Here’s what I know. In creational terms, you don’t have a soul, you are a soul. That’s what a human being is — a living soul. And a soul is made up of two things: dust and breath, brought together by God. “And the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into His nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.”
- What is meant by “dust?” The physical stuff, the literal dirt that returns to the dirt when we’re done with it.
- What is meant by “breath?” The immaterial part, the spirit that returns to God who gave it, as Solomon once said.
- And — most crucially — what is meant by “and?” . . .
That’s where we’re going to need to play the mystery card. The spirit and body interact in complex ways that we don’t really understand.
There’s a whole range of very subtle physical processes going on in the body. X-ray tomography shows that acupuncture points are structurally different from other points on the body. An electrical current travels faster down a meridian than between two randomly chosen control points the same distance apart…and slower than nerve conduction speed. There’s something else going on.
There are some very subtle, but actually physical, things going on that we’re just starting to understand. We’re just starting to even have the instrumentation to measure some of these things. So that’s the first thing that we mean by energy work – very subtle physical processes.
With respect to those physical processes, here’s my working hypothesis: just like every person has a skeletal system, a circulatory system, and a nervous system, every person has an energy system (or systems). Part of this is simply not that controversial (see Oschmann, 2nd ed.), but the useful models run far ahead of the science and make claims that, as yet, the science can’t really substantiate. But this stuff seems to work anyhow, so I’m using it.
But for me, subtle physical processes is not all I mean.
As Christians, we’re really good at understanding that the spirit relates to God. So far, so good. But spirit can interact with any other spirit, not just God. The first place our heads typically go with that is to realize that we can interact with demons. Which is true. But what about other people?
We can interact with other humans at a spiritual level. My spirit can touch your spirit. I don’t necessarily need to touch your body to do that.
That’s the second thing I mean by energy work.
And — here’s the fun part — there’s not really a clear boundary between those two things. The spirit and the body interact in complex and hard-to-understand ways. I greatly envy people who have a governing theory for what they do. I don’t have one, having not yet encountered a model that I found persuasive enough to adopt wholesale.
In the meantime, it is my experience that I can achieve effects with my clients by manipulating the energy field that I cannot achieve without doing so. It is my experience that I can do these things while working in concert with God in prayer, giving God thanks. So — guided by Paul — I’m not concerned about meddling with something I shouldn’t. God seems to be blessing it.
Well, it’s cool to hear you have come to a similar way of thinking as myself. I worked at National University of Natural Medicine for 12 years, and encounter just about every mode of energy work. When I would ask students what they thought the energy was. the answers from the majority reflected a New Age/pantheistic/panentheistic outlook, and they were all over the place, and pretty vague. The Christian students tended to disregard energy altogether. A few adopted an Eastern view and ended up with a very confused world view. But I saw the reality of energy work first hand, and eventually came the same view you have.
It is interesting to note most of the old nature cure doctors (naturopaths) were Christians of one stripe or another, or had a Christian world view. They described energy as the vital force (vis vitae), and believed it was something God built into all living things, and that in people it could be helped by things he had provided as part of the creation – water, plants, touch, etc. I embrace this wholeheartedly, though like I acknowledge that it works without understanding how all the time. My feeling is that I don’t have to agree with magical or pagan explanations of a modality in order to see that it works.
Steve, sorry I didn’t reply to this sooner. I’ve been occupied with prepping for, doing, and recovering from a 50-hour intensive, and was kind of letting the blog run on autopilot.
I don’t think I knew you had a deep exposure to natural medicine. Very cool. I’m delighted to hear that I’m not on my own out here on the skinny branches. Love to talk with you about some of your experiences and thoughts on this.