Why I No Longer Teach or Work With Life Energy As A Christian Trauma Recovery Coach

Why I no longer teach or work with “Life Force Energy” 

What is Life Energy?

Cultures all over the world have identified a mysterious, spontaneous force that is sometimes called “divine”. They will call this Chi, Prana, Mana, Vital Energy or Life Force - among other names. I have even seen this called the Kundalini. 

The idea in the New Age and alternative healing spaces is that this force can be channeled or used to bring healing and that this force is present in human bodies and that aligning with this force of life can bring healing to the body. And this idea of a force of life present in all things also is closely related to the divine being in and part of all things including humans.

In the somatic healing world, the concept of life energy represents the personal power/vitality of a person and the energy of life that is in the world/universe, patterns of nature and the spontaneous force of healing and life in all things and beings.

This is in keeping with general New Age beliefs that draw from occultic, spiritualist, and New Thought  belief systems that swept North America sometime around the 1970s. These are beliefs I used to ascribe to and have walked away from since meeting Jesus. 

Somatic Experiencing & Life Energy

Somatic Experiencing is a trauma recovery modality founded by Dr. Peter Levine. Levine realized that animals in the wild do not become traumatized as frequently as humans do and began to study their nervous system responses to threat. 

What he discovered was that human beings have similar nervous systems to animals. However - because we have rational, logical minds - we will actually suppress the body’s natural responses to trauma/shock because they are scary, powerful or our environment doesn’t accept these responses.

Dr Levine is truly a pioneer in the field of trauma as it relates to working with the nervous system specific area of sensation and how the nervous system being a sensory part of the body becomes highly impacted and wounded by the traumas of life.

However - Dr Levine has brought in views about spirituality and energy that are contradictory to what Scripture teaches us and also have no basis of scientific proof. One of these is the idea of Life Energy which he has adapted and used for his modality of trauma recovery.

Life Energy in Somatic Experiencing

Specifically in Somatic Experiencing, Dr Levine's modality - the trauma healing modality that I have received training in  (and had to walk away from this year)  the life force is thought of as:

- A force of expression

- The source of personal power in a person

- A spontaneous force of life in all humans/nature and life itself that moves them toward what is good

- A force that can be leveraged and worked with for healing in the body

- A force that can be stifled and repressed by trauma 

- A powerful force that can be intimidating to others who have repressed their own life energy

There is another teaching in Somatic Experiencing that involves a “field” of energy. This field can be either coherent (organized) or incoherent (disorganized) and this is felt from a few feet away from a person.  In SE touch work, this field is accessed through touch in addition to some other ways. Through the practitioners’ intention and using their touch - people receive healing and their nervous system is thought to become more organized/coherent.

Is the Christian Worldview Compatible with Life Force Energy?
In the Christian/Biblical Worldview, there is no such thing as life energy.

Some Christians have tried to incorporate life energy, prana, chi, mana or vital energy into the Christian worldview as the “breath of God” or even the Holy Spirit.

The problem with this is that Scripture teaches us that the Spirit of God is Holy - that means it is set apart. It is not a mysterious force present in all things that can be used for healing. The Spirit of God operates in a specific way and we are instructed on how His Spirit operates in Scripture.

I do believe there is a force being channeled under the  name life force  - but it is not the Holy Spirit of God rather it is a demonic power that sets itself up against God. The deception is that this force is a force for good, when it brings with it a force of evil that leaves the soul in more bondage.

In the Word of God we learn that there is God who is true, good and righteous and holy. The Spirit of God moved upon the waters at the beginning and began the process of creating the heavens and the earth.

The Spirit of God testifies of Jesus Christ as the true and living God (John 15:26), and leads humans to repentance and submission to Jesus Christ and His Word.

The Spirit of God does heal, and it is very powerful - however this power of God is accessed through humility, crying out to the Lord, receiving salvation by way of the blood of Jesus and  walking with Him and obeying His Word. 

As believers we walk in the Spirit, we receive and operate in gifts of the Spirit, and we are led by the Spirit and we bear the fruit of the Spirit. 

Now the Word of God also teaches us about Satan.  Satan is discussed in Scripture as a deceiver - in fact He is the deceiver of the whole world (Revelation 12:9) who comes only to steal, kill and destroy. We know from Scripture that Satan has some power - this power is allowed by God and is not equal to or greater than the power of Christ. And this power is also limited by God.

Throughout Scripture this satanic power is used to attempt to rise up against God, or compete with God. As such, this power is always defeated by God and by God’s people.  

Examples of magic arts, and demonic powers in Scripture
Some examples of this would be the Egyptian magicians Jannes And Jambres who opposed Moses and created similar miracles to Moses using their “mystery wisdom” which was Satanic wisdom. They duplicated three signs using their satanic powers: 

-Turning the staff into a snake (their snake was swallowed by Moses’) 
-Turning the Nile into Blood
-And Producing Frogs

However the other plagues such as lice, flies, livestock pestilence, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, and the killing of firstborn children were no match for them.

And they even declared the supremacy of the God of Israel after failing to produce gnats:  The magicians tried by their secret arts to produce gnats, but they could not. So there were gnats on man and beast.  Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” (Exodus 8:19)

Daniel Interpreting Nebuchadnezzars dream using God's Power
Another example would be the magicians and enchanters in the book of Daniel who were unable to tell Nebuchadnezzars dream to him or interpret it for him. However Daniel under the power of God was able to tell Nebuchadnezzar the exact dream he had as well as the interpretation. This led Nebuchadnezzar to realize the power of the God of Judah.

Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face and paid homage to Daniel, and commanded that an offering and incense be offered up to him.  The king answered and said to Daniel, “Truly, your God is God of gods and Lord of kings, and a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this mystery.” 
Daniel 2:46 - 47

A  New Testament example would be Paul casting out the Spirit of Divination from the slave woman in the Book of Acts
As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and us, crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.”  And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour. 
Acts 16:16-18

And a second New Testament example would be Simon the Sorceror in Acts Chapter 8. 

Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great,  and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, “This man is rightly called the Great Power of God.”  They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his sorcery.  But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.

 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria.  When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit,  because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money  and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” 

 Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money!  You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God.  Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”

Then Simon answered, “Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me.”
Acts 8:9-25


And - of course we know that Jesus Christ through His life, death and resurrection defeated Satan and that through Christ - we have power over sin, the world and the devil because the Holy Spirit is within us. 

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, 18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. 19 Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this. 

Revelation 1:17-18

God's Ultimate Control vs Life Energy

It is true that all things are held together by the Word of God’s power. Everyone alive is alive by the grace and mercy of God.  But what this means is that God is sovereign and in control of everything. It does not mean there is a mysterious life force energy inside humans - or that life force energy in humans is divine and can be used to heal from trauma.

Humans have souls. But the soul is not a magical force for healing. In fact, our souls need to receive healing from Jesus Christ who is the Lord through the precious blood of Jesus Christ.

Further, there is no life force in creation - creation is made by God and reveals God’s Divine Nature and eternal power because of its beauty (Romans 1:20)

God breathed life into Adam and as a result we know that it is Him who sustains all of us humans by the Word of His Power. 

Ideas such as vital energy, life energy, chi, prana are right to recognize that there is a creative power that created and sustains the universe, but they fail to recognize the all powerful God and instead believe that this is an impersonal force of healing and often will translate this force to being within them or the God/divinity within them.  

This is a falsehood that keeps people from being able to see the power of God and leads people to worship creation rather than the One True God - Jesus Christ.

Somatic Experiencing & Physical Energy  

SE takes the physical energy of the nervous system such as the adrenaline produced in moments of stress - and the impact of stress & trauma on the brain and body and spiritualizes these things through the concept of Life-energy.

This is a huge reason I had to walk away from practicing somatic experiencing.

There is a real physical impact of trauma on the brain and body. Trauma does upset the stress system, it does kill neurons, it does create downstream impact on health and Dr Peter Levine has done some groundbreaking work when it comes to his years of studying and working with the nervous system.

However - this is a physical discussion and there is a way to work with the nervous system at the purely physical level without bringing in New Age ideas of spirituality that invite spiritual power which is not of God or through God.

Properly Classifying Traumatic Response Without the Idea of Life Energy

Earlier, I talked about how Somatic Experiencing sees life force energy as:

- A force of expression

- The source of personal power in a person

- A spontaneous force of life in all humans that moves them toward what is good

- A force that can be leveraged and worked with for healing in the body

- A force that can be stifled and repressed by trauma 

- A powerful force that can be intimidating to others who have repressed their own life energy

I want to talk about what happens in trauma that can be explained through the physical nature of the nervous system rather than through the lens of life force energy. 

What I believe is happening here is that SE is taking naturally occurring phenomena in the body and describing it using New Age terms which brings in spiritual confusion.  This happens often in the field of trauma healing because there is a need to ground the recovery process in a worldview that accounts for more than the physical.

It is true that trauma impacts a person’s ability to express themselves because they have experienced a disorganization of their stress responses.

It is true that learning how to express oneself and feel the feelings of anger, sadness or overwhelm that are associated with trauma is a challenging process that does feel extremely intense because it involves the sensations of stress and adrenaline that have been. But this has nothing to do with the universal vital energy or life force energy.

SE tries to use the term life energy to describe the amount of physical energy that the body generates during traumatic events as well as in recovery from traumatic events.

But this is not life energy - this is simply how the body is designed by God. However, what can happen is that if the idea of life energy is brought in then we can start partnering with nefarious spiritual stuff without realizing it and this is not what any of us want as believers in Jesus. 

We can use neuroplastic tools and even research about the nervous system and how it is impacted by trauma without bringing on and adapting ideas about life force energy. It is true that the adrenaline and stress system creates very intense responses of trauma and these responses get stuck within the body and create downstream impacts. This is supported by much research and study including the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study.

When we look at it this way - we are not accessing a divine force - what we are doing is learning about the body, and how it works within the natural laws of reality that have been given to us by God under common grace.

I used to deeply believe in life force energy because I subscribed to this view of the Divine that is not a personal God but a pattern or force of energy. This life force aligned perfectly with my love for the Chinese I Ching and the other spiritual systems I used at the time like Gene Keys and Human Design.

However, sometime after my salvation I began to realize by the grace of God that this idea of life energy was not from God and not reflected in Scripture and was part of a spiritual deception that has snuck its way into the trauma healing world.

We can address the biological, physiological and nervous system impact of trauma without bringing on the spirituality of New Age belief systems that contradict the Word of God and pollute the faith.

PS - Inside the Faithful Institute, you will learn how to work with trauma from a physical perspective as you learn the skills of nervous system tracking and how to support your clients to regulate their nervous system.  You will gain practice and competence in using and applying neuroscience without worrying about New Age ideas or spirituality that hurts your faith. and you will learn how to support your clients in your coaching at more than just the mental level through neuroplastic tools.  

Apply for the Institute here: https://form.typeform.com/to/gXodM3Nq 


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