Tuesday, April 24, 2007

What Is Internal Energy?

Kirlian Photography Of Energy In The Hand

From the comments in a previous post:
ta2urnfs said...
Just wondering, where does the internal energy come from?

Well, I don't know if I can adequately answer this question, but here are some thoughts: For thousands of years The Chinese and other cultures have believed in pathways of energy in the body that are not specificlly associated with blood flow or nerve impulses. In Yoga this is represented in the "Chakras", in Chi-Kung (Qigong) it is found in meridians associated with the organs and structure of the body. There is "pre-natal chi", which one is born with, and "post-natal chi which we can gain or loose. It is believed that through certain techniques, this mysterious energy can be cultivated and improved for health and strength.
This is obviously a controversial subject, and is constantly debated. Let's look at how western science tries to examine this subject:
From Wikipedia-
"Bioelectromagnetism (sometimes equated with bioelectricity) refers to the electrical, magnetic or electromagnetic fields produced by living cells, tissues or organisms. Examples include the cell potential of cell membranes and the electric currents that flow in nerves and muscles, as a result of action potentials."
..."Biological cells use bioelectricity to store metabolic energy, to do work or trigger internal changes, and to signal one another. Bioelectromagnetism is the electric current produced by action potentials along with the magnetic fields they generate through the phenomenon of electromagnetism."..."Bioelectromagnetism is an aspect of all living things, including all plants and animals. Bioenergetics is the study of energy relationships of living organisms. Biodynamics deals with the energy utilization and the activities of organisms. Some animals have acute bioelectric sensors, and others, such as migratory birds, are believed to navigate in part by orienting with respect to the Earth's magnetic field. Also, sharks are more sensitive to local interaction in electromagnetic fields than most humans. Other animals, such as the electric eel, are able to generate large electric fields outside their bodies."
(D.R.); The way I see it, our bodies are nothing short of huge electro-chemical batteries. What happens sometimes when you have a thought that makes you worry? That electrical impulse sends a message to glands and organs that make your stomache seem upset (electro-chemical interaction). Likewise, when you get scared or suprised, your breathing becomes short and rapid.
So the idea is, through meditative and posture techniques you can have more control over how your battery charges and discharges. For instance, if your attitude (electrical impulse) makes your breath short and rapid (chemical) then by controlling your breathing you calm the mind.
Chinese texts also state the obvious that the food you eat and the air you breathe affect postnatal chi also. This is one reason people like to practice chi kung in forests, where the air is clean.
I have also written in the Dojo Rat archives about the subject of light touch and no-touch knockouts, one of the most controversial aspects of this subject in the martial arts (see "No Touch Knockouts?" Jan 4 2007)
In summary; the Internal Martial Arts practice chi cultivation through deep Psychophysical (mind-body) integration, as opposed to the detachment of Trancendental meditation. This is generally different from the hard or external arts that use more muscular strength in the limbs of the body and less core or whole-body action. All martial arts that I know of practice some type of meditation or energy cultivation however.
As far as how I precieve chi energy, the only thing I can say is after a session of calm, focused internal training such as Tai Chi Chuan, Bagua or Chi Kung, I often feel warmth in my palms, and an occasional "shiver" up my spine. Colors are more vivid and the senses more alert. It's like a tune-up on your car. I have also experimented with dowsing rods to find buried water and electric lines, which I believe is somehow related.
I encourage any other thoughts or suggestions from readers...

1 comment:

Hand2Hand said...

I haven't seen a better explanation of what is "chi" or "internal energy."

It's common knowledge that all things give off an electrical charge and, I believe, that under certain circumstances, this field can be felt and seen. Sharks can track their prey by sensing the electrical field through receptors in the nose.

I also feel a variety of sensations while doing chi gong.

For example, I've done the "Embrace the World" posture on cool winter days. (That's the only time it gets cool in Tampa, FL.)

After a few minutes, passersby can see clouds of steam rising all around me from the heat generated by that activity.

Another thing that happens to me is that my sense of touch gets much more acute. When I was learning Chen Taiji and doing a lot of ETW posture, it got so I hated my clothes. I could be wearing a baggy sweatsuit, but it would feel like I was wearing skintight jeans and a shirt that was two sizes too small.