Chi?

Discuss Qigong, its ideas, theories and practice. Please stay on topic.

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Postby Dvivid » Tue Jul 21, 2009 12:59 pm

True - in fact, many Chan masters advise against practicing qigong.

But I think training Qigong can be like reciting a Koan: you use it while you need it to advance in your training from a rudimentary stage.

Koans (Kung Ans) were developed for dull and slow students, to try to give them a chance to gain enough insight that they could BEGIN the real training of internal cultivation. I think Qigong can serve the same purpose: regulate the body, breath, mind, qi, spirit, until regulation is no longer necessary and one can discard all theory and concepts and focus on feeling and insight.

Ultimately, I agree with you: its all about experience. Turn your light inward. Turn your hearing inward. And turn your feeling inward.
"Avoid Prejudice, Be Objective in Your Judgement, Be Scientific, Be Logical and Make Sense, Do Not Ignore Prior Experience." - Dr. Yang

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Postby joeblast » Tue Jul 21, 2009 3:28 pm

:wink: All methods are to be dropped sooner or later, at the appropriate time...
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Postby Dvivid » Tue Jul 21, 2009 4:44 pm

Yeah, how's it go? Once you use the boat to cross the river... ? Or the ladder to climb?
"Avoid Prejudice, Be Objective in Your Judgement, Be Scientific, Be Logical and Make Sense, Do Not Ignore Prior Experience." - Dr. Yang

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Postby ErikMcBride » Tue Jul 21, 2009 8:03 pm

I thought it was, "The joy is not in the accomplishment, but in the work put forth to achieve it."

It would be incredibly boring to reach a point of omniscience or omnipotence. I believe that if I reached that point, I would choose to start over with no memory of how I achieved it, or even that I had.
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Postby Dvivid » Wed Jul 22, 2009 8:47 am

That's funny. I think that omniscience would NOT be boring. And many decide to renounce their own nirvana in order to assist all sentient beings.

Even enlightenment is not an 'end' to the path. Ancient documents discuss ascending through levels of enlightenment, and as ALL beings on Earth are not yet enlightened, the work is not yet done for ANY Buddhas. They're not bored.

Agreed. "The journey is the destination."
"Avoid Prejudice, Be Objective in Your Judgement, Be Scientific, Be Logical and Make Sense, Do Not Ignore Prior Experience." - Dr. Yang

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Postby joeblast » Wed Jul 22, 2009 9:41 am

ErikMcBride wrote:I thought it was, "The joy is not in the accomplishment, but in the work put forth to achieve it."

It would be incredibly boring to reach a point of omniscience or omnipotence. I believe that if I reached that point, I would choose to start over with no memory of how I achieved it, or even that I had.
That sounds like some people I hear say jeez, isnt meditation boring? You're not really doing anything!

hehe...I'd definitely consider an experience of pure awareness something...although I certainly cant say I experience that every time I sit down :lol:

my take on it is that omniscience just IS. kinda like awareness. would have its own interesting subtleties just like anything else.
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Postby ErikMcBride » Wed Jul 22, 2009 10:41 am

Yeah, it's kind of not my goal to "bring an end to all suffering." I don't really see it as a bad thing. I see it as something that helps define its opposite. (That's really personal perspective though, I'm sure many would disagree with me.) Now, if the only suffering you're after annihilating is the self-inflicted kind from not understanding ourselves, I'm all for getting rid of that. You really can't enjoy a good case of "ahh dren, I broke my leg again" if you get bent out of shape and start emotionally/mentally tormenting yourself over it.

I find a lot happening in meditation too. It really depends on what kind of meditation I'm doing. Sometimes I'm asking questions about why I feel certain ways about things, sometimes I'm just experiencing bodily sensations, sometimes I'm experimenting with a new idea, and sometimes I'm off wandering around in places I probably shouldn't be. But the ideas of omnipotence and actual experential or even academic omniscience make me shudder.

With omnipotence, you'd be physically immortal and incapable of injury. If you can retain a steady state of mind and be free of knowing exactly what everyone around you is feeling or what is going to happen in the future, you might be able to get by that way. But, wandering around like that for eternity will eventually get boring. It's pretty much the same thing as using IDDQD in "Doom." (That was the god-mode cheat code.)

