Chi (Hei in Cantonese) 氣 is “energy,” but it means much more than that if you want to dig into the subject. It depends on how we use this word. If you want to combine it with different things, such as 空氣, it becomes the “air” that you breathe in, and 氧氣 is oxygen. People who dig into Taoism often find this word interesting and “deep” because they cannot understand it. Many people are saying “chi is fake” because there are scammers doing things like trying to “show” you what “chi” is by doing magic tricks such as lighting paper on fire over distance or moving a break by distance without touching it. They all wanted to convince people to believe that “chi” is some kind of invisible power inside your body that you can use it like a superpower; move things without touching, manipulate people’s body without contact, or even hurt people without a physical contact. It’s all wrong, very wrong. That’s not chi at all; that’s 100% lies and scams.
In Taoism, when we refer to “chi,” we are referring to two types of Chi in general. One is preheaven, and one is postheaven, and they are energies you can understand if I explain them without using big words or fancy packaging.
Human beings all have preheaven energies, or what we call 先天氣(炁), which is generated from our preheaven energy body (法身). Our energy body is like our shadow, which lives and move with us but in another “layer” or dimension that we cannot see with our naked eyes. This energy body is shaped like an egg with a condensed and intense power in the center core, called the heart, or the Faat Sum 法心. This heart contains the “preheaven chi.” The heart is like a battery which fuels us for a day of life. When the heart has energy, which is when your preheaven energy is high and active, you have feelings and direction in life, and you will also feel confident. The preheaven energies die down; then your heart feels weak; you have no power to stay alive, awake, and do things. You want to sleep, and you feel the lack of power to keep going. The preheaven energies give you mental strength, which keeps you focused in life and will be faithful to yourself, meaning that you will trust yourself for your actions or beliefs.
When this energy in the heart manifests, it goes to another dimension or layer of you, which fuels the soul and body. This will create the postheaven chi, or what we call 後天氣 which stays in your soul. This energy of your soul is very important because it gives you inspiration, ideas, and the power to process information in your head. You will also be able to push the body to move, including the organs and physical elements you cannot “touch.” When the postheaven chi is lacking, the body is unmotivated, weak, and powerless. Then you start to experience brain fog, learning disability, and many things will go wrong “in the head.”
As you can see, preheaven chi relates to the heart, and postheaven chi relates to the soul. The heart feels the soul thinks; that’s how we operate, and you can understand chi without feeling vague and blurry now.
Preheaven energies create gods because the power of faith creates them. It’s like you believe something, and keep believing in it, then you are non-stop investing your heart energy into this “account,” which is why the power increases over time. As long as this power keeps growing, it will become a source of power that can help you when you need it. Imagine a tribe that believes in a bear god, and they keep worshiping this bear statue for generations; lots of heart energy is put into this account, and that is why when people ask the bear god for help, the energy will go to them and help them. This is how all religions work. The work of art with preheaven energies is what we call magic, very simple.
Postheaven energies can affect things greatly too. For example, if someone keeps thinking of you and venting their anger and frustration on you mentally, this will create a bunch of negative postheaven energies in their soul. If they dump it onto something, such as punching and hitting your photo, the energies will be vented onto it. When they destroy the photo, their soul energy will go to you; that is when their postheaven energy blends into yours. Like hot water mixed with cold water, they even out and become something in the middle. Your soul energy was fine today, but this negative bomb came in and got you, then you will suddenly be affected negatively. You will have weird thoughts, negative thoughts, and bad ideas, and even keep doing things that harm yourself, such as dropping your phone, bumping your toes by accident or breaking a tooth because you happen to walk into something like a light post outside and bang yourself like a blind duck. Things can happen!
Chi is not hard to understand. Preheaven chi and postheaven chi are something that we use every day. You do not have to keep “collecting” and “accumulating” chi in your body; it’s automatically generated! The goal is not to “accumulate” as much as possible, don’t get it wrong. It’s not like how it is in the video game where you have a bar, and you keep doing things to max the bar, then can do a super-move etc. It’s not like that!
Chi Kung, or Qi Gong, is a cultivation that exercises the chi in your body. We do things with the physical body to “teach” our energy body to react and do the corresponding things we want. We usually sense the chi and act based on the chi’s condition. However, Chi Kung is working the other way; like reverse engineering, we will control the energy body and take back the wheel ourselves to force it to do what we want it to do. For example, to detox, to gather chi into the arm, or whatever that we need it to do. Chi Kung is not religious, but it could be religiously involved. Anyone can do Chi Kung if they want to learn and have a master to guide them. However, religious chi kung does much more.
To keep this blog post short, you should know what chi is by now. Chi is energy, and there are two types of Chi; preheaven and postheaven. Preheaven chi gives power to your heart, promoting feeling, focus and awareness. Postheaven chi gives power to your soul, which helps you think and process information and pushes your physical body to move and take action. Any questions? Ask! Ordain to become a Taoist, and you will have all the answers you wanted all these years; no need to hop around out there and bang your head into nails!