Blog Post

Sending New Age Energy Hugs

JA writes: "I am wondering what 'send energy' is?  I recently offered to pray for a friend and she requested that I 'send positive energy.'  What does that mean?  If this is new age lingo, what commandment is it breaking?"

Although your friend may have been simply using a figure of speech, many people who believe in this putative form of energy known as chi, qi, prana, vital force, etc. think these invisible rays can be sent to people at a distance. And not just as a "nice thought" - they mean actually sending them energy.

For example, this organization offers "free virtual cyber hugs" to those in need.

"We’ll mentally surround you with a warm positive loving energy to lift your spirits," the site says.

They go on to encourage the person requesting the hug to be sure to send a description of themselves or whoever/whatever they want infused with this loving energy, such as a sibling, spouse, dog or cat.

"That will help those that send out the energy to get a mental picture of where their energy and prayers are being directed."

Superconscious gets a bit more technical. Even though this blogger includes saying a prayer as a way of sending energy, further reading reveals a much more New Age concept that involves visualizing the sending of energy into a particular spot on a person's body and how to break through if the person is "blocking" the energy.

"Pushing too hard loses rapport," the blogger states. "Receptivity to your energy is also important."

Christian prayer has nothing to do with sending "energy", but is about interceding for someone before God. It is His power that we request, not our own, and it is always His choice as to when and how to respond.

Of course, the biggest problem with this whole concept is its premise - a putative form of energy whose existence science has never been able to verify. This is a serious problem seeing as most people who refer to this energy do so in ways that suggest some kind of manipulation - such as "balancing" or "using" it to heal. It goes without saying that in order to manipulate something, it has to be at least measurable to some extent. You can't "manipulate" nothing. If it's there and it can be manipulated, then it should be able to be measured.

Putative energy fails all of these tests, and has done so since the time of Sir Isaac Newton, which is how long scientists have been searching for this elusive force.

As for what commandments might be broken by embracing these ideas, belief in New Age energy could constitute belief in a "god" other than Jesus Christ. In the document, Jesus Christ, the Bearer of the Water of Life, the Pontifical Councils explain that “’The New Age concept of God is rather diffuse . . . . The New Age god is an impersonal energy . . . ‘god’ in this sense is the life-force or soul of the world. Divinity is to be found in every being,” from the lowest crystal up to and beyond God Himself. This is very different from the Christian understanding of God as the maker of heaven and earth and the source of all personal life,” the document says.

“God is in himself, personal, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who created the universe in order to share the communion, of his life with creaturely persons.”

Father Gareth Leyshon, a Cardiff trained astro-physicist and expert on the New Age, explains that if a practitioner of some kind of energy medicine claims to manipulate or depend upon any kind of unintelligent "spiritual energies" this is technically called the sin of sorcery (CCC 2117) and is forbidden, even in the case of so-called "healing therapies."

However, I would not rush to judgment on your friend just for asking you to send her "positive energy". Until she explains herself a little better, I would stick to sending her something that works - like real prayer.