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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

You and Your Qi

by Adam Wallace
Qi Magazine - Issue 87
Summer 2008

Your Qi is your life. Abundant Qi ensures good health and vitality, speedy recovery from illness, and quality of life. Deficient Qi spells listlessness and illness, and no Qi means death, literally.

When your Qi is full you feel comfortable inside, no matter the weather. On extremely cold days you may feel the temperature on the surface of the skin, but inside you will feel warm, so the extremities and joints do not suffer. When Qi is deficient, you can even feel cold internally on warm days. This is why the elderly fear winter especially.

Your Qi level is directly related to how you see the world and respond to it. When your Qi is full and stable you will feel balanced, vibrant and confident, with a deep sense of peace and harmony. Mental clarity, wisdom,  and mood all depend on the Qi level, so when Qi is low you will not only feel physically weak, vulnerable and insecure, but also become cantankerous, melancholy, anxious or fearful and suffer negative and confused thinking. When Qi is unstable you may experience severe mood swings, become easily enraged, or suffer manic depression (bi-polar disorder).

Many people suffer heart attacks or strokes because they are not sensitive to their Qi or do not know how to control it through regulating the breath. The attack often occurs when the body is stressed and the mind is preoccupied or ‘out of the body’. Qigong regulates and balances Qi with the mind and breath and so prevents Qi becoming overstimulated and stuck. I would wager that no one has nor ever will suffer a stroke or heart attack during their Qigong practice as they are mindful of the internal body. If they practice every day (especially twice or more), they need never worry as the effects of training last for many hours, so regularity maintains order.

Many people today complain of having no energy. They work, come home, collapse and repeat this day-in and day-out. They run themselves into the ground, literally. The way we feel, in general, is a reliable barometer for what is going on internally. Before we become seriously ill, we will generally feel an overall sense of malaise. This is a warning signal. Over time, if nothing is done to remedy the situation, we then become fatigued, burned out and run down. When Qi level is weak the immune system too is weak. So when fatigued, sickness invariably follows. Then comes the enforced rest at home or in hospital and the ubiquitous medication that must be taken until the last days of life. Medications interfere with Qi but the average person taking these medicines can be too disconnected from his body to even notice.

Your Qi level, as it is at this very moment, is the result of your parents’ combined Qi (the good and the bad), together with that gained since birth, from food, water, air and exercise/rest. (The more you exercise the body with breathing fresh air and relaxation, and without exhausting it, the more it recharges, just like a car battery.) So you can take the Qi your parents gave you, use it wisely to go beyond life expectancy or you can squander it hastily.

Everything we do in life uses Qi, so we must spend it wisely. Eating the wrong food, in large amounts, uses a lot of Qi for digestion and this results in the feeling of heaviness and sleepiness. Even breathing can waste Qi unnecessarily when it is not natural. Reading, especially at the computer, uses our Qi and weakens our vision, so it is important to take frequent short breaks in order to let the eyes recover and avoid eyestrain. Many men complain of exhaustion and their doctors cannot diagnose the problem, but Chinese medical doctors would be able to detect that they have weakened kidney Qi through immoderate sexual intercourse. People complain of symptoms but remain unwilling to restore balance themselves by making necessary recommended lifestyle changes, especially if it involves depriving themselves of pleasure.

Many patients today undergoing chemotherapy use Qigong and/or Chinese medicine to help remedy the symptoms of treatment (aching muscles and coldness in the bones) instead of using Qigong as the primary treatment. During the days they practice they feel better because their Qi level has been elevated but after the ensuing chemotherapy session they feel terrible as the treatment damages the kidneys and erases all the good Qi cultivated from practice. So, the patient takes one step forward and three steps back. No matter what the illness may be, the only way to truly recover is to bring up the Qi level so the body has sufficient Qi to combat and overcome the illness. When the Qi is not strong enough, illness gains ascendancy and ultimately triumphs, resulting in a weakened state of health or death.

The factors that determine our Qi are (mostly) under our direct control. Therefore, largely, our lives are the result of our choices.