Qi – Chi
The belief in Qi, a subtle energy that flows within everything, is a very tradition in China; it certainly goes way back over 4000 years to the roots of Taoism and probably beyond. Qi is still a major part of the underlying beliefs and culture of modern China. You can see evidence of this all over and everywhere. Outside almost every entrance there are figures of Lions, Dragons, Elephants and other representations denoting the need of protection, for good luck and to also to welcome visitors. This is part of the beliefs whether conscious or otherwise in superstition or the flow of good and bad energies in the environment. Which aspect of this you take as belief is based on your personal view of such things. However it has been sustained from very ancient times and incorporated into the daily life of modern China. Its there in Feng Shui: the belief in placement and displacement of things in the home or office to encourage a good flow of energy within the building. It’s to be seen in the practices of Tia Chi, many Martial Arts and in Qigong. Daily across China especially in the morning you can see large numbers of practitioners of these arts, slowly going through their routines. This is repeated on a huge scale across the country with literally millions of adherents.
Underlying these practices is a deep belief in the therapeutic value of a slow deliberate exercise which enables the flow through the body of subtle currents. You can see a well accepted parallel within the meridian flow points in Acupuncture. Many claim that there are acupuncture points on the earth itself.
Such things have been almost entirely disregarded or forgotten by western society… of have they? In Britain there is the belief of some in telluric currents following Ley lines, thought to be a belief pre-dating the Druids. Such unseen currents are also said to be coalescing at certain times of the year at focal points like stone circles and henge’s. Then there is the universal fluid of occultists. The Prana of ancient India. The Baraka of the Arabs. The grace of the Christians. Does it all reference a similar belief?
Tesla the scientist who invented radio before Marconi and went on to invent practical uses for alternating current, claimed he could retrieve energy from Sun particles that bathed the Earth. He stated, as others are currently, that we live on a revolving planet with a metallic core. The Earth is a spinning magnet hurtling through space at great speed. We are standing upon an electric motor of gigantic proportions. The Earth has thousands of rotating and continuously changing magnetic fields all about it due to its movement and metallic core. We live on the surface of such an energetic environment: it surly must have effects on us, on everything. There may be more useful energies that we do not yet realise, at both ends of this spectrum. Possibly power enough to solve all our future electricity needs and at the other end subtle forces that affect health and wellbeing. Positive ions flowing in advance of thunderstorms can cause us to feel a bit strange, headaches are common. Standing near flowing water especially waterfalls can invigorate us: is this due to negative ions. These electrically charged particles are produced by effects of the weather and most probably an interchange with the magnetic forces surrounding the Earth.
Good grounding with these energies may be good for our health. Blockages in the flow of such subtle energies within the body would inevitably result in disease. It has been scientifically proven that the build up of ‘free radicals’ within the body is a cause of disease and these strange particles are atomic particles with missing electrons. They gather in the body and produce inflammation, and although part of the bodies natural healing too much or runaway inflammation is now recognised as signs of disease and even related to aging.
Recently ‘Earthing’, it was Clinton Ober who ‘discovered’ it, has been proven to greatly reduce unwanted free radicals in the body. Earthing is probably a very ancient thing; as once we all walked barefoot or wore animal skins (real leather shoes) on our feet. Our feet were one time often conductive to the Earth. The concrete jungle of city-life and modern city-traffic traffic all contribute to our disconnection with our environment. The exhaust fumes of urban environments and the fast food brand culture probably also contribute to free radical in-gestation.
The Chinese diet is very healthy, especially so for older people in China who eat well from very fresh food, they exercise and they ‘know’ they feel better after practicing Qigong.
Qi was investigated by a scientist, a woman; Gu Hansen in 1978. She stated that she had proven in an experiment that Qi is a measurable and real force. The experiments were carried out at the Centre for Atomic Research in Shanghai. However this has never been repeated since. But it has given great credence to Qi and the practice of utilising it in daily life in Qigong: a set of stretching and slow rhythm movements that are claimed to be good for health.
Qi and its beneficial properties may be a sort of race memory of something we have lost in our rush to modern living. Its possible that Qigong and its focus upon hidden Earth flowing energies that also can be encouraged to flow within human bodies is a gift to the world from China.
However as there may be truth to these things they can also be distorted and become the tools of charismatic leaders of cults for example: Falun Gong. A cult based upon the Qigong practices yet subverted with all sorts of strange additions and twisted concepts. As they say a little knowledge can lead to distorted understandings, imaginings and downright stupidity. If you only briefly study Taoism you come to realize that the masters of it knew a thing or two about the abuse of human nature for cultivating personal grandishment.
MORE about China: Impressions of China