Omniscience would be far worse. If it was academic, you'd have all the knowledge of the world and none of the experience of getting smashed in the face that brings wisdom. Academic omniscience would be the worst because you'd completely come across as a jackass to other people. At least if it's experiential, you'll have learned that sometimes the best way to let someone learn is to just let them go ahead and stick the screwdriver in the light socket. But even that would be tiring, even if you didn't have the benefit of completely knowing the future - you'd still know what happened as it happened.

That leads me to another things that leaves me scratching my head. If I lose my ego, which is pretty much necessary to become all-pervasive knowledge, how am I going to enjoy it? I'd have no point of reference to associate enjoyment with...I'd be everything all at once. I don't know if you've tried this, but throwing a bit of everything from the fridge, freezer, and cabinet at once into a big pot to make some stew usually comes out pretty nasty. I'd imagine that without the point of reference as your ego, the universe would be pretty much like that pot of gunk I ended up pouring out into my garden - lots of flavors and experiences that just didn't mesh well when there was no differentiation between them.

I guess you could say that I cultivate qi because I'm selfish - I just do it so I can learn more about me, what makes me work, and how I impact everything around me. And you know...I'm satisfied with it. I think accepting that this was my personal motivation was a major acceptance of myself, as I am.

(Thanks for the conversation by the way. Listening to other people's perspectives helps me change my own perspectives, adds to the different ways I can look at the same thing.)
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Postby joeblast » Wed Jul 22, 2009 3:19 pm

The ego isnt as all pervasive as you think, and why should there not be any enjoyment should one dissolve their ego completely?

Doing it for ones own benefit is often a starting point - but you find out after a while that there are many benefits for others as well...its really just all a matter of perspective.
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Postby ErikMcBride » Wed Jul 22, 2009 3:47 pm

If you dissolve your ego completely, what you are doing is eliminating your point of relation to everything else around you. You would then exist as a function of your environment, free of emotions, needs, drives, and distinctions. Lack of distinction means that you couldn't tell if you were enjoying it, even if you were. You wouldn't know what enjoyment was. You wouldn't know what sorrow and pain were either, even if you were feeling them. There'd be no way to distinguish between the different states.

I don't even want to start on the difficulty in communicating if you're in that state. (Not that you'd want to communicate if you were "there"!)
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Postby joeblast » Thu Jul 23, 2009 12:54 pm

hm, I think it would be relevant to define ego in this case - in my case its the psychoanalytical definition, as opposed to the I definition, or the Freudian definition, which separates overall brain/mind function into 3 groups.

Psychoanalysis. the part of the psychic apparatus that experiences and reacts to the outside world and thus mediates between the primitive drives of the id and the demands of the social and physical environment.

vs,


the “I” or self of any person; a person as thinking, feeling, and willing, and distinguishing itself from the selves of others and from objects of its thought.


vs

The Ego comprises that organised part of the personality structure which includes defensive, perceptual, intellectual-cognitive, and executive functions. Conscious awareness resides in the ego, although not all of the operations of the ego are conscious. The ego separates what is real. It helps us to organise our thoughts and make sense of them and the world around us.



You're not really 'losing' much if you harmonize to the extent that you neednt much 'filter' between the id/ego/super-ego. Its this simplification that is at the forefront of my referencing the concept of 'dropping the ego.'
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Postby Dvivid » Fri Jul 24, 2009 7:59 am

It's pretty much the same thing as using IDDQD in "Doom." (That was the god-mode cheat code.)


Now I know you can't be serious.

True enlightenment is incomparable to any normal human experience, the least of which being a video game.

The small glimpses of expanded awareness that I have experienced make me think that omniscience would be anything but boring. That's just ridiculous.

I believe the opposite is true: you will have LESS difficulty communication the more aware you become. (You are utilizing more brain cells from a qigong theory perspective). Many enlightened teachers were capable of communicating to their friends and families and students...hence they were able to pass down the concepts we're discussing, so very eloquently, in the sutras.

