The Chi Effect

There’s no arguing that positive energy is contagious. Ask yourself how many times you’ve felt in a bit of a foul mood, only to be lifted up and singing along with a great, upbeat song on the radio… Positive energy creates positive results; a fact that more people should be able to recognize. By the same token, you can be in an excellent mood, only to be brought down by someone negative who is in a bad mood or spreading sad information. I was chatting about this very thing a short while ago with a colleague of mine from work.

I’ve never been one of those martial arts practitioners who put a great deal of stock into being able to “project” energy or that my Chi or Hara could be used as a weapon. There’s are plenty of idiots on YouTube professing that kind of thing. But there’s no arguing that we are all and everything is energy. Not only do basic physics say so, it’s probably one of the few points of existence that both science and religion agree on. At my core, I’m made of energy. You’re made of energy. The screen you’re reading this post on is energy. The entire world and all things are composed and made of energy.

If you’re still reading and aren’t convinced that I’m nuts, I bring this up because although I don’t believe in projecting energy to knock down opponents (There are seriously people who believe they can do this! Google it!), I can admit to being able to focus my energies into my strikes, my focus and my concentration. This is an entirely different ball game, and I’ve experienced it firsthand while training in karate. Just imagine those times when you’ve been floored by a workout but somehow dug deep and found the strength to carry on for that last little bit. That’s tapping into your energy!

For the purposes of this post, I refer primarily to Chi, because it’s more widely recognized as the vital energy flow that all people have. In karate, we usually refer to the Hara, which is defined as the focused centre of the body where the person’s true nature and vitality reside. But when I say “Hara,” I usually get confused looks. And I can admit that there are some differences, so since we’re discussing energy I’ll simply stick with Chi. Still with me? Good.

Decades ago, when I was younger and more about the skill than the meaning, I began noticing a certain phenomenon around my Sensei. Random people would often approach him and speak to him, sometimes to take photographs or simply ask how his day was going. I never thought much about it beyond considering it odd, considering there was usually a number of us around but he would usually be the only one approached. Then one day, such an encounter finally had me ask the question.

We were in Naha, Okinawa. The year was 2001 and I was 23-years old. I was full of the ol’ proverbial piss & vinegar and I was raring to train. But since the temperatures in Okinawa during the month of October reached somewhere in the low 40 degrees Celsius, Sensei felt our afternoons could best be spent relaxing on the beach. I should have been willing to relax and enjoy the sun and sand, but like I said: I was too focused on the skill than the meaning. So it irked me to no end that we were just sitting there, when we were actually in a Japanese prefecture and there was so much to see.

Anyway, Sensei was walking along the beach with a towel around his shoulders when five or six Okinawans approached him and started talking to him and asked to take photographs with him. I had seen similar things happen with him on numerous occasions, so I asked his wife, who was on the beach with us why this always seemed to be happening. She explained that it seemed as though people had always been drawn to him, without him ever trying or drawing attention to himself. It struck me as an odd thing. Until some years later, when it started happening to me.

Once my youthful shenanigans started dying away and I became more of an instructor and more about the art than the skill, I started to notice that people would often approach me without reason. Sometimes it would just be a general “Hi, how’s your day been?” But sometimes I would have random strangers approach me and talk to me at length without reason, without knowing me and without begging for change or trying to sign me up to their multi-level marketing scheme. It seemed as though I could manage to provide advice, encouragement and perk people up without much effort. Folks would often even come to me for advice, even if I never put myself out as someone who would provide it. I never paid much attention to it; until it went away.

The last three years have been the most difficult years of my life. I’ve been depressed, despondent and at my lowest. I’ve had some good times during those three years, such as the birth of my son Alexander. But it’s been rough waters and it’s taken some time for me to see bright shores ahead. They say you never know what you’ve got until it’s gone. I never noticed the effect I described above disappearing, until last weekend when it came back out of nowhere.

I was at the local corner store, checking my lotto ticket. Yeah, yeah, I know… Let’s move on as the lotto ticket isn’t the topic of the post. As I was walking towards my vehicle, a random elderly lady walked towards me and asked me how my day was going. I replied that it was going well. I thought it strange that she was walking towards me, specifically since there were about a dozen vehicles and people milling about. I thought that perhaps she’d ask me for money or something. I hate that I even think this way, but the world has made me this way. She approached and told me she was feeling very happy today as it was Mother’s Day and her children would be bringing her supper.

We chatted for several minutes about her children and how her day was going as well. When I mentioned my own children, she asked me to wish my wife a Happy Mother’s Day as well. I promised that I would. We wished each other a great remainder of our weekend and she carried on her way. When I got into the car, I recognized the phenomenon for what it was and when my wife asked, I explained that it was the “Chi Effect,” and sat in bewilderment for a few moments as I recognized that I had been lacking it for the past few years. It made me happy. It renewed my sense of how my life had changed.

I’m not a guru or a sage. I don’t profess to project my aura, I don’t practice Reiki and I believe my energy is my own and no one else’s. I’m not deeply rooted in metaphysics, although I will confess that I’ve studied it a bit. But what I do believe is that positive energy is contagious, and I believe that when you’re happy and you give off that positive energy, others will pick up on it. And I think that’s what happened with this lady and I, last weekend.

My life and existence have involved the martial arts in every respect. I’ve learned and developed to a level that I realize that the same aspects I’ve seen in Sensei in my younger years are now being reflected in me. The past couple of months have seen some of the shadows lifted from my soul. And the past month in specific has seen me happier than I’ve been in a long, long time. And I think that people can sense that, albeit in a passive way. As my wife once said, many years ago, “happiness heals.” Perhaps some new wounds are starting mend, with some old wounds beginning to make way for new happiness. Food for thought… ☯

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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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