Analogies between human experience and scientific thought may have limited practicality. I remember seeing a colloquium years ago where Fritjof Capra expounded loftily on the Tao of Physics citing the close correlation between Taoism, Hinduism and the cutting edge physics of the time. At the conclusion of the monologue a fellow panel member sitting next to Capra was asked about his reaction to the whole thing. This Indian gentleman happened to be not only a physicist but a Hindu. He smiled a little and answered “I don’t know, with such a close correlation I wonder if when we discover something different in physics will we have to change our religion?” There followed a moment when the universe seemed to be deflating rather than expanding.
And yet it might not be wrong to suggest that our ancestors standing on the edge of a canyon like Chaco, Grand or X might have gazed outward and seen a sky filled with a fuller perspective than the person who gets the big telescope only scheduled two hours a week to concentrate on the celestial equivalent of a damned spot.
So it is indeed possible that a belief such as Qigong, which might have had a history as long as Christianity before Christianity started, could have evolved a structure which correlates to our present explanation of the universe. Consider these possibilities, each a framework from our physics, yet regarded from our human standpoint …
The Materialist: We are dust among dust.
We exist on our planet in the “average” relationship to the center of the universe, in an undistinguished placement in our galaxy, in the comfort zone of whirling around a star which formerly we supposed wheeled around us. Still got ego?
The Anthropomorhpic: We are the center of everything.
On the other hand every other galaxy is simultaneously zooming away from us at a fantastic speed placing us at the center of a universal explosion which, in astrological terms, we are. So your mother was right, actually, you are the center of creation.
The Quantumist: What appears, disappears on scrutiny.
The table I’m writing on is foam, the house it sits on is foam, the walls are foam in a foamy, sudsy world. And that’s if I am modern and educated. If I think that there really are “things” I’m afraid I can only call myself too mystical for my own tastes. The evidence contradicts uninformed intuition.
The Indeterminate: Intent is everything.
Is particle “A” particular about its location? It doesn’t seem so since locations, like beauty, lie in the eye of the beholder. The very act of intention, the spine of Qigong, seems to be much more intimate in relation to the universe than we had believed for the last 300 or so years. However that doesn’t mean that “wishful thinking is all it takes”; Qigong has always promoted the idea that intent must be trained and refined. Observation is its handmaiden.
The Relativist: Relativity means its opposite.
The genius of relativity is firmly planted in that which is not relative. Whether it is the speed of a frantic photon or the unmovable center of our own original selves, we learn that the universe of qi and intent is actually much less flimsy than it might seem. The inward turning of our attention leads not to mystifying, muddle-headed fantasy but to an area illuminated with a new skepticism albeit one with its own set of rules and questions.
Or: Space and Time are a ghostly two-headed dog.
Space and time, as masters have taught for centuries, are one: a terrier with twin heads barking down Eternity’s corridor. Space is not fixed. Time theoretically could go in either direction or not even go at all. The movement of the mind is uppermost. The question is not does qi exist but does anything else?