I highly recommend reading Nan Huai-Chin:

http://www.amazon.com/Working-Toward-En ... pd_sim_b_1

and http://www.amazon.com/Chan-Zen-Teaching ... 244&sr=8-1
"Avoid Prejudice, Be Objective in Your Judgement, Be Scientific, Be Logical and Make Sense, Do Not Ignore Prior Experience." - Dr. Yang

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Postby Josh Young » Fri Jul 24, 2009 9:16 am


"Avoid Prejudice, Be Objective in Your Judgement, Be Scientific, Be Logical and Make Sense, Do Not Ignore Prior Experience." - Dr. Yang
Amen to that.


I think there is mythological enlightenment, which is not real.
And then practical enlightenment, which is real.

You see people want to be able to become what they are not.
They want to escape their very humanity.
So mythological enlightenment is precisely this, it makes the human into a god, more or less.

However practical enlightenment is actually harder for most people than mythological enlightenment, which is not possible. It has no appeal to greed, or vanity, or pleasure, or megalomania.

I think the cheat code analogy is rather apt actually.
You see people think that enlightenment means they don't have to pay taxes, or grocery shop. Essentially they think that as a reward for their effort they get to become super-human.

The omniscient enlightenment no human has ever or will ever reach. This is my opinion, sure. And I don't care what Star wars said, or what some ancient text in some poorly understood ancient language said either. Most of that stuff is just used to convince people to obey a set of rules or wear the right funny outfit, all out of greed, vanity and desire of omniscience. It keeps them forsaking their existence in vain pursuit of some unreachable goal, the perfect paradigm for willing slaves in modern class division society.

If the idea is becoming one with the universe, each of us is already there, but is distracted. If the idea is to know all that is capable of being known, each of us is already there, but is distracted.

If you are familiar with psychosomatic sensations you know why the qi thing is unresolved. I find nobody has been able to explain the qi of the classic in the terms of the classics, not even Dr. Yang, whose books so far are about as good as they can get. Frankly he admits the versatility of the term and then completely drops certain aspects of it, like non-li qi which is physical and non electrical. If anything the worst speculation comes from would be jedi knights trying to master some mysterious force, not from people who are familiar with the problems of terms, suggestion, and falsification in a scientific manner.
.
Then there is the vacuous and meaningless inclusion of the term qi, to call all qi the same is worthless. When someone uses the term qi to talk about electricity they are not talking about kinetic momentum. In the classics they are not using the term as a worthless all inclusive catchphrase, they are using it in a context that even scholars will admit is not well understood today because how the characters are read and defined has changed.

Who cares what the consensus is.
Consensus matters for nothing except peer pressure, and peer pressure certainly isn't my standard of truth. However energy is well defined in an explanatory way that allows predictability, it is a not vague and meaningless term like the inclusive qi. We can use concepts of energy to explain things well enough to cause nuclear reactions, when the understanding of qi reaches a point where people can use it to explain it's behavior in a predictable manner then it will have reached the understanding that energy has, until that time it is just mumbo jumbo.

So while energy is well understood as far as working definitions, qi is not. I think it is absurd to compare the meanings of the two terms and then suggest that energy is poorly understood. From a scientific point of view that simply is not the case.
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Postby Josh Young » Fri Jul 24, 2009 1:02 pm

The funny thing I have experienced many of the so called qi sensations. Including from meditation and trance states when I was rather young, and including from when I began meditating when I was just entering puberty. And including from qigong from when I began stance training.

Not one of the heat sensations, tingling energy feelings, or feelings of movement of energy in the body predisposes me to believe that they are more than psychosomatic sensations and feelings of increased circulation. With the mind I can activate ticklishness, sexual excitement, feelings of vitality and other things, but does this demonstrate qi? Absolutely... not.

So many people feel these things and then testify as if they are now jedi knights on the pathway of becoming a supreme being of light. I think they suffer from delusion and need to learn what they do and don't know.

When people admit what they do know, they begin to gain a clarity that is profound, and they begin to lose attachment to terms which is a huge problem for people. People will often believe anything they are told, this is what they have been trained to do since birth, especially in consumer society where the whole world is run by adds and peer pressure. They think they have open minds, they don't, they are not questioning things that need to be questioned.

