By Stefan Stenudd
I'm a Swedish writer and instructor of the peaceful martial art aikido. I've written several books about qi and other lifeforce concepts. I'm also a historian of ideas, researching the thought patterns in creation myths. My personal website: stenudd.com
The life energy exists in many traditions, such as qi (chi) in China, prana in India, pneuma in Ancient Greece, spiritus in Latin, and vitalism in philosophy. Here they are all explained.
Books by Stefan Stenudd:
The Greek philosophers and what they thought about cosmology, myth, and the gods, by Stefan Stenudd. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.
The Taoism of Lao Tzu Explained. The great Chinese classic, translated and extensively commented by Stefan Stenudd. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.
The ancient Chinese life energy qi (chi) explained and how to exercise it. Click the image to visit.
Taoism, the old Chinese philosophy of life, based on Tao, the Way. Click the image to visit.
Creation stories from around the world, and the ancient cosmology they reveal. Click the image to visit.
Life Energy Beliefs I
Life Force Ideas Around the World
Implosion energy is a theory from the beginning of the 20th century by the Austrian forester Viktor Schauberger (1885-1958). He studied nature, especially water, and found a constantly returning movement – spiral toward a midpoint. This implosive force, conserving the system’s energy, he saw as an expression for an underlying formative force (see this expression), which attracts matter, from the microcosm to whole galaxies. He also claimed to be able to transform water, by spiral movements, into combustion fuel.
Imponderabilia (Latin for ‘unweighable’) has in the European tradition been used as a term for substances and phenomena that have not been possible to measure in weight or width, such as light, heat, magnetism, and electricity – or more generally, unexplainable natural phenomena.
Inebriation either by drugs or as a temporary state of mind caused in some other way, is well-known in most – if not all – human cultures. Many rituals have it as an important ingredient, sometimes caused by drugs and sometimes by intense physical activity, such as dancing, music, or other strenuous activity, often over a long period of time. Among shamans, it is a way to enter an altered mental state, which opens for visions and other extraordinary sensitivity. It exists in most religions as a way of devotion, and of experiencing the divine. It can often be described as a method of increasing the life force level or flow, bringing about the sense of inebriation, although the aim might be another one. This state of mind is similar, if not identical to ecstacy and euphoria (see these words).
Inergy is a term for intelligent control of energy, introduced by the American neurophysiologist Andrija Puharich (1918-1995), who in the beginning of the 1970's studied the disputed psychokinesis of Uri Geller (1946-). Puharich also introduced the concept psi plasma (see this expression).
Inspiration (from the Latin spirare, breathe) is the term for an experience that comes close to that of the life energy qi. It is an uplifting feeling, almost like inebriation, which is expressed through creativity. The connection to breathing is evident – inhalation in particular. As inhalation relates to inspiration, exhalation does to the creative act. In Western tradition, inspiration is something one is overcome with, or deserted by, out of control by personal will. It is mainly expressed through artistic work and religious experience. It can also be connected to devotion, where the religious as well as the artistic expression is seen as a kind of worship of creation and its eventual maker. See also ecstacy, euphoria, flow, and peak experience.
The inspiration of St. Matthew. Painting by Michelangelo Caravaggio, 1602.
Integrative tendency is an expression introduced by the Hungarian author Arthur Koestler (1905-1983) for the driving force in humans that strives toward union with the surroundings into a greater whole – contrasting to the individual sense of being unique and complete in oneself. Koestler compared it to the two sides of the Janus face, which to him represented the extroverted and introspective sides of humans. The sum of the inner and the outer is holon, the whole human. The integrative tendency is sometimes mentioned as a synonym to life energy such as qi, which is not accurate.
Two-faced Janus. Roman coin. See Integrative tendency.
It, the (in German das Es) is a term introduced in 1923 by the German physician Georg Walther Groddeck (1866-1934) for the unconscious, which he regarded as controlling the human, and being the cause to human diseases. Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), who was in frequent contact with Groddeck, made use of the concept, but with the name id (from the Latin idem, meaning approximately ‘the same’) and a slightly different definition. Groddeck’s ‘It’ is sometimes mentioned as a synonym to life energy such as qi, which is doubtful.
Itz is the word among the Maya Indians for a sacred essence in humans, a floating life force connected to bodily fluids like blood, tears, breast milk, and semen. It also means flower nectar. The word is part of the name Itzamna, the deity who according to legend introduced cacao, and ascertains that the power itz flows from the world of the deities to that of the humans. Itzam means “one who works with itz” and was what the Maya called their shamans. Today itz is used as a word for witch. See also ch’ulel.
The deity Itzamna.
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
BooksI have written two books on the subject of life energy: Qi: Increase your Life energy and Life Energy Encyclopedia. This website has material from the latter. Here are the two books: