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Home > Newsletters > April 2005 >

Qi Soup for the TCM Soul

So I'm sitting around late one night and it occurs to me that some of you reading this forum may still be wondering exactly what this funny foreign concept, "Qi" really means...

Of course I already know you can easily go to Amazon.com or some search engine and find dozens, possibly hundreds of books and other references for Qi (Chi) and Qi Gong (Chi Kung or qigong), but you're here now, so what can I tell you that you are unlikely to find in some book or video...

Hmm...

How about we start with some random ideas

For example...

I love the fact that the Chinese character for Qi is a pictograph of steam floating up from hot rice -- for some reason this always makes me feel like dancing...

Did you know that in Chinese Medicine there are at LEAST 46 distinct types of Qi associated with human beings?

Qi is most commonly translated into English as "energy" but it could just as easily be translated as " Vitality" or "aliveness."

Gong is commonly translated as "cultivation" or "development" and also implies benefits achieved through persistent work.

Qi is actually a part of a triad of concepts/experiences described as the "Three Treasures" - the other two treasures are called Shen (most commonly translated as "Spirit" or "awareness"), and Jing (most commonly translated as "essence" - in particular the essence of physical structure).

Over thirty years ago when I first began studying this stuff, I loved the concept that Shen (awareness) creates Qi (energy), and Qi, in turn, creates Jing (essence of physical structure). This is sort of the Oriental version of the power of positive thinking.

If you think about it, you can see the truth in this. The quality of your awareness could be described as your attitude. A more positive, upbeat attitude definitely helps you have better energy, and over time better physical health through support of your immune system, etc.

Later, in my formal acupuncture training, I was taught the exact reverse -- that Jing creates Qi, and Qi, in turn, creates Shen. This, of course makes equal sense - when your body is strong and healthy, your energy is good and this helps your attitude and mental clarity immensely.

I later realized that the Three Treasures concept is a way of describing the fact that everything we do is connected. Our thoughts affect our energy and health and our health affects our energy and thoughts. And, of course, our energy level affects both our attitude and physical health.

Interesting that the link between attitude and physical health is this idea of energy (Qi), isn't it?

Since I am calling this bit of writing "Qi Soup for the TCM Soul" I suppose it would be a good idea to include some reference to Soul as it relates to this whole Qi business...

In several ways Qi is like the Soul ('Oh no' - I can almost hear you thinking - 'this guy is going way over the edge now!' But bear with me for a minute, okay?)

Think about it this way -- your Soul is the link between your Spirit and your physical presence on the planet. In my experience, the Soul is where we have the option of expressing free will -- in other words, the part of us where we decide exactly how we will express that unique Purpose that made us go to all the trouble of being here in the first place -- and where we determine what we will ultimately do to LIVE that Purpose...

When you think about it this way, your very reason for living is intimately linked to your Qi energy. Maybe this explains why all those ancient Chinese guys spent so much time exploring this whole area of Qi cultivation. With this in mind, doesn't it make sense to find ways to strengthen and amplify your own energy level?

This is the core purpose of Qigong practice - to maximize your ability to live your Soul's Purpose... so feed your Soul today - enjoy a nice steamy bowl of Qi soup!


Dr. Bruce Eichelberger, OMD is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine whose practice is based on the concept of balance in all areas of living. He practices acupuncture, herbal medicine and Metabolic Typing in Reno, Nevada. You can reach him at (775) 827-6901.

2003 Dr. Bruce Eichelberger, OMD

 

This Month's Articles

April, 2005
Volume 3, Number 4

Veterinary Acupuncture

Overcoming Insomnia - How to Achieve Quality, Peaceful Sleep

Qi Soup for the TCM Soul

Recent Research

Ask The Doctor

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