In the end black is white and up is down and qi is magic.
It is a joke and I don't think the foolish concepts found today are the same as those expounded upon in the classics. We mistake our motives for those of these mastered people, thinking that what we want, they wanted.

If martial arts leads to omniscience then who gained it? When and where? The records are full of people practicing for their lives. Look online and tell me you can't find a thousand people called masters.
And yet where is the enlightenment of god like omniscience?

At what point did we abandon reason and enter this comedic cartoon world where humans turn into gods?

"Avoid Prejudice, Be Objective in Your Judgment, Be Scientific, Be Logical and Make Sense, Do Not Ignore Prior Experience." - Dr. Yang

The above captures a great deal of my point in a straightforward way. Too man people have a prejudice in favor of their fantastic and unrealistic desires. They are closed minded to the idea that enlightenment, let along qi is a simple, yet profound term pertaining to a myriad of phenomena. As far as being scientific, logical and making sense, if it has to do with internal martial arts, well you'd best just forget those three all together. And prior experience? That is the thing right there, show the precedence, demonstrate the achievement, if there is a claim then support the claim with facts and properties that can be tested in a way that withstands falsification. The present so called proofs are all anecdotal and suggestive and have no credibility at present.

I am familiar with the use of acupuncture and acupressure, but I am familiar with developmental biology and how the body is linked. The same vertebra that the arms nerve link to also link the same nerves to internal organs, of course if you trigger these nerves you affect the organ and if the nerves are sore on the arm it can indicate illness of the organ. Does this demonstrate qi? not at all.
So forget meridian theory, even when it functions well, and it often does, it does not imply qi.

Now you have people claiming to be able to draw electric power from being near a socket. I want to see the meter turning, with no appliance plugged in, that would be a convincing demonstration.

And what of people glowing? Well an article came out recently explaining that people do glow, mostly in the face. People with greater health and vitality glow more. This glow is measurable but cannot be seen by most people. So what? I can see auras too, does that mean there is qi? Not if we apply objective reasoning and logic.

I am also aware of the role Orgone energy played in weather control experiments. Does the fact that human energy interacts with the weather and environment demonstrate the qi of the martial arts classics? By no means.

And of telepathy? Does a connection between people demonstrate qi? No, it demonstrates a connection.

When it has been tested, the physical sensation of qi stuff used by many so called masters to convince students cannot withstand even simple controlled experiments, this indicates that without the power of suggestion these so called masters cannot demonstrate or use qi at all. Sure they can hit you in nerves, big deal, so can a toddler with luck aim. But put a qigong master into a controlled double blind experiment and the so called evidence falls to pieces.

This whole qi thing is the same as the story about The Emperors New Clothes. If you don't know the story then look it up.
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Postby Dvivid » Fri Jul 24, 2009 1:34 pm

"Vacuous?"

1. We'll have to agree to disagree about the concept of enlightenment. This is one place in life where I have 'faith'. A modernized, psychological Western angle on the concept is helpful for many people, but that's not what they were talking about.


2. I don't think anyone ever said that energy is not well understood? I do think that people still have a bizarre misunderstanding of the Chinese word Qi, which translates to 'energy'. They are not two different things. The problem is this demented misunderstanding that Qi is not the same thing as energy.

Energy is energy, no matter what language you say it in. That's what qigong is about - its not "Qi energy", some specific mystical unproven form of energy. Qi is the Chinese word for ALL energy. It is not just used in the context of qigong or martial arts. Weathermen on Chinese TV talk about the weather Qi. Anyone doing anything pertaining to any kind of energy uses the word Qi in mainstream China.

Here we only hear it in the context of martial arts and qigong, and so people continue to misunderstand and debate its existence, which of course, does not make sense. Would you say THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS ENERGY! ? ...cuz that's what you're saying.

Therefore, statements like this are illogical:
We can use concepts of energy to explain things well enough to cause nuclear reactions, when the understanding of qi reaches a point where people can use it to explain it's behavior in a predictable manner then it will have reached the understanding that energy has, until that time it is just mumbo jumbo.


