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By Lisa Browdy
In modern life, most of us don't spend a lot of time thinking about our soul, or even how to define it. Oak Parker Linda Howe has spent her career teaching and writing about ways to help people have a conscious relationship with their souls using the Akashic Records. Wait, don't click away just yet, it's not as bizarre as it sounds.
Named from the Sanskrit word akasha, which means both "sky," and "primal source," the Akashic Records are believed to contain knowledge of all human experience as a whole and each individual soul. It is a similar concept to the "Book of Life" in the Judeo-Christian tradition.
Rather than thinking of your soul just as the thing that endures after you die, Linda considers it "the innermost part of you that is aware of itself as Divine in nature." She has gained international recognition for her groundbreaking work as an author and teacher. At her Center for Akashic Studies, Linda has written two books and taught thousands of therapists, academics, teachers, artists, and healers to use the Akashic Records to get in touch with their true purpose and to develop consciousness in their lives.
One of these students was David Riddle, owner of the Chi Balancing Center (which recently relocated from Forest Park to River Forest). David says that he has been able to adapt this method, which is usually done through the spoken word, to connect to his clients' energy body through his hands.
I recently wrote about Reiki, a practice of energy healing that uses a gentle manual technique to balance and direct the flow of Chi (or Qi) past any blockages that are hurting the body. David takes the general life energy of Reiki, adding the Akashic records as a "source of insight" to tune in to the client's unique blueprint.
"I had been practicing Reiki, but feeling that something was missing," David explained. "It was as if there was information just out of reach that could deepen the work I was doing." After studying with Linda, he was able to access the energy that is unique to each client, which David believes makes for a more effective healing session than when he used Reiki alone.
His combination of Akashic reading with Reiki is a creation of his own, which he calls Akashic Energywork (SM). It was inspired, though not necessarily sanctioned, by Linda Howe's teachings. According to David, Reiki uses a universal, non-specific life force energy to help the body's ability to heal itself. "What makes Akashic Energywork different is that it uses "specific" life force energy unique to that individual," he says. "This rebalancing then resonates deeper with the energetic body since it is the energetic body's own pulse."
David invited me to experience his unique form of healing in his serene space in The Art of Natural Healing on Lake Street in River Forest. His session differed from the Reiki I had previously experienced in two main ways: Before he began treatment, he invited me to talk with him about the particular concerns that I was dealing with at the time. Since I was very wrapped up in the problems of one particular family member, he suggested that he perform a "de-cording," loosening the bonds that tied my energy to that person's (I would imagine this technique would also come in handy during a painful break-up).
The next unique feature was a simple prayer that he recited, inviting the "Masters, Teachers and Loved Ones" to open the Akashic Records. David told me that this ritual opens him to "a deeper place," a somewhat meditative state that guides him as he gently places his hands on the client's energy centers to guide it to pathways out of the body that will cleanse and rebalance it.
Though I wasn't given any great insight from the Records, David said it helps him with his work. "Before I could access the Records, I could just feel on the fringes that something wanted to come through," he explains. "Now I can tune in specifically to each person." For example, he asked if I had had a bad headache recently (which I had, a rare occurrence for me). He could feel some disturbances in my crown chakra, because opening the Records increased his empathetic senses.
Though as safe as Reiki, Akashic sessions do take a little more energy from the practitioner and the client. "After the session, it would be best to take the rest of the day to incorporate the energy," he suggested. "Most clients become very relaxed afterwards and don't feel like doing major tasks."
When he first started developing Akashic Energywork, David felt rather drained after doing only one session. Now he can do up to five a day. He finds that the strong connection is easier to let go of at the end of the session, when he recites another short prayer for the Records to close.
David became interested in healing during the late '90s when he found himself becoming stifled and stressed from his career working as a market analyst in the Chicago Board Options Exchange. By chance he attended a healing circle, and experienced so much peace and clarity that he completely changed his life. He eventually let his job and first marriage go and went to work at a metaphysical bookshop (Healing Earth Resources, now closed) in Lincoln Park. He inhaled as many books and classes as he could in his desire to bring clarity and healing to others, trained as a Reiki Master, and in 2002 he married massage therapist Lee Conte, who practices Reiki with him.
Linda Howe had her spiritual awakening in a similar fashion a few years earlier than David, in 1994, when she looked around at her beautiful home and corporate job and felt entirely empty. She took it upon herself to study dozens of religious and spiritual traditions, and eventually became a guide to others. I mentioned to her that I found it interesting that the Oak Park area was such a fertile ground for these two innovative spiritual healers and thinkers – one would expect it of California or the Far East, but quiet, suburban Oak Park?
"I believe that Oak Park is a very grounded place," Linda explained. "We have the sense of progressive possibility here, with enough stability to provide the creative unfolding."