By Stefan Stenudd
I'm a Swedish author and aikido instructor. In addition to fiction, I've written several books about life force concepts and East Asian traditions. I'm also a historian of ideas, researching ancient thought and mythology. 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:
Cosmos of the Ancients
The Greek philosophers and what they thought about cosmology, myth, and the gods. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.
Tao Te Ching
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.
Sunday Brunch with the World Maker
Fiction. A brunch conversation slips into the mysterious, soon to burst beyond the realm of possibility. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.
Qi Energy Exercises
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
Life Force Ideas Around the World
Here are the Q entries of life energy beliefs around the world and from antiquity to the present. An edited and expanded version of this Life Energy A to Z is published in my book Life Energy Encyclopedia
Qi/chi/ch’i is the Chinese concept of life force. The word originally means
steam, but has also for a very long time been used for breath. The
pictogram consists of two parts, whereof one stands for steam, wind, air,
and the like, and the other part is rice, the dominating food for traditional
China. Of course, the steaming rice is the one that is cooked, and thereby
has become edible. Thereby the sign shows nourishment, an energy crucial
to life, which in its form is similar to steam and wind, and in its nature is
related to breathing. The word also has many other meanings, connected
to life spirit in Chinese and Japanese tradition, such as: mood, soul,
intention, interest, attention, temper, wrath, essence, sense, spark. Qi
permeates everything alive, but also more or less everything else in
nature. It can have different qualities, and vary in power from person to
person as well as from one moment to another. Inside humans, it is said to
flow in certain courses, meridians, and where this flow is halted or
hindered it can be stimulated by different types of techniques, for example
acupuncture, qigong, dao-in and taiji (see these words). In the Eastern
martial arts, qi is exercised as a way to mobilize one’s own power and
defeat the opponent. When transcribed from Japanese, the word is usually
Qigong (also spelled chi kung) is a Chinese method for training the life
energy qi (see this word) on one’s own, with a number of ritualized body
movements and breathing techniques, where posture is of particular
importance. Gong means approximately ‘skill achieved through practice’.
The method may have its origin in China as early as the 17th century BC,
but the oldest known text on it is from the Han dynasty (206 BC - 220 CE),
during which the method was called dao-in (from Japanese transcribed do-in, see this word).
Quasi-electrostatic field is an expression from 1959 by the American
physicist Henry Margenau (1901-1997), intended to explain
parapsychological phenomena, especially ESP (extra-sensory perception).
Margenau claimed the necessity of backward-moving time to explain such
things. H. A. C. Dobbs presented a quasi-field theory in 1965, where there
were psi-trones, linked to two-dimensional time.
Quinta essentia see quintessence.
Quintessence (Greek pempte ousia, ‘fifth element’, Latin quinta essentia) is
according to Aristotle (384-322 BC) the substance that the celestial bodies
consist of, contrary to the four elements on Earth: earth, water, fire, and
air, established by Empedocles (c.490-430 BC). The fifth element is
according to Aristotle perfect and transparent, with an even circular
movement. It keeps the other four elements intact. He also called it aither,
eter. In Greek mythology, Aither was the light air high up in heaven,
contrary to Aer, which was darker air closer to Earth. Medieval alchemists
tried to extract quintessence. It has certain similarities to life energy such as qi, but not as
many as the Greek concept pneuma (see this word). See also prime mover.
Life Energy Beliefs A to Z
Life Energy Books
I have written two books on the subject of life energy:
Qi, prana, spirit, ruach, pneuma, and many other life forces around the world explained and compared. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.
The life energy qi
) explained, with several very easy exercises to awaken, increase, and use it. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.