The form of energy we are most commonly aware of in the West is the one the Taoists call chi or qi (pronounced chee). We call it adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in medical science. Another close Western equivalent is bio-photons, because chi is also light. People with lots of chi seem to have a radiance about them as if they are full of light.
Chi also makes you feel light. The more chi you have the lighter you feel and the less you have the heavier you feel. Depression is a word that refers to that heavy feeling like you’re being pressed down, so that you can hardly move.
Chi makes us feel good about life as well. If you have a lot of chi you tend to see the world as a lovely place full of light and full of people who mean well. If you’re deficient in chi you tend to see the world as dark and people as inherently bad.
Where do we get our chi from?
Chi relates to two of the organ systems; the lungs and the spleen. Alternatively we could say the respiratory system and the digestive system. We get our everyday energy mainly from the air we breathe, but also from the nutrients we digest.
Chi is your everyday energy. It’s the energy you need to move around, think and get through the day. Your everyday energy comes from what you digest and what you breathe. Breathing is the primary source of energy. The quality of the air you breathe and the way you breathe has a lot more to do with your health than anything you consume. We hear very little about this in our culture because nobody can make money out of selling breath. We all tend to breathe from the chest because of accumulated tension in the body but we need to breathe from the belly for health and energy.
The air doesn’t just contain oxygen and nitrogen, it also contains chi. We can’t measure it yet but it’s there. The more high energy the environment, such as near the sea or a waterfall, the more chi you can breathe in. It’s transformative to your energy levels. It’s fundamental and nothing can replace it.
Then there’s the digestion. It’s not just about what you eat. What you take into your body is important, and you need to observe the basics about healthy eating. But it’s also about the way you eat. As with correct breathing, too few people focus on the correct way of eating. Even if you eat the healthiest stuff on the planet, if you wolf it down in a cortisol-induced frenzy as many do, then it will harm you. It may even cause more harm than if you ate a steak and kidney pie with chips very slowly and thoroughly until the food was liquefied. It’s that big a factor.
The question you need to ask if not just what do I eat but what do I digest? If you’re not chewing thoroughly then the answer is, not much. Dr Robert Young heals people by giving them nothing but lots of green liquid and blended food. He said the body isn’t designed to digest solids, only liquids. Before the advent of blenders and juicers, all we had were our teeth. A healthy digestion depends on using either your teeth or a blender to chew your food to a liquid state before swallowing it. To do that, you need to be relaxed. A good way to relax is to breathe! It’s a good idea to make a practice of breathing before you eat. Ideally you’d do 5 or 10 minutes of breathing practice but even just taking a couple of deep slow breaths into the belly through the nose, calming and centering yourself, will be of great benefit. This breathing switches off your sympathetic nervous system (ie your cortisol-based flight or fight system) and turns on your parasympathetic nervous system (your rest and digest system). That way you can digest and absorb the nutrients from your food much more efficiently.