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Energy/Subtle Energies
Record Type: Review   ID: 502

The Power of Ch'i: An Introduction to Chinese Mysticism and Philosophy

Page, Michael

 This work, aimed at a general readership, sets forth the principles of the Chinese worldview that set the stage for instances of exceptional human performance to occur, such as Qi Gong, longevity, unorthodox healing, martial arts feats, and controlling earth forces. The energy of ch'i, or the "vital breath or energy which animates the cosmos" (p. 7), is thought to be at the base and to itself be the universe. The philosophy of ch'i is at odds with Western science, which is aggressive in its attempts to control nature, whereas those who attend to ch'i go with nature's flow. However, the study and practice of ch'i is also a form of control, but one that moves by not moving. The first three chapters introduce the Taoist concepts of ch'i and change (yin and yang). A brief overview is given of the contributions of Confucianism and Buddhism to Taoist philosophy. Next he describes "the art (or technology) of magic as it involves control of ch'i" (p. 37), including such practices as astrology, talismans, and the I Ching and their role in controlling the circulation of Ch'i. The next four chapters deal with the control of ch'i, respectively, in the arts, martial arts, health, and Feng Shui (earth ch'i). Chapters 9 and 10 are on ch'i and immortality. The eleventh chapter is on the sage, or the self-sufficiency of the person who follows the Tao, or living from one's intrinsic nature. The penultimate chapter discloses ways in which the ch'i concept underlies Western beliefs and the idea that even as we become conscious of the need for two brain hemispheres to cooperate, so the Eastern and Western hemispheres are also coming together, which is beginning in the West with the realization that it may have taken the wrong path by "trying to separate man from the rest of the universe" (p. 106). In his Conclusions, Page exhorts us as individuals to live in balance and points to the special need for political balance as well, which requires that ch'i be made an integral part of politics.
Publisher Information:Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, England: Aquarian Press, 1988. 128p. Bibl: 125-128; Chap. notes: 120-124; 5 figs; 3 tables
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