Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Chi (breath energy) explained

In Taoism, chi is the force that animates the universe (©2007 Publications Int'l, Ltd.)

Chi [breath, spirit, spiritus, prana, qi] is a primal substance that animates the universe in Taoism, a mysterious force at the center of ancient Chinese myths and legends that also brought attention to Tai Chi and the Tao [sometimes defines simply as the way or the path of least resistance].

Chi is the force that sets the world and everything in it into motion. Chi is also the force that sustains all things once they are created. [In Buddhist Abhidharma, chi is the "air element," one of the four fundamental characteristics of matter. It is responsible for movement and does not refer to mere oxygen entering and exiting the body. It refers to a far more subtle energy that diffuses throughout the body just as wind does.]

The Idea of Chi
The Taoist concept of chi is not easily accepted by Westerners. It is not a concept that appears in our mainstream religions [except for Christian texts in Latin that speak of spiritus and the "holy spirit," where spirit means "breath"] or philosophies [except for the now defunct theory of the Four Elements]. More