What’s this, indeed. “This” is a lot of words—plus the occasional picture—about something that’s either beyond words or at least traveling along parallel tracks.
Qi, or chi, is what the Chinese call life energy. It can be experienced in many different ways—as warmth, tingling, or perhaps a certain density, or presence, or pressure, perhaps even as expansiveness or euphoria. It billows and flows, or it doesn’t; it’s strong or it’s faint or maybe you can’t feel it at all—but it’s still there, always with you. However, it can’t be isolated and scientifically examined and described, or at least it hasn’t been so far.
Writing about such a thing is problematic. It may even be counter-productive. A purist would say we should all pull the plugs on our computers, shut off the flow of words into our overly analytical minds and just go practice qigong—qigong being the Chinese word for cultivating qi.
But few of us can live by qigong alone. We want guidance and we want friends as we explore a dimension of human experience that isn’t generally acknowledged, at least not in the west. And words are one way to do this. We read books about qigong; we take classes; we practice with CDs and DVDs.
I am not a master of qi or qigong. It’s been less than three years since I first felt qi between my hands. I’d heard the word often throughout my years of studying taiji, but I’d pretty much thought it was a figment of other people’s imaginations. It wasn’t until I felt it that I believed it. Feeling it changed how I viewed the world, and I believe cultivating it is changing me.
I want other skeptics to feel qi, too, and I’d like to know how other people who have found it are feeling it. Words are one way to communicate about qi, and, former journalist that I am, I like to put words into written form.
And so we have this website. I named it “Exploring the Qi Frontier” because, to me, the realm of qi truly is a frontier, a place unlike any I’ve been before.
I’m not entirely sure where this website and blog are going to go. I’ve already written about my discovery of qi and about my early experiences with qigong in general, and with Yi Ren Qigong in particular, Yi Ren being the health-oriented qigong system I am in training to teach. (That material, “Tales from a Doubter’s Journey,” along with “Pilgrimage to China,” about my trip to China in October, can be found by clicking on the tabs above this website’s header.)
But time has passed, I’m continuing to explore qi and qigong, and there’s more I’d like to write about. There are also things like the tummy-rubbing qigong my mother practiced for decades, until she died at 96, that didn’t quite fit into “Tales from a Doubter’s Journey.”
I’m excited that this will be an interactive format. I’m hoping people who read what I’ve written will question, comment and share experiences from their own journeys with qi, or chi, or whatever word they use to refer to the energies of life.
I will learn from them—and onward “Exploring the Qi Frontier” will go.
Coming Soon: More about what “qi” and “qigong” mean to me, why qi’s “q” is u-less, and some ethical rules for you and me (but mostly for me) on this Qi Frontier.