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what is qi? part 4,329

another meAcupuncturists (and CM practitioners of all sorts) are often asked to explain Qi.  It is, after all, the stuff we work with, and when a patient wants to know why we’ve chosen a particular point, we can’t really explain that without explaining Qi.

The easiest definition is energy.  Sometimes I say it is life force that’s in everything: as long as it’s there, we’re alive.  When it’s gone, we’re dead.  Or I will say it is movement.  The ancient Chinese texts of acupuncture teach that where Heaven and Earth meet, there is movement between the two, and that is Qi.

We also talk about Upright Qi, Food Qi, Evil Qi.  There is tree Qi, and human Qi, and Karen Qi (insert your name), Liver Qi, Stomach Qi, Stagnant Qi, Exuberant Qi.  The list goes on and on.

The truth is, Qi is too immense to be defined.  In fact, when we try to define it, we limit it, box it in.  That’s ok.  When we live in physical form, it’s hard for us to grasp something like Qi (or the Dao, the Divine, God), and so we take parts of it and slap a name and some functions on so we can begin to understand it, put it into a form we can use.

So yesterday, I met with a man to talk about a program I’d like to offer through Greenfield Community Acupuncture.  Interesting guy, just about quivering with energy.  He was talking about his journey with Qi Gong, really getting into this very interesting story, and then he gave me a definition of Qi I’d never heard before:

Qi is universal knowledge.


That is so cool!  Universal knowledge, the knowledge of the Universe.  Think about that.  The knowledge of creation, the knowledge to fly a helicopter, the knowledge to read DNA, all knowledge, even that which hasn’t been discovered by anyone or learned by me, personally.  Awesome!

Why awesome?  Well, because I’m Qi.  That means I am this knowledge.  When I figure out how to tap into it reliably, I can go fly that helicopter.  Really.  Ok, it kinda makes my hair hurt to understand this, but if I stop trying to understand it and just accept it, wow, look out!

My brain started fizzing off in all directions.  This is how I understand what horses have to say – and why horses are in fact able to bring messages to their humans.  This is where I get the information I impart to my patients about the messages imbedded in their pain, their distress, in their lives.

Holy cow.  I’m so going to have fun with this.  You can, too!


ps  The man is Matthew Lawrence of Laughing Mountain Healing Arts, and he’ll be coming to Greenfield in September to teach the Dragon’s Way.  Start saving your pennies, friends, because you’re going to want to do this!


  1. April 30, 2013    

    Love that definition. Now you have my brain fizzing off in all directions. Thanks for sharing.

  2. David David
    May 7, 2013    

    I missed “qi” part 3,217. Could you reprint that one?

    • May 8, 2013    

      LOL, David. My first response wasn’t printable… Let’s just say I’ll have to search that one out for you! :)

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