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 by mentally surrounding the person with positive energy.

They encourage those requesting these “hugs” to send a description of themselves or whoever/whatever they want infused with this loving energy, such as a sibling, spouse, dog or cat.

Reiki enthusiasts also believe they can send “healing energies” to others from a distance. As this site claims, “According to quantum mechanics, even having a thought about an object effects the nature of that object. So, at a very basic level of physics, we are affecting our environment with our thoughts and feelings. Therefore, our thoughts and feelings can be used to send healing energy.”

The sender need only use their imagination or thoughts to put themselves into a positive mental state, and then transmit that positive “energy” through the imagination by envisioning another person receiving it.

Of course, there is no evidence that a person’s thoughts can effect the nature of anything. This is a classic example of the Law of Attraction, a New Age theory that the mind has the power to change reality and that we attract what we think about.

This leads us to the biggest problem with the whole idea of “energy hugs” – its premise – which is a putative form of energy whose existence science has never been able to substantiate. And we’ve been looking for it since the time of Sir Isaac Newton. The fact is, there is no such energy, which means all of those New Age “energy workers” who claim to be manipulating a person’s chi or vital force, or sending “energy hugs” are actually doing nothing more than manipulating the thin air.  One cannot “manipulate” something that doesn’t exist. And if it did exist, it would have to be measurable at least to some degree. Putative energy fails all of these tests which means there’s no such thing as an “energy hug” without the energy.

On the other hand, the Christian version of an “energy hug” has nothing to do with sending “energy”, but is about interceding for someone before God. It is His power that we request for the benefit of the recipient, and it is always His choice as to when and how He will respond.

As for what commandments might be broken by embracing the idea of “energy hugs,” 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.

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