Recapitulation, A Healing Technique for Recovering Energy

by jai cross


As energetic beings, we constantly interact with our environment both consciously and unconsciously. Whenever we are unaware of our choices or the motivations underlying those choices, we run the risk of losing some of our vitality. It may occur as a one-time giving away or a fixed pattern that steadily bleeds off energy.

Modern life is stress-filled in large part because we do not know how to accumulate, maintain, and exchange energy in supportive ways. Our unthinking and unconscious behaviors cause us to relinquish our personal power or to entangle our energetic fields. Such actions obscure our purpose, dilute our sense of self, and drain us of life force.

Oddly enough, many of our energetic entanglements arise from relationships with loved ones, primarily immediate family members and significant others. When recalling their upbringings or past loves, most people feel pangs triggered by unrequited aspects, recognize places in those relationships where they did not act out of their own integrity, and realize that elements of guilt or blaming perpetuate a sense of suffering.

The specific events may have occurred in the distant past, but they are still amenable to sorting out the energy in a healthier balanced way. In effect, we can redo our relation to the past so that it does not limit us; we can heal old wounds and traumas.

The technique of recapitulation allows the reclamation of personal energy that has become entangled or stuck due to unconscious actions and feelings. I first encountered it in the books of Carlos Castaneda, and it is a mainstay of Toltec practice as popularized by Don Miguel Ruiz and others. Many versions exist, and I am presenting the technique that I use most commonly because it is so effective.

Recapitulation concentrates on a single incident, in which energy was given away, typically a one-on-one interaction. A primary requirement is that the emotional components of that particular episode have already been worked through. This is of fundamental importance because the technique requires maintaining a neutral perspective that would be lost if the practitioner is still triggered by reliving the specific circumstances.

As an example, let’s imagine that you had a bitter argument with a family member or a co-worker that degenerated into both of you spewing hurtful words at each other. Even after cooling down and making apologies, you still feel that something is incomplete, something remains unsettled. It could be that your energy has become entangled with theirs and needs to be recapitulated.


Determine where you want to invest the energy that will be reclaimed from the past, possibly in an area related to the event that you have chosen. In the above example, you might decide to cultivate stronger energetic boundaries or to listen more closely to difficult people before reacting.

To perform recapitulation, find a secluded place where you won’t be disturbed for 15–20 minutes. Take several deep breaths, releasing any tensions or anxieties that you may be carrying. Become calm and fully present within your body. Enjoy these moments of stillness as you sink into a nurturing space of relaxation.

Replay the scene that you wish to recapitulate as if you were watching a movie. Reconstruct as many details as you can recall without analyzing or judging. Simply observe from a place of emotional detachment. If you become agitated or feel other strong emotions arise, stop because you are not ready to recapitulate this event. Proceeding further will only create more confusion since you will not be able to hold the required neutrality.

Once the review has finished, visualize yourself seated across from the other person. Breathe your energy back into your body on the inhale, and release any of their energy that you have absorbed on the exhale. I often imagine the tangled energy as golden strands between us that have become knotted. The breath work and its associated imagery loosens the energetic tangle and consciously guides the flow of energy to its rightful owner. This undoing allows us to reclaim our own personal power and to move past the disturbing incident cleanly.

If you feel any negative or unwanted energy entering your body, send it into the earth to be regenerated. Once you have directed all of the available energy back to its owner, break the connection to the other person by making three short audible exhalations. Then deliberately beam the recovered energy into the area that you had previously chosen.

It is helpful to start with minor events to master the technique before using it on major life issues. With practice, recapitulation can be developed into a powerful tool of self-healing, but it does not eliminate the need for direct communication with others, especially concerning misunderstandings and abuses of power.

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