Qi, Resonance, & Unity Consciousness
This post is quotes ideas from a few books that have been impactful on my own understanding of Qi, from Taoist perspectives, which teach a person to live in their heart. Hopefully you will enjoy some excerpts from these Chinese texts and relate them to an overarching idea of unity consciousness —thinking and acting in ways that unite us rather than divide us.
Dualistic thinking — or dualistic consciousness — is an “us vs. them” syndrome. Typical to Western though and scientific reductionism, it stems from an idea of separateness and difference— for instance, that the body and mind are separate and should be treated us such in healing.
Although we can find ways in which our differences create uniqueness, this way of thinking can create alienation, ignorance, and loss of true Self — where truth can get clouded and an unhealthy relationship to fear can take the reigns. Let’s not also forget that healthy forms of fear do exist.
In order to reinvigorate the spirit of more unifying principles that encourage a way of perceiving reality in a vastly expanded way rather than a limited way, I’d like to turn our attention to ancient, Chinese concepts of natural law that harmonize our relationship nature/reality.
To reshape common dualistic thought processes prevalent in our American culture is to resolve the once unifying principles of health. At one time, our understanding of the mind-energy-body relationship was inherently connected to the ecology of the earth and natural law — derived from nature rather than rules determined by society.
We’ll begin by exploring definitions of resonance and clarify the Western concept of Qi as vital energy, which “invokes a worldview the Chinese never had, a worldview in which matter and energy are different things” (1). To the Chinese, matter, and energy are inseparable. They are unified.
In a single syllable, the word Qi proclaims one of the deepest root intuitions of Chinese civilization (1)…
“Things influence other things because they ‘connect’ or ‘elicit’ what is already a ‘disposition’ in things. This ability for one thing to influence another is called gang ying, which is usually translated resonance.
Resonance can be defined as the quality in a sound of being deep, full, and reverberating. There is a harmonizing effect of resonance.
If Qi is the link, resonance is the method.
“The Qi of the sun, rain, and soil resonate with the Qi of the seed to bring forth a plant that already contains the germ of the plant and qualities that the sun, rain, and soil touch.
“Resonance is the process “by which a thing, when stimulated, spontaneously responds according to the natural guidelines of the particular phases of vital energy engendered in itself and active in the situation.” (2)
One Qi elicits the propensity of another Qi that shares a similar kind of ‘frequency.’ Things ‘energize’ each other. Through resonance, one Qi evokes another. Causality is relationships of resonance and resemblance. Connection, contact, and compulsion is the intimacy of similar Qi.
“To call Qi energy or life force is probably as erroneous as it is to call it matter…the underlying Chinese metaphysical assumption is significantly different from the Cartesian dichotomy between spirit and matter. It can very well be characterized as a general Chinese worldview, the notion of humanity as forming one body with the universe. The Chinese believe that the human ‘cosmos in miniature’ is a statement of relationship and ‘fact.’” (1)
As we relax into the parallel nature of our human condition to that of the harmonious natural rhythm of the universe, seemingly chaotic events begin to take the shape of an underlying divine order of governance that we can surrender to.
We see the way that ‘things’ communicate. And there is a deepening of being. For the deepest level of communication is not communication, but communion, beyond speech.
The perpetual state of communion, unified wholeness or divine synchronicity is ever-present. Our conceptual ways of communicating often lock us into ideas, thought process, and one-sided perceptions. Thankfully, seeing the other side of our story can result in a resolution of dis-equilibrated perceptions.
What we can gather from this larger perspective is that things that seem to oppose us — in a way where we react, control, tense, and become rigid — can actually unify us and show up as feedback and to steer us to center, to the expansive beauty of our full spectrum of experience and deep belonging in a world that supports us in mysterious ways.
“Components of the universe, the Qi of herbs (plants, animal parts, and stones), and acupuncture points (junctions of the human rivers), lifestyle activities (movement and rest, food and relationships), or living environments (seasons, weather, or even air conditioning) share a resonating frequency that already exists in a person…The different layers of human life, as disparate as the corporeal psychological, ecological, and moral mutually interact for the same reason: their various forms of Qi resonate.
There is a clear parallel of Qi to the universal sound of OM in Sanskrit–all other sounds/vibrations stem from OM–as well as what can be generally defined as prana (breath, considered as a life-giving force).
”[Nei Jing eloquently] explains the reflection of the human body’s Qi with that of the composition of the universe:
Heaven is round and Earth is square; the roundness of the head and squareness of the Earth resonate accordingly. Heaven has the sun and moon, humans have two eyes; Earth has nine provinces, humans have nine orifices; Heaven has thunder and lightning, humans have sound and speech; Heaven has wind and rain, humans have joy and anger…Heaven has five musical sounds, humans have five Yin Organs…Heaven has winter and summer, humans have cold and hot; Heaven has Yin and Yang and humans have husband and wife…Earth has twelve rivers, humans have twelve Meridians…Heaven has morning and evening, humans go to sleep and awake…Earth has times of no crops, so humans can be childless. In these ways, Heaven and Earth resonate with humans (3).
“Qi is the cosmic breath that unites disparate forms. Qi is the thread connecting all being. Qi is the common denominator of all things–from mineral to human. Qi allows any phenomenon to maintain its cohesiveness, grow, and transform into other forms. Metamorphosis is possible because Qi takes myriad forms. Qi is the potential and actualization of transformation. The universe moves–ceaseslessly manifests and engenders because of Qi. Qi is the fundamental quality of being and becoming.
The conceptual model of Qi is useful because it explains and helps us understand the process of change in the observable world. Nothing is unchangeable than change itself. The key in aligning to the flow of change — however seemingly separative — in our lives is seeing the interconnectedness, interdependence, and symbiosis of all things.
We are truly supported by the challenges and changes in our lives. The difference in embracing this idea is the realization of choice. We can choose to see a challenge as a gift rather than something that divides/alienates us (to the Chinese, a crisis is synonymous with opportunity). We can choose to see the connecting glue in the fabric of our existence. We can choose to see the “universe’s underlying plastic texture that explains change, the inexhaustible ink of the world — Qi (1).
In recognizing our connection to Qi, we begin to change the resonance or vibration of our being. People feel this. The earth feels this. The universe feels this. There is effect. There is change. There is entrainment and transformation.
“Without Qi, there would be no Yin and Yang. Qi takes countless forms. Qi allows things to become other things. But Qi is more than cause. Qi is the cause, process, and outcome of all activity in the cosmos. Qi is the ceaseless throbbing, the substratum of the cosmos.
“For the Chinese, Qi is the pulsation of the cosmos itself; everything in the universe, inorganic and organic, is composed of and defined by its Qi (1). Seeing this principle with our third eye is higher awareness, leading to a world with higher resonance into unity consciousness…a world unto which we stand in awe to the utter beauty of the earth, scale of the sky ’s grandiosity, and mystery of multitudes of time — all co-mingling and creating heaven on earth.
1. Ted J Kaptchuk, “Qi and Resonance,” The Web that Has No Weaver: Understanding Chinese Medicine, 1947: 47–48
2. Harold D. Roth, “Psychlogy and Self-Cultivation in Early Taoist Thought,” in Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 1991:51: 599–650
3. Classic of the Spiritual Axis with vernacular Explanation. Confucian Thought, 1985:43
Above all, Kinan’s passion is activating human potential through areas of technology, health, and psychology. He strives to push human innovation to the limit and actively participate in the evolution of consciousness.
Kinan believes we can achieve this primarily in the ways we communicate intelligently, software being a backbone to global interconnectivity and the transformation of self-destructive behavior being the bridge to greater human connection and empowerment.