Tag Archives: life force energy

Energy and the Spirit

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Holding space in the background of my work is the belief that “Love is all there is.”  The writings of Paul Tillich underscore this perception and provide depth to its understanding. Tillich was a German-born existential theologian/philosopher who lived in the early-mid 20th century. Bringing a cosmic focus to his understanding of God and salvation, Tillich coined a unique vocabulary to express the nature and essence of God.  He saw God as the power and essence of unconditional love, calling him/her the ground-of-being, ultimate reality, ultimate concern, and being itself. God as infinite and indefinable, but at the same time as manifesting in the tangible as finite reality; in other words, God is in all things, but also above all things. Creation completely embodies God and God completely embodies creation. In this way, no separation is possible, because no separation exists.

According to Tillich, the human condition is estrangement; the belief that we are separate from God, causing us to feel incomplete, broken, and guilty. Tillich went so far to say that the cosmic disease afflicting mankind is this guilt we manifest over being disconnected from God our Source of Being. Because of this, he saw salvation as a healing process, a return to the wholeness that was lost in the process of estrangement. [1]   This includes individual salvation of course, but within the greater scope of cosmic salvation, the saving of all creation.

“When salvation has cosmic significance, healing is not only included in it, but salvation can be described as the act of cosmic healing… Salvation is basically and essentially healing, the re-establishment of a whole that was broken, disrupted, or disintegrated.”[2]

So the return to wholeness, our natural state, is the purpose of salvation.  Healing then is restorative. It reestablishes our connection to the divine on both an individual and cosmic level and reunites us with grace. The return to right relationship with God is also the return to right relationship with our selves.  From a Christian perspective, this is the saving work of Jesus.

Tillich’s perception of God as ground-of-being, and salvation as healing, are important concepts in understanding the spiritual dimension of healing. Seeing the energy of the universe as the power, essence, and love of God means that our embodiment by the Holy Spirit is the flow of the power of God within us. This indwelling of power/energy/Spirit/God as both life force and inner healer opens the door to understanding both how healing occurs in us and through us. It is natural then to see healing as a spiritual activity, a God-mediated process that brings restoration of our inherent wholeness. This brings me back full circle to the spiritual focus of my ministry and work. It is the Spirit that heals.


[1] This is a compilation of Tillich’s ideas that I made after reading transcripts of discussions he had with a professor of religious studies and his students at the University of California in Santa Barbara in the 1960’s. Later published in a book called Ultimate Concern: Tillich in Dialogue with D. Mackenzie Brown. Harper and Row 1965, this dialogue can be accessed online at http://www.religion-online.org/showbook.asp?title=538

[2] Paul Tillich, The Meaning of Health. Edited by Perry Le Fevre. Chicago, IL: Exploration Press, 1984, 17.

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How Energy Heals

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The energy flows of the body were recognized and mapped by the Chinese over 5000 years ago.  The flows travel in prescribed pathways called meridians.  The Chinese word for the energy that flows through the meridians is Chi and is understood as life force energy.  Interestingly, the Chinese character for the word Chi originated from the concept of cloud or vapor and the characteristics of Chi are generally thought of as air, breath of life, and vitality. The Chinese see Chi as the essential life force, the power within us that brings, sustains, and informs life. It is the flow of Chi that brings healing to the body.

Chi and the energy of the Holy Spirit in the Christian tradition share some common attributes across cultures. In the Book of Genesis, the Spirit of God moves across the water bringing life to the formless earth and is breathed into the human creation to give it life. The Hebrew word ruach, which is used to denote Spirit in the Hebrew Bible, translates as wind, breath, mind, or spirit. God is seen as the creator of ruach (Job 27:3). In Hebrew when the word ruach is applied to humankind, it also has a dimension of intelligence, conscience, and will. When the ruach of God is inferred, it denotes God’s own creative power to give life.

Similarly in the New Testament, the Greek word pneuma means breath, movement of air, or wind.  When used in reference to humankind, the connotation is breath of life or life force. This understanding of the Holy Spirit as the wind or breath of God implies a living force that moves through the body, not unlike the wind that moved across the face of the earth at creation.  In each case, movement is a key concept. The energy of the Spirit flows through the body bringing life, just as the breath of God moved across the earth bringing life in Genesis 1:1. Seeing the Holy Spirit as bearer of life force energy connects it with the Chinese understanding of Chi. God as Spirit, as wind, as breath is also Chi. Primordial Chi is the energy of the Holy Spirit as creation life force an, while Substantial Chi is Holy Spirit energy as living life force within the body. In either terminology, it is that flow of Life Force Energy through the body that heals, sustains, enlivens, and brings wholeness. So is it the flow of the Holy Spirit’s energy  (Chi) moving through Jesus that brings about the healing of the sick and performs miracles?