Sunday, October 6, 2013

Chi and DMT – Two Accessible Mysteries That Evade Scientific Validation

“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.” –Max Planck, ‘Where Is Science Going?’ 

There are some mysteries in life so common that nearly anyone can experience them, even though no one can fully explain them. The phenomenon of Chi, a universal life-force energy, and that of DMT, the psychedelic visionary compound produced within many plants, mammals and even humans, are integral parts of natural life that can greatly elevate mind, body, and spirit when experienced by an ordinary person. 

Our society, primarily organized around labor, consumption, and the ethics of profiteering and exploitation, renders the spirit and our sense of natural wonder nonessential, for the most part. As a result, life too easily becomes unfulfilling and dull for people in our splendid, but meaningless material world, and too many of us come to find ourselves in a rut, one dull day after another, and life loses its significance. 

Yet whatever toils we may face, we all do so together under the splendor of the cosmos, as individual sparks of consciousness amongst a shimmering collective, and we can choose to make ourselves available to mystery, wonder and curiosity, as not all of the riddles of this life have been solved. Inspiration is instrumental in the upkeep of morale and spirit, especially in these toxic times, and it has forever been a key motivator of human achievement. The ability to allow for mystery and to give respect to uncertainty is a source of boundless inspiration at a time when discouragement is the norm. 

The personal discovery that a person has real-world access to the astounding mysteries of Chi and the life-changing effects of DMT can be a dramatic catalyst for personal transformation. It often forces a severe re-construction of one’s worldview, re-informing one of the deep connection we all have to the natural phenomenon of the earth and instigating a needed re-evaluation of priorities toward those more openly centered around beneficial and practical habits. These powerful natural phenomenon have the power, when directly experienced, to wake people up to their higher potential and to inspire a break from the ordinarily self-destructive patterns of normal life. 

Chi – The Life-Force of Chinese Medicine 

Chi is the common term used in Chinese medicine, martial arts and internal energy arts for the universal life force which permeates all things. It is a broad concept used to identify a wide range of meta-physical and spiritual concepts that play in the balance between life and death in our universe. Chi, as a philosophical concept, offers a complex and subjective cosmology which seeks to illuminate the inter-dependent relationships among all living systems, big and small. 

For some, this concept presents an uncomfortable paradox in our logical world, and the experiential evidence of practicioners of these arts is incongruent with a scientific denial of the authenticity of the many phenomenon associated with Chi. Many millions of people regularly experience exceptional health and wellness, as well as mystical experiences, as a result from dedication to these arts, but only recently have these concepts begun to gain credibility in the Western mind. 

Acupuncturists and studios offering training in Tai Chi, Qi Gong and meditation can now be found in most American cities, and there are growing enrollments in Western schools for the regulated professional medical science of Chinese medicine. As a healing modality for therapy of pain and recovery from injury, Chinese energy healing continues to gain credibility among Western medical disciplines. While it is difficult, however, for the concept of Chi to be immediately understood and appreciated by most Westerners, the effects of Chi training are numerous, beneficial and eye-opening. According to John Vervaeke, Ph.D., a cognitive scientist and student of Qi Gong, some of the phenomenological properties of the direct experience of a dedicated practice cultivating Chi may include: 

  • Synesthetic properties – experiences which bridge the cognitive and the physical aspects of life. 
  • The sensation of a magnetic force or some guiding or leading force moving within and without the body. 
  • The accompaniment of a ‘liquid’ intelligence, a fluidity of thought and action, a feeling of being in the ‘zone’. 
  • Projected and extended feelings of mentally and physically operating outside of the body. 
  • Mystical experiences, often inducing ineffability, as they are difficult to articulate but generate happiness. 
  • A feeling of resonating and of oneness. 
  • A feeling of seeming to be dynamically connected to the environment. 
  • The marked ability to see deeper into reality. 
  • The interplay of polarity, such as the dynamic between intense concentration and absolute effortlessness. 
  • Mystical experience leading to permanent changes in personality and a sense of openness. 
  • Enhanced cognitive properties like insight, mind-sight, and foresight, such as picking up on people’s mental states. 

Although the Chinese have been studying and developing a system of holistic medicine around the concept of Chi for thousands of years, the scientific evidence to support the existence of chi is still largely limited to the experiences of those who practice and work with Chi, meaning that, as an actual science, it has yet to even become a fully-developed hypothesis. Skeptics are keen to argue that personal, direct experience with Chi is most likely a response to expectation conditioning and a repeated anticipation of response, but this explanation is unacceptable given the vast numbers of people who experience practical results by following proper training guidelines. Who feels it, knows it

Part of the confusion over Chi is the magical language traditionally involved in Chinese martial arts training. For example, the colorful metaphors and visualizations that are a part of the advanced integration of mind and body, which is a main focus of Chi training, are rather poetic and mystical, frequently drawing on nature and the characteristics of animals in order to explain relationship and form. For example, the simple movement of raising the hands above the head may be referred to as ‘pulling down heaven’, or the posture of lifting one leg and the opposing palm upward in a balanced stance may carry an elegant name such as ‘golden rooster stands on one leg’. 

In Chinese medicinal philosophy, Chi travels throughout the body along meridians, which are looked at as vessels for energy that are not directly associated with cellular tissue. These meridians cannot be seen, but can be sensed with such certainty that a commonly-accepted map of the body’s meridian lines and acupressure points is widely utilized by acupuncturists and healers as a scientific expression of the body’s energetic system. 

The closest Western scientific concept similar to this is bio-electricity, which involves viewing the passages of the nervous system and other body tissue as conduits for the low-voltage electricity that is produced within the human body. The study of bio-electricity is practical and is aimed at many of the same goals as the energy meditation practice of Qi Gong, such as maintaining optimal health and a swift recovery from injury. The US Army has even developed bandages that cover wounds with a material that creates pathways for bio-electricity to flow around the wound, greatly reducing the pain of severe injuries and shortening healing time. 

Still, there is no repeatable experimentation that translates the concept of Chi into the measurable electro-magnetic spectrum of material science, and, therefore, it remains a mystery and food for skeptics. 

In spite of this, there are many accessible methods of training for the cultivation of Chi and its employment in optimal health, wellness and longevity. There are competent schools and teachers of many forms of the Chinese energetic arts in most areas. Additionally, one can begin to develop a personal practice starting with the straightforward Taoist meditation techniques of Mantak Chia, or begin learning from the more elaborate instructional programs of medical and sports Qi Gong offered by Dr. Jwing-Ming Yang of the YMAA, author of The Root of Chinese Qi Gong

To continue to the next section of this article, DMT – The Spirit Molecule, please click here

Written by Dylan Charles, Editor of, where this article was originally published

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