Being a Taiji/Qigong practitioner and teacher, I am frequently asked about the art, the why, how, about, what-if, belief, tall-tale, deep-meaning, etc…kind of questions.  The answers are basically easy.  There are evidence-based proofs of the efficacy of the art on many levels, and there are hundreds of thousands of amazing testimonies, records of martial prowess and miraculous healings, and there is the old proof-in-the-pudding of practical experience: just try it.

While I am thankful for these basic foundations, they are still just that: basic.  They don’t get anywhere near the real essence of this practice.  Unfortunately, I don’t think anything really does, at least in terms of language, the symbolic representation of something else.  This “something else” is experience.  There are aspects of Taiji/Qigong practice that just do not conform to words.  One could say there is nothing to say about it and be correct.  Not because there is nothing worth discussing or reporting on, but because there is no language that does the practice real justice.

It is common to equate Qi with energy, but it is much more than that.  It is energy, both bioelectrical and environmental.  But that further leads us to an understanding of Qi as Primordial, as the creative aspect of the Universe.  It is that too.  It is the cause and the effect of positive emotion, and the power of the wind and of gravity.  It is the “stuff” of miracles, that in the end aren’t really so miraculous as much as they are unusual.  It is information vibrating at countless different levels.  On some levels it conforms to intention and is moved, on others it is much greater and moves.  But ultimately it is not some separate entity in a dualistic/pluralistic existence.  It is a part of the whole that we can partially experience.

In any case, when we engage in our practice we are immersing ourselves in Qi, this “thusness” that creates, destroys, and recreates our bodies, our world, the Universe.  The more we practice the more familiar we become with this power.  We can learn to utilize it and cooperate with it.  Our personal energy levels increase and improve in efficiency.  Our bodies heal.  Our minds broaden.  Our souls awaken.  Our lives become simpler and easier.  Our capacity for compassion increases along with self-awareness, self-confidence, and intuition.  Ultimately we may recognize that we are nothing less than this energy.  There is no real separation between us and/or between us and That.  We are touched and moved on many levels, and most of them are not only beyond description, but the experiences themselves are generally personal and not the kind of thing one is inclined to share.  Even if one did, most people wouldn’t come close to understanding.

When we look at the language of many teachers of spirituality and esoterica we find confusion, metaphor, and allusion.  It is easy to dismiss this or, worse, try to understand it literally.  But if one engages in the practices deep enough, the language is no longer so flighty, ambiguous, and beyond understanding.  It begins to make sense as it is.  It is the best one can do given the subject matter.