Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Meaning of Qi

Qi has many different meanings, in the Chinese language it is one of the most multi-dimensional words and concepts. The mystery of Qi is intriguing to those in the East, associated with desire and the "ultimate" in life. This is controversial in the West, as everything needs to be scientifically explained and dissected in order to exist, thus it is almost impossible to embrace the idea of the meaning of Qi.

The original Chinese explanation for Qi is that it represents life in the analogy of vapor, or steam, that rises from warm rice. This indicates the relationship between heaven and earth, which can also be interpreted as an interaction between yin (rice/grain) and yang (vapor/steam).

Roger Jahnke spent most of his life studying Tai Chi, Qigong, Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. He taught the formalities in juncture as one of his many passions in hospitals, churches, and communities. Qi remains a mystery to him. Jahnke would have 25-35 students and be asked," What is Qi?" more than 100 times, every time the answer was different. For example, "an artist will call Qi inspiration, an athlete will call qi the capacity to reach beyond usual limits, a chemist will call Qi the energy inherent in a chemical reaction or the gases that arise as byproducts of chemical interactions. Physicians refer to Qi as the forces that both sustain organ function and are produced by the organs and glands. Physicists will tell you that Qi is the pervasive force behind all interactions in the universe from electrons and the subatomic domain to the galaxies and black holes. Philosophers declare that Qi is the essence of everything, from ideas and emotions to relationships and the field of consciousness."

As you can infer an amazing, spiritual, all encompassing "essence" that is completely unlimited. The world has become mystified by how far reaching the concept can be. For myself, I believe Qi is all energy, kinetic and potential, to be able to work with the Qi and to flow with it, not against it, brings harmony and balance to one's life, thus ultimate health and wellbeing.

Lauren Holbrook, LMT

Qi (Chi) in the Light of Ancient Daoist Science and Medicine
By Roger Jahnke
The Empty Vessel: A Journal of Contemporary  Taoism, Fall 2001

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