I am not a Roshi or a Tao Master. Nor, am I an Obi-Wan Kenobi “wanna be.” But, it would be hard to deny there isn’t some kind of a unifying force at work in the world.
It’s role may not always be altogether clear, but most of us have sensed its presence or felt it at work. It may not always be referred to as Qi, Ch’i or even, the “Force.” However, what it’s called isn’t nearly as important as what it is, how it works or the impact it can and does have on your everyday existence.
When everything in your world is ‘aligned,’ this energy flows through you as well as all around you. When things are out of alignment – something many of us know an awful lot about – things begin to fall apart rather quickly. In fact, depending upon the severity of the mis-alignment, it can feel like the wheels are just about ready to come off your life.
In the human body, the nexus for this energy is the Tan T’ien, located an inch or two below the navel. For all intent and purpose, it’s the body’s warehouse for Qi. Everyone has a spiritual center. Although, it’s certain not everyone is in touch with theirs. It is equally as certain the majority of people are just plain unaware it exists at all.
The more aware of this energy center you become the more you begin to realize just how important it is to remain centered and an integral part of the world surrounding you: a kind of “at one with.” You do this through situational awareness and a sensitivity to the energy of everything in your world. If you have ever folded your body onto the floor board between the front seat of the vehicle you are working on and the firewall, reached up into the wiring harness and instrument cluster between the brake and accelerator pedals like a surgeon searching for a leaky blood vessel, closed your eyes and then seen something you could not see or done something you knew you could not do, because for that fleeting moment you and the vehicle were one, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
You know with equal certainty that it’s impossible to do that unless you have achieved a minimal level of harmony, both internal and external. You know just as clearly how little it takes to destroy that moment and how quickly you can find yourself struggling with the machine, contending against self-imposed physical and mental constraints.
Much of this we bring on ourselves – our minds and our lives are filled with a symphony of noise and clutter. The chaos that surrounds all of us and fills our lives with a constant and unrealistic demand for attention loves nothing more then to draw you in: texts, cell phone calls, blog posts, tweets, four thousand friends clamoring for attention and the never ending requests to “send this to your ten closest friends” is more than enough to disturb the calm we secretly yearn for and our minds and bodies so desperately need.
But, as frustrating and distracting as the world around us is or can be, it is not the devil I fear most. The devil I fear most is the Qi Thief! He is the insidious bastard who delights in destroying the harmony you seek. He is the monster lulling you into a false sense of peace and security and then sharttering the harmony you yearn to be a part of by crashing and banging through your world like a Dragon in the middle of a Chinese New Year’s parade!
He is the master of the unkind word, the center of his own selfish world. He doesn’t care about anyone or anything else. Because of the demons that torment him, he can never be at peace, and because he will never be at peace, he will do whatever he can to ensure you will never find the peace you seek.
Where you try to tread lightly, he is likely to stomp. Where you try desperately to find that quiet place within, he works just as hard to marshal a roiling storm of chaos and contention pointing it all straight at you.
If you’ve been in this industry as long as I have, you’ve already associated a name with the portrait I’ve just painted. You know this person… Or, you knew him (Or, her…). They are energy thieves and they rob you of your center. Sadly, the worst part is they aren’t trying to steal the life out of you because they want it for themselves… All they really want is to ensure that if they can’t find peace, you will never have it either.
There is no rehabilitating a Qi Thief, at least nothing I know of that will work. You can try, but experience has taught me that it is rarely more than a game: a game created by the Qi Thief to frustrate and disappoint you. The only way to win is not to play. The only way to win is to become strong enough to ignore their efforts to disturb you and the world around you or to eliminate them from your world altogether.
The best way to ensure harmony and a constant flow of energy to you and through you is to create an environment that is as peaceful and calm as you can make it: as peaceful and calm as it needs to be.
The best way to ensure that constant flow of energy is to deny the Qi Thief his prize or to steal it back from him when he isn’t paying attention.