How do You Define It?

August 17, 2009
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Qi is the energy of life in all its forms.

Qi is the energy of life in all its forms.

Millions of people practice this ancient art: a way of life, of stress reduction, of finding contentment and of learning about yourself. Yet it’s all based on a word that most people can’t even define. Of course we shouldn’t let that bother us too much. We live our lives reacting to, chasing, pondering and hoping for all sorts of things we can’t define. You know that. Be honest. Can you really define the love you have for your mate or the hopes of a life that matches your aspirations? Defining things is nice and important but too many people have a superstitious—yes superstitious—belief in definitions. If they don’t have one they feel hollow or insecure.

For instance there is no acceptable definition of Qi as of yet. This does not mean it is “unscientific”. It means quite the opposite. The guy who rushes out and creates a definition with all the currently popular ideas and words such as “bioelectric energy” or “somatic auras”, “biological electrical field” and other guesses is indeed performing a sort of a service but only if the guess is a good one. On the other hand real honesty demands that when you don’t absolutely know something you admit it. The finest minds we have in physics admit that super-string theory, though possible, is not necessarily plausible.

Look, you know you are alive, right? The DNA of a dead person is the same as a living one but there’s a vital something missing. Possibly a soul, definitely life. You know that, and you feel it. Just as we cannot define love, humor, beauty, serenity, truth and a thousand other things that make our life worth living so we have a thing called Qi, the essence of our life energy. Looked at rationally it isn’t a thing at all. It is a combination of factors which were identified three thousand years ago by the Chinese sages. Unlike just about every other culture on the planet the Chinese never developed their own origin myth. They borrowed these from other cultures because, in the truest sense, the Chinese never saw a beginning or end to the universe.

But they recognized its energy, its pulsing life. As you practice Qigong, keep this in mind. A definition of the chemical components of your dinner would be interesting but what helps the most in the actual enjoyment of the food is to relax and experience it. Who knows? if you focus your intention you might develop into a gourmet of life.

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