To Chi Or Not To Chi…

Does Chi exist? What is Chi? Chi can go by a number of different names: Chi, Ki or Qi, this energy is said to be the animating force behind all living things. In karate, we learn that our energy comes from the hara, or the belly area. This would be why ritual suicide in medieval japan was done by slicing open the belly as opposed to other “conventional” means.

But… Does it exist? This is the question that has been debated, especially in the Western world, for a very long time. Depending on what culture and/or background you may be referring to, Chi is what gives you the energy to keep going. We all have Chi and each person has the same amount throughout all of our lives. The use of that energy is simply allocated to different aspects as we get older. This would be one of the reasons why my 5-year old seems as though he has an endless pool of daddy-crushing energy while I wake up most mornings wondering if my body will actually get me out of bed.

It’s not magic or wild fantasy… I’ve seen some “scientists” speak about how Chi does not exist, there’s no evidence of it and there’s no way to prove its existence. Hmm. Perhaps they’re right, but some of the concepts behind Chi are also rooted in modern science. For example, the Law of Conservation of Energy teaches us that energy never ceases to exist; it is merely transformed or transferred. The amount of energy within a contained system remains constant.

So, ask yourself an important question: What are you? Are you simply the sum of your physical body? Nothing but a mass of tissue, water and bone? If so, what about the essence that makes you, well… you? The person you are, the sentience, the awareness, your personality and the living being that has put in years of existence in this life… What happens to that after you die? Is it simply a light switch that flicks off, or do you believe that your energy will be transformed or transferred?

Thinking about some of these questions can be scary. After all, no one likes to conceive of their own death. But as my uncle always says, “We only do TWO things in life; pay taxes and die!” The joke is many people get away from paying taxes. But death comes for us all. And the question of what comes after can yield anxious results.

I am totally on board with the fact that Chi isn’t some “magic” energy that can be harnessed. When you see people claiming to be able to push over opponents from behind a wall and shatter stone with the power of their Chi and other wild things, I can understand why people would be reluctant to believe or understand Chi. But just because a few charlatans have demonstrated fraudulently aspects, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

That certain “something,” the unspoken quality that makes you sentient and self-aware, can’t be denied. It makes no difference whether or not you believe in gravity; it’ll still keep you firmly rooted to the ground. The same can be said about the energy that makes you who you are. Whether you choose to believe in its existence or not, won’t change the fact that you are still here. ☯

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Shawn

I am a practitioner of the martial arts and student of the Buddhist faith. I have been a Type 1 Diabetic since I was 4 years old and have been fighting the uphill battle it includes ever since. I enjoy fitness and health and looking for new ways to improve both, as well as examining the many questions of life. Although I have no formal medical training, I have amassed a wealth of knowledge regarding health, Diabetes, martial arts as well as Buddhism and philosophy. My goal is to share this information with the world, and perhaps provide some sarcastic humour along the way. Welcome!

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