Growing up in Boulder has given me a soft spot for the New Age movement. I have a professional astrology practice, have practiced meditation and yoga, am into animal totems, chill out with tarot readers and believe the Mayans were unparalleled in figuring out their great calendar. I like chakra maps, crystals, rolfers and the color violet. Yet there are times I must draw the line– and I have found through experience that healing energy work is where I draw the line every time.
1. All those other wonderful “New Age” things I mentioned are actually quite old age with strong lineages behind them. They back up their seemingly unscientific claims with centuries of collected human experience, which is the essence of subjective types of science. These fields are describing things which are too broad and complex to fit in a lab, but are still part of human experience. The oldest energy work I know about is reiki, a Johnny-come-lately invented in 1922.
2. At its best, I have found energy work can be like a band-aid that makes you feel better temporarily, but that it is incapable of actually solving your problems for you. It may make you feel good for a minute, but like a drug, the effects wear off. Then, there you are with the same old problems.
3. Energy work at its worst can leave you feeling ungrounded. I had a friend who was part of a group based out of California that focused on craniosacral work, and was one of at least a handful of reported cases in which a psychotic state requiring hospitalization was achieved instead of any “healing.” This is an extreme example, but I have seen it first hand. This is why I would never recommend anything having to do with craniosacral work to a friend.
4. What qualifications do most energy healers possess? If they are going to be messing with my subtle channels and auras and so on, they better have an MD of energy in my book! Those channels and chakras are very real, and can sustain damage just like the physical body. In Tibet these are known as lung and are known to become unbalanced at times, causing major problems for practitioners. “Zen sickness” is well known in Asia, where some kinds of meditation practices cause too much energy to flow into the head. Luckily, those two ancient systems both have ways to deal with those things if you follow their paths.
5. It seems too easy and too good to be true. If something sounds too good to be true, guess what? Here I take a cue from Master Yoda who aptly noted that the dark way is more seductive and easy. It promises great results without the hard work of jumping through swamps, lifting up spaceships with your mind and going down into those dark holes in the forest filled with snakes and Vaders that really are you and so on. Real spiritual progress takes time and hard work. Anyone who says otherwise is selling something. Healing takes hard work as well, and cannot be bought in a package.
Healing for many is a life long journey to uncover all the copious traumas inflicted by society and also healing the patterns that cause us to harm others. It is a deep and important work for everyone, and to follow your own body’s natural way of healing is always going to help more than someone with a little too big a smile on their face adjusting your aura.
Humans can effect each other energetically– I’ve experienced hands off healing in the presence of a few rare great Buddhist masters. But it’s a completely different feeling than something you pay for, from someone you don’t even know who has a degree from the two week school of Awesomeaura Inc. So be warned, and be careful! Love your body and tune into your subtle body, which you can heal naturally if you just pay attention to it.
“The key is to be in a state of permanent connectedness with your inner body – to feel it at all times. This will rapidly deepen and transform your life.”
Edited by Kate Bartolotta.
Anni Padma is a non-superstitious astrologer who is based in Boulder. She has been studying the zodiac archetypes for over ten years now and has learned from experience how the signs express in people. As a life-long Buddhist, who is grateful to Theravada, Zen and Vajrayana traditions, she likes to use meditative insight to unravel astrology. She lived in Seoul, South Korea for three years teaching English and writing and editing articles for the Korea Times, which is ironic as she can’t spell to save her life. Somehow it has worked out alright, thanks to spell check. Her sun is in Gemini and moon is in Pisces. Check out her website.