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Aaron
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PostSubject: Spiritual Energy   Fri Nov 14, 2008 11:03 am

My wife recently went with a friend to a guided meditation class. The way she described the class it sounded very "new agey" to me (not that that's a bad thing). For instance the instructor used incense to ward off evil spirits and burned a special stick (as my wife described it) to "cleanse" the room. Then my wife said the instructor put this huge bell over her head and rang it to bring in "positive energy".

I know that energy is an integral part of a number of spiritual practices like tai chi and yoga, but I don't know that I've ever fully bought into the notion of "spiritual energy".

I'm interested in what some of your thoughts might be on the subject?

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Gnomon
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PostSubject: Re: Spiritual Energy   Fri Nov 14, 2008 1:47 pm

Aaron wrote:

I know that energy is an integral part of a number of spiritual practices like tai chi and yoga, but I don't know that I've ever fully bought into the notion of "spiritual energy".

"Spiritual Energy" is an ancient concept derived from a dualistic worldview : Body & Soul. Invisible forces that animated or activated mere matter were labeled with cool metaphorical terms based on ordinary physical experience: Spirit, Soul, Life, Chi, Prana = breath of life. Back in the day, all energy was spiritual.
.
Pragmatic Modern Science though has developed a completely materialistic definition of energy : Body & Force Fields. We now know that the world is full of mundane things that are not directly detectable by our senses: Gravity, Germs, etc. So it was easy to draw the inductive (whole from part) conclusion that reality is "material" all the way down; where energy is just another form of matter.

However, 21st century science is beginning to acknowledge that some of the stuff we used to consider physical is actually mental. By that I mean, information about matter, rather than matter itself : ratios, relationships, fields, etc. Therefore I have concluded that much of what used to be called Spirit or Chi is actually "physical" Energy. And much of what we now call Energy or Force is actually ordinary Information. Hence, Matter is simply a form of Energy, and energy is merely a form of Mind. Yet mental information patterns are still a normal part of Nature, even though they are technically Metaphysical rather than Physical.

So I think the ancients, with their dualistic worldview, and the moderns with their monistic science, were doing the best they could to interpret the limited information available at the time. Soul, Life-force, Chi is the same thing as Energy, Force-field, Curved-space.

Waving magic sticks and wafting incense will have no effect on the physical forms of information. But it can have a strong influence on the metaphysical aspects of reality: the human mind. What we believe is what is "real", in a mental, metaphysical sense. As the song goes, "what a fool believes, he sees". And faith is one of the strongest forces of Human Nature, for both fools and wise-men.

The physical exercises of Yoga may directly benefit the Body, while the metaphysical exercises of meditation may benefit the Mind. So, I don't concern myself too much with the various outward forms, because ultimately it's all the same thing. But, to be honest, incense doesn't do anything positive for my body or mind, because I'm allergic to perfumes---and magic sticks were never a part of my traditional belief system..
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Helium



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PostSubject: Re: Spiritual Energy   Fri Nov 14, 2008 8:33 pm

Quote :
the instructor used incense to ward off evil spirits

I would never make it past that step.

Too much like t.v. evangelists warding off the Devil.
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Uriah



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PostSubject: Re: Spiritual Energy   Fri Nov 14, 2008 10:42 pm

Helium wrote:
Quote :
the instructor used incense to ward off evil spirits

I would never make it past that step.

Too much like t.v. evangelists warding off the Devil.

Me neither.
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