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...
How about we start with some random ideas —
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