Energy Work: Science or Superstition?

Wildflowers lauraesculcas collageWhen you hear the phrase “energy work,” what comes to mind? For some people, this phrase is about fuels and alternative sources of energy. For others, this means something less tangible like Reiki or energy healing. And to others, it just sounds too “new age” to believe. I have been all of the above at one time or another in my life.

While working on my masters degree, I have had the privilege of studying with some amazing teachers whose also happen to work with energy – people like Dr. Calen Rayne, whose practical methods helped me move from wondering what the heck energy work is to experiencing it for myself…and thus dispelling much of my skepticism. In my coursework, I’ve written a couple of papers touching on this subject, and over the next several blog posts, I plan to share a few of my thoughts on the subject of energy work.

One of the topics I studied recently was Feng Shui – the ancient Chinese art of placement – called the “science of sacred landscape” by E.J. Eitel, who studied it as a Christian missionary in China in the 1800′s. Feng Shui means wind and water, after the elements that best express the way that energy is understood to flow through the material world. In the afterward to E. J. Eitel’s classic book on Feng Shui, which was first published in 1873, John Michell writes that Feng Shui is “the art of perceiving the subtle energies that animate nature and the landscape, and the science of reconciling the best interests of the living earth with those of its inhabitants.” This is a good working definition for the fundamentals of working with energy, whether employing Feng Shui, traditional Chinese medicine, vibrational healing or other energy practices.

For his part, Eitel oscillates between calling Feng Shui a “system of superstition” and a Chinese natural science that preserves “a spirit of sacred reverence for the divine powers of nature.” Likewise, to the outside observer, energy work is a mysterious art that seems to flirt with superstition while dancing with the Divine. Yet at the heart of energy work exist fundamental organizing principles, the understanding of which unlocks the door of energy work for the curious and willing adventurer who possesses an open and compassionate heart.

Ancient Chinese philosophy, sacred geometry and sacred texts are among the many sources offering insights into these organizing principles. The mythology and cosmology of ancient and indigenous peoples is also rich with metaphors describing these principles. And, more recently, the work of scientists like Ervin Laszlo and Hans Andeweg put these principles in scientific terms: Laszlo with his integral theoretical model, and Andeweg with his pragmatic applied scientific practices.

All paths lead us to understand that energy work is about perceiving subtle energies that animate life and compassionately engaging in a reciprocal relationship with the healing power of God. Energy work opens a gateway for the Light to enter. So as I explore energy work here in the coming weeks, I invite you to remain as you are – a skeptic about energy work or not – but I also invite you to be open and curious as I have been about this surprisingly down-to-earth topic.




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