Qi is the vital, life-giving force that is inside all living things. The term originates in traditional Chinese culture and plays a key role in certain martial arts, like Tai Chi as well as Chinese medicine in fields like acupuncture and acupressure. It is known as Ki in Japanese and is the life energy involved in Reiki. Qi is not recognized as real by most western scientists and its presence has not been proven to acceptable scientific standards. However, Qi is widely accepted among most spiritual practices across the globe and forms the fundamental principle for their operation.
There is an analogous life force, which goes by different names and which has somewhat different characteristics, in many religious and spiritual cultures. In Hindu practices of Yoga, it is called prana. In Jewish mysticism, it is sometimes called associated with the Nefesh, or soul, but it is more appropriately associated with the Ruach, which means wind or spirit, or the Shekinah, which is the divine presence which descends and settles in among man or inside man. In ancient Egypt, it was related to the ka, the life force inside of man that separates him from the dead and from his physical body (ba).
Qi is really the underpinning of our spiritual methods and therefore we will spend a lot of time discussing it. You will gradually become more and more knowledgeable about it and its importance. For now, I will try to present a simplistic view. This explanation will generalize and standardize information from numerous sources and schools of thought. The thing that is important to understand is any explanation of a spiritual concept like Qi is just a symbolic model of it, based on a collective understanding. Don’t get so hung up on specifics that you lose sight of the general concept and the underlying thing that is symbolized.
Our scientific model of the universe has changed greatly over the past few years and it is continuously evolving. Fields like Quantum Physics are revealing things to us about the nature of matter that are surprisingly similar to the ancient teachings. In a later discussion, I will talk about some of this in more detail. At one time people believed in the model that said there were only four elements: air, water, fire, earth, and ether. Then we learned about molecules and atoms and we thought the atom was the smallest thing and could not be broken down. Then science discovered that even atoms are made up of even smaller particles like protons, neutrons, and electrons. Now, we are learning that it doesn’t stop there, that these “particles” break down even further and to our surprise, they are not really physical matter at all, but forms of energy.
Everything that we know of in the universe is essentially a form of energy, just in different states. All physical matter is created from what is essentially a form of Light energy. In Sane Spirituality, we will refer to this energy as the Universal Light. The Universal Light is present in all things and all things are surrounded by it, permeated by it. Matter is not separated from the Universal Light, they are one thing, like two sides of a single coin.
Universal Light is present in both inorganic and organic matter. In fact, at the energetic level, there is really very little to separate the two. You can think of it like the Universal Light works at a different frequency or wavelength in organic matter than it does in inorganic. The Universal Light is the thing which enters into the primordial soup and energizes inorganic matter, helping it to recombine into more and more complex patterns and shape. It is the “spark” of life and the energy the empowers the furnaces of creation to bring about birth and rebirth.
Conceptually, Qi affects us through what is called our “subtle body”. This is thought to be a body of energy that exists kind of outside of and around our physical body. You can think of it kind of as an electromagnetic field that surrounds us, but it is more than that. It is charged and energized by our spirit/soul and the life force energy of Qi. In this subtle body are “organs” that are analogous to organs in the physical body, but these are energy centers that are responsible for varying aspects and which affect corresponding parts of our physical body. They are called chakra, and I will have a separate text on them soon.
In addition to the chakra, which control and regulate the flow of energy through our bodies and into the parts of our body. There is another analogy to the physical body present here. Like our central nervous system, it is thought that our subtle body has a network of channels and pathways or “meridians” that carry the Qi to our limbs, organs, and extremities. Chinese acupuncture works with these pathways to stimulate and manipulate them to enhance the flow of Qi.
Qi is considered the quintessential life-force. Its presence and proper flow in our body is thought to regulate and control health and well being, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. When Qi is blocked or cannot properly flow, negative conditions and illness can be the result. There are various practices that are intended to help remove blockages and promote the healthy flow of Qi. As stated earlier, this includes Tai Chi, Qigong, Reiki, Tantra, Kundalini Yoga, and forms of Qabalah.
One of the important aspects of Qi is that it is also considered to be the sexual energy that flows inside of us causing arousal, sexual pleasure and the orgasm. Dr. William Reich studied this extensively and discovered, he claimed, evidence of this life-force that leads to orgasm. He called this energy Orgone and like Qi, he claimed it was responsible for not only orgasms but general health and well-being. Qi is life-force and life-force is a creative, sexual energy.
Our goal with Sane Spirituality is to help everyone learn to tap into their Qi and learn to work with it. We refer to Qi as the Inner Light and the techniques we use to help you learn to harness it we call Light Working. This takes many forms, drawn from many ancient and modern sources in a hybrid way that we find works for us. We hope it works for you.