Its like saying: "We can use concepts of energy to explain things well enough to cause nuclear reactions, when the understanding of energy reaches a point where people can use it to explain it's behavior in a predictable manner then it will have reached the understanding that energy has, until that time it is just mumbo jumbo."

Saying something like "physical and not electrical" is oxymoronic. Physical is electrical. If you refer only to kinetic energy and alignment, that is an entirely different issue.

Our goal here is to educate people in the Western medical world wih the ancient concept of Qigong, so they can benefit from the 4,000 years of research already document on the field of mind/body science emerging in the West.

Psychosomatic sensations are...experienced in the brain/nervous system which are made of living cells that are powered by...?

??

???!

Energy. Qi. Call it what you will.

(The "qi thing" is not "unresolved".)

Placebo? Relaxation response? Seriously, think about it. The YI leads the QI. Your mind leads your energy.

And yes, we have a pretty good understanding of energy in general, but we are still learning. Physics has no solid answer yet. Its gets increasingly mystical the more you truly ponder it.

Furthermore, we have a decent understanding of the energy within our living cells. You can study the metabolism, or intercellular energy transfer, or whatever, and get a somewhat complete picture of how it works. But we learn more in the West every day, and all of it relates to what Qigong has been saying for 4,000 years.

Qi = energy = heat, magnetism, light:

http://www.livescience.com/health/090722-body-glow.html

The human body literally glows, emitting a visible light in extremely small quantities at levels that rise and fall with the day, scientists now reveal... This visible light differs from the infrared radiation — an invisible form of light — that comes from body heat.)


Qi is not something that needs to be proven. Your understanding of it needs to expand.

I think in general it is more helpful to the users of this forum to draw attention toward solutions rather than problems in understanding and bringing together the two cultures.

I think also: practice more, talk less.
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Postby Josh Young » Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:55 pm

A failure to account for the specific distinctions of context makes the account of qi vacuous. Just as it is vacuous to refer to energy in the same aspect. The problem of terms is not one that can be easily overcome.


The problem is this demented misunderstanding that Qi is not the same thing as energy.

And it is meaningless to talk about energy in a non-specific context. There are types of energy, they are demonstrated to have specific subsets of behavior and context. For this reason the concept of qi as being only energy is worthless, it makes no distinctions.

Electricity is field based in behavioral terms, it is not considered the same as a kinetic wave. So the use of a single inclusive term, such as the word energy, to refer to both is utterly without value unless distinctions are noted. In the chinese classics there is a context.

It would be as foolish to say qi does not mean energy, as it is to say that what I have been stating is that qi does not mean energy.

Physical energy is not the same as electrical energy, any more than an electron is the same as a molecule. The distinctions hold the real content, without them there is no point in using the terms.

I agree with you abut solutions, but find the solution is to specify contexts, the inclusive use of the terms, be with energy or qi, has no practical value.
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Postby Dvivid » Tue Jul 28, 2009 7:56 am

I do want to delve into this subject in more depth, but am a bit busy right now. But, to respond quickly:

Qi gong means "energy work".

I agree with your desire to truly understand Qi and Qigong, and to speak in very specific terms. But the point at the basic level is this: thousands of years ago, the ancient Chinese and Indian/Nepalese found that they could cultivate the life force of their bodies to higher state and achieve great things. This process of cultivation is called qigong.

We don't want to stray too far from that fundamental point.

What do YOU call that life force? Im happy to discuss it in English and to derive a more modern understanding of that process. The majority of my own work is in that direction. Nowadays we know the human body is a colony of living cells, each with its own lifespan. The body is a conscious bioelectromagnetic field. What is the energy that keeps our cells alive, that animates our body, and that can be cultivated and developed?

In ancient China, they called it Qi.

If you practice qigong regularly, you have many experiences that are described very clearly in documents from both India and China. Everyone follows about the same path as the energy is cultivated, and we each pass through various stages of development. These common experiences are our data set, and give a clear path for efficient qigong training and progress.

