What is 氣 / Chi / Qi ?
Chi is life force; bio-electricity; energy. Chi is not an abstract concept that exists exclusively for the mysterious pleasure of ancient Chinese sages and those in monasteries; it is an experienced reality. Shake your body vigorously for 30 seconds, then abruptly stand very still. Put your attention in your body, and inside there seems to be vibrating, warmth, or tingling. Just take a moment of sensitivity to feel it strongly. Or rub your hands together, or hit your leg, or put your hands on your throat while making a sound.
What we feel is energy; is chi. We all know this, because we are alive. It is the least complex thing to observe, but our minds habitually lust for more thinking, stimulation and distraction to find reality, and it says "yeah, whatever, unimportant, Netflix please". Thinking, whilst useful for many things, can obscure the simplest reality that everything is run by an intelligent force that operates without permission. It pulses your heart, it breathes your lungs, it excites your sexual organs, and it even produces the thought which dismisses chi. Chi sustains life.
If it's so important, why isn't the understanding of chi part of our culture? Perhaps, for a start, the ancient Chinese didn't have the 24/7 stimulation of our modern lives to distract them. Wouldn't it be wonderful if our 24/7 stimulation was to be in conscious union with the intelligent life force of nature? The nature that we are inseparable from? Another possible reason might be that the Keepers of Official Knowledge, Wikipedia, is sure to introduce chi as a "pseudoscientific, unverified concept". So, wanna improve your life? Better not step outside the deeply dysfunctional construction called social acceptance!
Why feel chi?
Qigong/Chi Kung (Gong/Kung = practice), energy cultivation and "Inner Alchemy" as extensively devised by the ancient Taoists in China, are millennia old, tried and tested methods for cultivating this life force. For a couple of years now (though without knowing, it's been a lot longer...I may do another blog on this) I have been practicing under the genius guidance of Mantak Chia, and the "Universal Healing Tao" system, which structures these methods for us in an accessible way. There's so much free stuff available online to try out, but I've personally found Mantak Chia the most effective teacher.
So, why do it? Chi has healing power; it is the intelligence which keeps you alive and healthy, and heals you after sickness. As per the ancient Chinese understanding of health, the body wants to heal itself, and practicing qigong or other methods of being conscious of energy can allow it to, by opening the channels of energy and releasing blockage or transmuting sick energy. In so doing I've enabled myself to transmute many limiting and toxic emotional patterns and improved my physical health and feeling of well-being. When you can witness it working, you want to do it more...
(It's important to put aside the image of athletic martial artists in cone hats and floaty white gowns. Fundamentally the aim of Qigong doesn't have anything to do with gracefulness or flexibility, though some practices will certainly give you this over time.)
You are already an alchemist
You are a powerful being because you are an agent of change on this planet. By sending somebody a genuine smile or kind words you have used your potential to spread joy. "When you're smiling, the whole world smiles with you", as it goes. Sensitive term I know, but we all know that energy is contagious! So why not play with it properly now?
Transform stress into vitality with an inner smile
Smile to your organs and feel their energy. Sounds crazy? I thought so too but I gave it the opportunity. Try it out...each organ is an intelligent being in itself, and they work with each other to create the intelligent beings called Me and You. Create an internal environment of love and harmony and they will thank you by manifesting an external environment ("life") that matches. Alternatively, guess what a toxic inner environment will manifest?
Here is a nice guided Inner Smile meditation by Lee Holden, who is an experienced Qigong master and I think was also taught by Mantak Chia:
I am also now an instructor with Universal Healing Tao: