What is Qi?
Qi, pronounced “key” as in the Japanese pronunciation, is the power or spirit that is within all of us. It is the very energy force or life force that permeates our being. In Ancient Chinese medicine, the body is composed of the physical portion and the qi–the life force that is transmitted throughout that physical state. Our qi is known as many things in many religions and backgrounds. For instance, in India qi is known as “prana” or “Shakti”, Christians use the term “Holy Spirit”, Hebrews call it “Ruah”, in Western Philosophy it is referred to as, “Vital Energy”. The qi is the force that we sometimes draw from when we face adversity or come across a challenge or simply need to just keep moving ahead. It is the force that we reach out to when we know that in the current state we feel limited. It is the power that sometimes we feel we can’t explain or even visualize but we know it is there. Some may say it is the soul’s energy that is fed from a higher being or force. However it is described, it resides in all of us, but some have difficulty recognizing it or even utilizing it. Mencius, an Ancient Chinese philosopher describes qi as such, “I excel at cultivating my flood-like qi… This qi is exceedingly vast and powerful.. If it is nourished with integrity and not impaired, it will fill up heaven and earth. This qi pairs righteousness, but is not gotten by a sporadic show of righteousness. If one’s actions cannot satisfy one’s heart, it wastes away”. It is further explained in the book The Chinese Aesthetic Tradition that, “In sum, qi assumes concurrently the dual characteristic of morality and vitality, the material and the physical. Mencius perpetuated the notion of qi as a kind of sensuous vital force in which reason is condensed and through which energy can be released.” It is important to recognize that qi is the vital force that is derived from the spiritual and moral energy and balanced with the physical energy.
How to utilize the power of the Qi
Now that we have briefly discussed what “qi” is, the next question is how do we utilize that life force energy to take the initiative to accomplish the goals that we have set? There are many practices to balancing the qi power, for example:
- Feng Shui-a Chinese geomantic practice in which a structure or site is chosen or configured so as to harmonize with the spiritual forces that inhabit it; also: orientation, placement, or arrangement according to the precepts of feng shui
- Qi Gong-an ancient Chinese healing art involving meditation, controlled breathing, and movement exercises
- Martial Arts-Internal martial arts utilizes the power of qi to balance the breathing and center the mind on the task at hand, thereby directing the qi from the core through the blood to the hands and feet where the contact and objective will be met. External martial arts deals with the brute strength and force of the sport.
- Acupuncture-Uses thin needles inserted at specific points along the body to balance the flow of qi.
- Taoist Sexual Practices-This involves the joining of energy through certain Taoist practices, the Buddhist believe in a similar sexual practice called trantra sexual activity.
- Chakra healing-It is a form of yoga to address any imbalances in the 7 chakras or energy portholes in the body.
- Meditation-A contemplative devotional exercise. Meditation can take the form of a prayer, quiet time to simply focus, or the very focused technique of focusing on one’s own breathing…
- Yoga-A Hindu exercise used to promote control of the mind and body.
There are other practices to balance the qi and utilize this power to accomplish one’s goal. I am not in the position of advocating one practice over the other as I have not experienced or practiced all the above qi balancing techniques, except to say, that I personally meditate daily and practice yoga. During the Qi Quest, I will explore all the other practices listed and determine which of these on this list help utilize my Qi the best.
Why is Qi so important when discussing courage?
Fear is the driving force behind what stops us from taking that first step toward our goals. It does this by signaling the qi force to retreat when faced with a challenge. If we are able to meditate and focus our Qi on the goal at hand, then we can use that strength from within to conquer our fears thereby allowing the experience to take place. The first step in focusing the Qi is perceiving ourselves taking on the challenge and envisioning what the mission accomplished looks like in our mind… Once we can perceive ourselves doing what we choose, the next step must be taken to initiate the change and persist through all adversity to succeed in the challenge. Without qi, the life force from within, the very energy we need to overcome our fears, will be next to impossible to accomplish… Call it “Mind over Matter” or” Qi2Courage”… This is the time to set those goals, be a leader, take on a challenge and never give in and never give up!!!
It is that simple!