This forum, and Dr. Yang's writing on the topic of qigong, is meant to give people a clear understanding of correct and safe practice so they can enjoy the benefits that come from qigong practice. That is our intention here.
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Postby johnboy554 » Wed Jul 29, 2009 2:58 am

This is really interesting stuff guys. This topic has grown arms and legs - to the point where it's hard to know where to step in. It is vast. I do not have the knowledge and experience that you have with regard to Qigong but I have read up on many related subjects over the years. I'd like to offer some food for thought... perhaps.
Before I begin my (probably long-winded) ramble let me state that I am not some kind of occultist, religious nut or psychopath. I am merely attempting to convey what I have discovered and learnt - and to some degree experienced. What I write is not necessarily my belief and I do not profess to be any kind of guru. I try to have an open mind. I like this from Josh:
I am not a skeptic
I have no need for doubt
I simply do not know

I would like to pick up on some of Erik's earlier posts and this:
What do YOU call that life force?... The body is a conscious bioelectromagnetic field. What is the energy that keeps our cells alive, that animates our body, and that can be cultivated and developed?

I believe the key word here is 'conscious'. Consciousness is energy and energy is consciousness, or a field of energy that permeates the entire universe - the Tao. However, not in the 3 dimensional sense, rather in higher dimensions. Now, we as 3 dimensional beings in the physical sense are limited to experience within these 3 dimensions - and of course the 4th dimension, but only in the forward moving/passage of time sense. We experience a degree of (some would say limited) consciousness during our waking hours within the constraints of the physical body.
Other levels of consciouness are experienced by us during hypnagogic states, sleep, hypnosis, during LSD trips, whilst under anaesthetic... the list goes on. Experiences encountered in these states are distorted by our 3 dimensional body (brain) trying to interpret them in a way we can cope with.
This realm of consciousness can be 'tapped into' during various states of mind and awareness and as such training can be undertaken to reach these states of mind. Religious figures, mystics - call them what you will - have known this for thousands of years. Why would someone mindfully want to do this? Well, to experience this state of consciousness (a pure, natural, intrinsic state) consciously (mindfully, knowingly) - a pure experience, a religious experience - the pinnacle of human effort. To some it is known as enlightment, the Tao, one's true nature, omniscience, Nirvana, self-realization - again, the list goes on...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nirvana

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satori

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samadhi

Suggested reading:

The Occult: A History by Colin Wilson
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Occult:_A_History

Afterlife: An Investigation of the Evidence of Life After Death by Colin Wilson

Any of Robert Monroe's works.

So, how does Chi fit into all this? Well, if Chi=Energy and Energy=Consciousness, then it could be viewed that Consciousness=Chi. Chi is something that has to be felt to experience, feeling chi is to be aware of it, conscious of it. When we experience the chi moving, tingling, buzzing or whatever it is a conscious experience. Again, I repeat here that I am no expert.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_(esotericism)

Thus far in my limited reading of Chi and Qigong I understand that one of the goals or aims is to move the Chi to open the third eye and/or the pineal gland area. This is obviously to reach the state of enlightenment, to become one with nature etc. In Vedic texts man is taught about how to reach the same state - for this the tools are various paths of Yoga (union). Kundalini Yoga is clearly the nearest comparison to that of raising chi. As the Shakti is awakened it is guided up the body through the Chakras, to the ultimate one - the crown of the head or Sahashrara for transcendence or enlightenment. Interestingly the Ajana or Third Eye Chakra is related to the pituitary gland and any psychic experiences (and there are supposedly many) are considered an aversion - a by-product - to the real business in hand which is to move the serpent (Shakti or Chi) to the Sahashrara chakra.

As far as I can gather enlightment can take years to achieve through whatever your chosen practice is - be it Yoga, Qigong, meditation or whatever. Some may never achieve it and have to return into our bodily form to have another go. In fact when one does reach this stage in one's current physical lifetime it is considered by some religions to be the culmination of many re-births. On the other hand enlightenment can be a spontaneous experience that happens in an instant - an example being Judeo-Christian Revelation.

So, to wind-up here I believe that chi is essentialy inherent in all of us and is ubiquitous. Through the practice of Qigong (and other internal arts) it is a way of 'waking up' and realizing or reuniting our limited, bodily Chi/consciousness with the super-consciousness, Godhead or Tao. The health benefits of practice are maybe just a 'bonus' along the way, or perhaps even a necessity in order to prepare our physical body to be able to handle the large influx of energy when the ultimate goal is achieved.

