the Force (chi)

The ForceOne all-encompassing driving Force influences the destiny of the universe. An energy field generated by all living things, the Force surrounds and penetrates everything, binding the universe together. Universal balance – life and death, creation and destruction – is reflected in the Force, and thus is reflected from the Force back into the universe at large. The Force, for all the mystery and power it provides, is as much a part of the natural order as suns and planets and life itself.

The Force has as many mysteries as it has aspects. It may be a nonsentient energy field, the sum of all creation. It may be an eternal entity, knowing and unknowable. It may be both of these and more; it may be something else entirely. The only certain truth is that the Force exists and is omnipresent, and that’s enough for most who study its various influences. From the Living Force to the Unifying Force, this mysterious energy field consists of a multitude of properties

The entire fabric of space is filled with the universal energy we call the Force. It is vibrant and alive, existing everywhere and through everything. It both is the Tao yet transcends it, and contains the elements of ki, chi, prana and spiritual light. With every breath, with every thought, heart beat and movement, the Force is present. Vibrant and radiant, bursting with life and energy, this huge untapped reservoir of energy we call the Force, when accepted as the valuable ally it is, can move with us, surround and penetrate us to the very core of being, and together move with with us when we accept the inherent Will of the Force to remove the blockages in life that prevent its full release in the matter cosmos.

The Force is an essential part of nature — like energy or matter — but it has yet to be quantified and analyzed. The Force is not to be understood in the same manner as the physical qualities of the universe. The laws of physics are observable; technology is predictable and readily controlled. The Force is neither controlled nor controlling — it is a part of life itself; asking if it controls or can be controlled is like asking if a person controls his component cells or if they control him.

In many ways, serious attempts at comprehending the Force as both a tangible and intangible presence in life does have many parallels to the Taoist concepts of chi, the Shinto Buddhism’s embracing of ki, as well as the Hindu understanding of prana: an energy that exists in, through and around us and is the very essence of life itself.Chinese philosophers will talk about chi as a microcosmical ‘matter-energy’ which is fundamental in forming and governing the universe. Perhaps this is what George Lucas referred to in his brief yet somewhat insufficient explanation in The Phantom
Menace which makes reference to the ‘Midichlorians’ (the organisms which allow the Jedi to manipulate the Force.) And the traditional Chinese physician, usually also a Taoist by education, speaks about a microbiomaterial that circulates within the body, maintaining the living force that makes the body function.Aikido, a Japanese martial art developed by master Mohirei Ueshiba earlier this century makes heavy use of the concept of ki, or as we know it now as the Living Force. Aikido is one of the more spiritual martial arts and has been considered as ‘moving zen’. The name Aikido means ‘the way of harmony of ki’. Spiritually oriented aikidokas believe that ki does exist as a physical entity and can be transmitted through space. They make use of concepts such as ki of the universe, extending ki, etc.

For the sake of simplicity, let’s propose three simple definitions of ki:

1. Ki, or the Force: the principle that governs the universe AND the individual, the cosmic truth. This definition seems to embrace the totality of the Living Force as utilized by the Jedi Knights.

2. Ki, or the Force: the action from a particular state of mind and body that can have physical/psychological/physiological effect. This ki can be expressed, and hence, perceived through physical apprearance, behavior, and body language. Perhaps an explanation as to how one can wield the force if necessary to have a powerful effect on the weak-minded.

3. Ki: a combination of both (1) and (2).

According to a brief analysis of the writings and teachings of Saito, Yamada, Shioda, Homma, Nadeau and Dobson, the concept of ki, or as we know it as the living force, is discussed only briefly: “Ki: the vital force of the body …….. the ki of a person can be drawn in increasing amount from the universe. In practice, ki is directed before body movement takes place.”

A short description of a series of exercises for the living Force (ki) flowing can be found in his later work “Aikido, its heart and appearance” where one “causes partner’s ki to flow out (fluid)” and “calling out your partner’s ki and linking it to yours”.

In “The Ultimate Athlete”, Leonard sensei describes a typical Energy-Body workshop pioneered by Nadeau sensei. The workshop begins with the assumption that “a field of energy exists in and around each human body”. This energy is ki, “a single manifestation that includes emanations that can be measured by our present science, plus other esoteric or metaphorical amanations”. One of the exercise in the workshop is “sensing the energy body” where partners stand with arms extending towards each other. When one ‘feels’ the energy from one’s partner, one is asked to move apart to find out how far away one can still sense the energy connection.

According to Sensei Terry Dobson, ki (or the living force) also is one’s “connection to all life, time, and space; nowness; and energy”. As he wrote “It is possible for a liar or a cheat to use Aiki or any of otherfive attacks to responses and aim for a ‘kill’ or a ‘win’ over somebody who has made the mistake of attacking him. But strange things begin to happen to people who become involved with Attack-tics … even the most mean spirited of people begin to relinquish their grasp on their aggression, lose their anger, and reconnect with the living force”.

Prana and the ForcePrana is the cosmic principal of movement or energy. It is seen as the underlying cause of all the manifestation. Prana is the most subtle element of existence and yet the most apparent in its manifestation around us. Prana empowers all other forces in the universe, everything else is dependent on it, even the very creation itself. Prana is eternal movement, empowering the ever changing cosmos.

Prana has many different manifestations, from the most subtle to the gross manifestation of electricity. It is the power which enables us to think, to feel and to

hear. It is the first sound: OM. It manifests in the body as the five pranas: prana, udana, samana, apana and vyana. These five pranic forces govern all types of movement in the body; restrain and impel the mental activity; coordinate all the senses and help in the enjoyment of their objects; holds together different parts of the body; promote speech; enable touch and hearing; they are the cause of joy and courage; they stimulate the digestion; absorb the three humors; create the gross and subtle channels in the body; mold the shape of the embryo; and determine the length of the life span.To sum it up, prana is the prime moving force in our body and in our universe. Prana is not breath, it is the power that enables us to breath. Prana is not “energy”, it is what gives energy the power to be energy. Prana is not seen or unseen, yet it is observable by its actions. Prana is the power behind movement.

The Force as a Path to Personal Enlightenment

The Force is not the Cause, but the Effect – not necessarily God himself, but His creation (energy). The Force is energy that is freely given to all, like clay, to use or not to use. It is up to each of us to mold that clay, and through that molding, we decide what creation we construct with the energy, and to what end it serves. The Force is a vehicle which we can both manipulate and come to the ultimate decision on where the soul wishes to go (destiny). The Force is God’s energy that permeates the Universe.

Many believe that the Will of Force’s intent is for us to eventually seek the source of the Light from which the Force emanates – on our own accord – and become One with it. The Force can be used as a path that leads to God – or alternately, lead away from Him. The choice is ours, and ours alone. The Force is a choice that is given to us to choose our alliances, as an exercise in the gift of free will.

The Force can in itself comprise a pathway and a means that can lead the True Jedi to the Light – a path whose ultimate destination is to become One with the Source of that Light – God, the Creator, the First Cause, Supreme Being – whatever name we wish to assign, we speak of the same thing. There is a spark of that divine essence (Light) in each one of us, to which we refer to as Jedi – the True Inner Identity. It is up to each of us to tend that flame and expand it, both as a way to increase inner illumination, and as our service to life.

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