud, thinking that the goodness will disappear. But when the cause of a problem originates in abuse, the search for positivity can seem to deny the evil.
As an example of the latter comment, I had a client who had been an insomniac for much of her life. Every day, she struggled to get out of bed, take care of her children, and hold down a job. Her health was deplorable. She was continually ill, stricken with arthritis, and depressed. As we worked together, she confided in me that the symptoms stemmed from being sexually abused by a stepbrother for years. She underwent therapy but it didn’t seem to help. She was at her wit’s end and couldn’t see a reason to keep going, despite the fact that she loved her husband and children. She didn’t think her life would ever improve.
How was I to help this woman? She was closed off, for good reason. To even suggest there was a pearl to pull from the abuse was patronizing. Instead, I asked a simple question: What kept you going?
She sat silently for several minutes, then started crying. “I guess I must have loved myself,” she admitted. “And one day, I hoped I’d have children and make sure that they were never mistreated.”
My client thought her life had been determined by the abuse she had suffered. Certainly, the abuse had encaged her mentally, emotionally, and physically. But it had not been more powerful than the love of self and children that had prompted her to continue living.
As soon as my client realized that her ultimate motive for life—and principle—was love, she began to heal. Slowly. It took several years before the insomnia actually disappeared, and with it, many of her body’s painful symptoms. But gradually, the quality of love that she’d held within her soul transformed her life. The subtle energy of truth—the meaning of her life—that was lodged within, simply needed to be unlocked.

Unlocking Love
How can you help a client embrace the ultimate energy of healing—love? It’s not terribly complicated. Remember, people create what they pay attention to, but they might need help broadening their perspective or awareness so as to find what is meaningful. With this in mind, ponder the following steps:
Affirm a client’s current awareness. There are reasons your struggling client is suffering or stuck. These reasons, though negative, are not illogical. They are real and make sense to that individual.
Create a more expanded awareness. Know that there are also positive factors guiding the client’s life. The most impactful factors will meet two main criteria: they will be meaningful and loving. If a client speaks of these matters, take note. But what if they won’t or can’t? Because of the interconnectivity of subtle energy, simply hold the assumption of these factors in your heart. Your inner knowing will encourage the client to unblock and unlock the love within.
Focus their attention. In any way possible, help your client focus their attention on that which is loving and meaningful in their life. Where do they perceive love? Speak about that which is meaningful to them. Ask, too, if there is a way they can create meaning for others.  
In the end, a client’s most powerful means for change lies within; we might just need to help them notice this, in the most loving way possible.

1. Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning, 3rd ed. (New York: Touchstone, 1984), 116.
2. Ibid.
3. Collective Evolution, Arjun Walia, “Science Proves that Human Consciousness and Our Material World are Intertwined,” March 8, 2014, accessed March 2017,
4. Alternet, Michael S. A. Graziano, “What is Consciousness? Neuroscientist May Have Answer to the Big Question,” November 18, 2015, accessed March 2017,
5. Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning, PDF version, accessed March 2017, 8–13.
6. Ibid., 49.
7. Ibid., 90.

Cyndi Dale is an internationally renowned author, speaker, and intuitive consultant. Her books include the The Little Book of Chakras (Llewellyn Publications, 2017), Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Chakras (Llewellyn Publications, 2016), The Intuition Guidebook: How To Safely and Wisely Use Your Sixth Sense (Deeper Well Publishing, 2011), The Subtle Body: An Encyclopedia of Your Energetic Anatomy (Sounds True, 2009), and The Complete Book of Chakra Healing (Llewellyn Publications, 2009), as well as nearly 20 additional books. To learn more about Dale and her products, services, and classes, please visit