That of course leads to the next big question - but that's another matter...

John
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Postby joeblast » Wed Jul 29, 2009 8:25 am

Words are so funny :)
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Postby joeblast » Thu Dec 24, 2009 9:09 am

I was reading over another qi-related discussion similar to this in a sense, and a much respected acquaintance of mine gave quite a good reply - she was kind enough to permit me to share here :) I thought it would help the discussion!


The traditional way to define qi is by showing what it is not.

It is not breath, because it is present in things that don't breathe -- e.g., books, paintings, or swords.
It is not life force, because it is present in corpses, stones, and ghosts.
It is not electricity, because it is present in the antistatic fluid. :lol:
It is not energy, because it can both create and undergo transformations without any energy involved. E.g., Monday becomes Tuesday without having spent any energy on accomplishing that. Everybody knows what a "Monday" is but the only thing that can cause it to exist is the qi of its meaning. Similarly, if your parents already have a son and you are then born to them, their firstborn undergoes a qi transformation that will affect him for the rest of his life -- to wit, one that has caused him to become someone's brother -- without having spent any energy on the transformation.

Qi is a rearrangement of the Pattern. Qi both causes and is caused by a rearrangement of the Pattern. Qi is Change Itself, Potential for Change, and the Outcome of Change all wrapped into one. "Change" is a far vaster concept than "life," "breath," or "energy," let alone "electricity" or some such. Change is an inherent property of tao-in-motion, a space-time phenomenon of the most fundamental order. However, qi is most useful to understand as "meaningful change," which is why the Book of Changes doesn't go beyond 64 transformations thereof, which cover the whole scope of meaningful situation of change possible in space-time; a greater number of subdivisions creates meaningless fragmentation, and that's the level where you lose qi and are stuck with "pure energy." Shudder.

When tackling qi, it is always useful to remember that it is always meaningful. Energy may or may not be meaningful -- break a cup and you will be hard pressed to figure out what the meaning is of every shard and every sliver, though energy is what caused each one of them to manifest. Break a cup by throwing it against the wall while arguing with your significant other, and the qi of the act means lots and lots of things besides and beyond its sheer energy. In fact, it can generate or destroy energy far surpassing that of the breaking point of the cup, It can break up a marriage, e.g., and eliminate a whole line of posterity for the next three billion years. Or it can generate it. Qi of the moment, i.e. potential for change inherent in it, is not inferrable from the amount of strong, weak, gravitational, or electromagnetic forces it contains. It is inherent in the nature, quality and timing of the pattern, in its meaning. It can be tremendous if the pattern places it in such a position -- or none at all beyond the sheer muscular energy you've spent on the act.

I said it before and I'll say it again. Qi is the medium and message of meaningful change.
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Postby Josh Young » Thu Dec 24, 2009 12:47 pm

I appreciate how poetic and philosophical that is. It is totally accurate in its content, but I can't help but feel it does not address qi in context specific terms. I believe that Dr. Yang's books do a fairly good job of addressing the diversity of meaning that can be inherent in the word.

Sometimes we westerners like to romanticize terms and concepts, particularly those which have elements of mystery about them due to them being foreign to our own culture, or rather lack of culture as the case may be. I fear that qi is rather mundane a term that simply means energy and thus unquestionably exists, however claims are made about the term that are suspect all the time. The same can be said for the term "nature", nature exists unquestionably, yet claims are made about nature that are largely the product of active human imagination, we like to look for patterns of human behavior and meaning in nature and thus find them as artifacts of looking, not because they exist independently in nature.

One might go further...
Why not invoke the word nature in place of qi for a moment?


Nature is a rearrangement of the Pattern. Nature both causes and is caused by a rearrangement of the Pattern. Nature is Change Itself, Potential for Change, and the Outcome of Change all wrapped into one.


Does the action of tao consist of change?
Why not return?
What is change but a concept? Return I can see existing, but change I cannot comprehend. Is motion change? Alas the poetic philosophical is compelling for me but this is not the place.
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