Friday, August 12, 2011

I Do Not Believe In Energy

Okay, let's be more specific here.

Of course there is energy. It is equivalent to mass times speed of light squared. It is present as electromagnetism, the weak and the strong force, as sunlight and movement, and of course, it runs through all of our bodies in the form of chemo-electrical nerve impulses and chemically bound ions, as long as we're alive.

What I do not believe in is chi (or qi), a mystical fluidum that cannot be measured or otherwise objectively perceived, but is still supposed to somehow "be there", ready to be influenced and manipulated by puny humans.

I think that there is good reason to only believe what is actually proven to be there. And there is also excellent reason to mistrust anyone who claims to be able to manipulate unproven mystical powers, even moreso if they make a big fat show of it and have a huge flock of followers.

Ever wondered about those qi gong "masters" who are seemingly able to throw people around the room against their will and beyond any physical explanation - just by focusing their qi? Well, duh... perhaps it's time to look into why those "masters" only ever seem to be able to demonstrate their magic powers on their own followers - and how, as soon as they are to work their qi on a non-believer, they always come up with the wildest of excuses. Like, "today is a bad day for qi gong" (lame), "It would be unethical to show this to the uninitiated" (really? why?), or my all-time favourite "I would hurt him so bad it's not worth it" (at least that one's funny, albeit unintentionally so).

So... no qi going 'round. And still, I'm an avid qi gong practitioner, and as the title of this blog suggests, I'm also into tantra... an awful lot, actually.

So how can I rationalize this obvious contradiction away?

Umm... *rolls up biblical sleeves* well, it's all symbolic, ya knows?

Naaah. Not symbolic AT ALL. Quite the contrary, actually.

I like to distinguish three seperate elements: a) my actual physical/mental experience at that moment; b) my conscious visualisations; c) my theory and interpretation of the experience

In other words:

I feel whatever I'm feeling while I'm consciously breathing and working my PC muscle; this feeling is there whether I can explain it or not. If I start conceptualizing this feeling, I can compare it to other things - it feels LIKE an energy flow through my body. (That obviously doesn't mean that it IS an energy flow; big fat conceptual mistake there! Our inner perceptions are obviously flawed, as our nervous system isn't very much equipped for that - ever had a wound in your mouth, and touched it with your tongue? It feels much bigger than it really is, doesn't it?)

By visualising this energy flow, the feeling gets even more intense. The line between the feeling and the visualization gets blurred and sometimes completely vanishes, and thus in my mind at that moment, the feeling IS an energy flow. My mind has no other frame of reference, and thus, this is what it will come up with.

Now, when theorizing about it later on, one will most probably turn to the philosophical framework one is used to: If you're a christian, you might interpret this as the Holy Spirit moving through you (though I highly doubt that there are many christians out there practicing tantra, but what do I know). If you're a taoist, you might call it the qi flowing through your meridians. The yogi might find her kundalini awakening. And if you're a materialist like myself, you will perhaps look for clenched and stretched muscles, nerves transmitting signals of relaxation, and the reward center in the brain getting activated.

In all those cases, the experience itself can only be beneficial. Your ideology or your interpretation really doesn't change the experience, at least as long as it doesn't keep you from having it. (I have already been tempted to teach a few past-middle-aged christian ladies how to breathe into their pelvic floors... believe me, resisting this temptation wasn't easy... NOT AT ALL EASY!!!)

So the interpretation doesn't really matter, there might as well be none at all... does it?

Well, yes and no. Sure, we can all just join hands and enjoy.

But for one, as the buddha taught, coming up with explanations is so deeply human as to be almost unavoidable.

And secondly - and, I think, much more importantly - if we can come up with a good and solid scientific explanation, tested with the utmost scientific vigour, then we can use this knowledge for even more pleasure, even more healing, even better orgasms. Of course the trap is to make a sport and a tournament out of it and thus spoil the fun - but this trap is there anyway, even the most "spiritual" people somehow manage to engage in contests of who is "even more spiritual" than the next person.

So, to sum it up: Enjoy the experience, and enjoy making up an explanation for the experience later on! And if you cannot find any explanation, don't worry - it'll be fun anyway.


  1. Lots of helpful information in this post. I plan to try some of these. Thanks for the insights.

  2. I have never understood the chi or qi vs energy battle. I mean to me it just seems like another word for it.

  3. I feel a little more wise. Ha! Thanks for the input.