In Chinese philosophy, the whole Universe and its contents are interconnected by qi ( chi, ki, prana, life force, tenaga hayat ). It sustains every creature and every plant in the web of life, and is responsible for our every action. The more qi we have flowing uninterruptedly in us, the more healthy we are. It gives us life and vitality. Conversely, when qi levels are depleted or its flow blocked, health is compromised and diseases may ensue. Death happens when qi is depleted to below the critical level.
In the scientific Universe, there are only four forces known. These Fundamental Forces are:
(1) Gravitational force, which allows us to function as we do on this Earth, gives weight to everything, and makes things fall down. It exists between all matter that have mass, but are evident to us only when the masses are huge, such as the celestial bodies – moons, planets and stars.
(2) Electromagnetic force, which we are most aware of because our modern lifestyle is becoming more dependent on our discovery of more and more ingenious ways to use it. Electromagnetism is the force behind electricity, magnets, sound, heat, light, radiowaves, TV signals, handphone signals, X-rays, etc. In fact what the human senses can detect is only a narrow range of the electromagnetic spectrum. We depend on special equipments and instruments to detect those we cannot sense.
(3) Weak nuclear force, which is the energy released during slow radioactive decay.
(4) Strong nuclear force, which is the immense energy released during nuclear fusion and fission. Our solar energy is largely this energy, and nuclear reactors and nuclear bombs also utilise either of these sub-atomic reactions.
So, according to science, all the known forces and energies in the Universe can be explained in physics by the properties or behaviour of the above four Fundamental Forces.
However, when qi is studied, only some of its behaviour can be explained by physics, whereas some are not. For example, qi does not follow physical laws when it is transmitted from one person to another. A Qigong Master can send his qi to anyone ( or any object or instrument ) without any possible obstacle, whereas electromagnetic waves follow known physical laws and can be blocked or deflected. For example, your handphone signals are often cut-off in certain areas, and your satellite TV signals are blocked by bad weather. Even X-rays can be blocked by lead barriers.
Scientific studies on qi have revealed it to have, among others, infrared and infrasound characteristics, but it certainly has many other physical and metaphysical properties. Some believe it is the bio-electric impulse transferred between nerve cells or the bio-electric discharge detectable at our body surfaces.
Attempts to detect qi with scientific instruments and ingenious gadgets like Kirlian photography, Aura photography and high-voltage photography ( which detects bio-electric corona discharge ) have detected different energy forms emanating from living organisms. All have claimed that what they detect is qi. They are only partially correct. Qi is all these and more.
The most fascinating property of qi is that it is ‘intelligent’, that is, when circulating in the body, it goes to where it is needed most, and when transferred from a healer to a patient, it knows where the diseased areas are.
The Master can control its flow by his thought-commands. Some Qigong Masters can perform incredible feats as demonstrated by the Shaolin Masters and others. Some can generate enough heat from their hands to start a fire.
However, the true benefit of having qi is not in performing incredible feats, but in ensuring excellent health, preventing disease, and in healing others. There was a report recently that a Qigong exponent had to be operated upon to remove nails from his stomach after he had eaten them to prove his invincibility. What he did proved nothing other than how silly he was.
In Chinese medical theory, qi has many unique properties, most of which are complementary. For instance, it has Yin ( female, soft ) and Yang ( male, hard ) characters. External qi is transmitted out ( as in starting a fire ), while internal qi is essential for healing. There are negative and positive qi with opposing effects, most studied in Feng Shui. Many people have described qi in so many different ways. In fact, there are over 32 character-types descriptions of qi, applicable to all the different aspects of our lives. Qi is best experienced rather than described.
Qi flows through meridians or energy channels in our bodies. These are the same meridians used in acupuncture, along which are the hundreds of acupuncture points. There are 12 major meridians which correspond to the ‘internal organs’ which they are connected to. Another 8 secondary meridians complete the network. The meridians channel energy to and from the energy centres called Dan Tien ( pronounced tan tien ) and chakras. This fascinating subject is common to many other energy healing methods such as Colour Therapy, Crystal Healing, EnergyWorks, Pranic Healing, Reiki, Tai Chi and Yoga.
Scientists have studied the acupuncture points along the meridians. Dr Daniel Kirsch, dean of the Graduate School of Electromedical Science at City University, Los Angeles USA, found that these points have high conductivity and act as “windows to the body”. Dr Robert O. Becker, author of ‘The Body Electric’ actually detected current flows along the meridians by using sensitive instruments.
Thousands of scientific studies on qi and Qigong have been done and are being made available to the Western world ( see www.qigonginstitute.org ). However, there are also many sceptics who will always regard qi as mumbo-jumbo rather than science.
In practising Qigong and similar exercises, you will build up your qi level and its efficient flow that will charge-up your cells to perform all their functions efficiently. Together with good nutrition, watching your weight, sufficient aerobic exercises and a healthy lifestyle, you can expect to live a long, active and productive life.
One such person who benefited from Qigong is a friend of mine who suffered from severe premature osteoporosis due to hormonal disorders which the best doctors in Europe and USA could not solve. She finally met a Qigong master in Hong Kong who taught her very simple Qigong exercises that completely cured her. She is now a robust, active lady enjoying life to the fullest.
The greatest Qigong Masters are those who are most disciplined and dedicated in its practice and philosophy. This explains why Qigong started in the monasteries and the earliest exponents were all wise monks. Now Qigong is very simplified in its practice so that all can learn, and acquire its health benefits.
The parallel between qi and the Jedi’s Force is so obvious. No wonder Obiwan Kenobi’s master’s name was Quigong Jin. They were all actually Qigong masters!
But you don’t have to be a Jedi Master like them to be a master of the Force. Just practise Qigong and you will acquire the health benefits to live as long as Yoda, and hopefully acquire wisdom like him too.
May the Force ( qi ) be with you!