The Flame of Life

The Flame of Life

There are several definitions for Alchemy. The most common is the process that has been in various cultures around the world where there were attempts to transform common metals into gold. There is another perspective and definition that we will be using here and that is

“A power or process that changes or transforms something in a mysterious or impressive way” 

Another word that might give a slightly different view is the modern “Synergy.”

Synergy is defined as an interaction or cooperation giving rise to a whole that is greater than the simple sum of its parts.

Summary: The internal alchemy of Qigong is the harmonizing of the Three Treasures of Qigong to create and sustain the flame of life. 

Here is an example. We all know about fire. We all have a basic idea of how a flame is created by combining three elements: heat, oxygen, and fuel.  

There must be suitable fuel. 

  • There must be enough heat so that the fuel ignites. 
  • There must be enough oxygen to enable the heat and fuel to ignite. 

The flame of fire will only ignite if the conditions between the three elements are exactly right. Exactly right means in balance, in harmony with each other. If the fuel is not exactly right, being too wet, then no flame. If there is not enough heat to ignite the fuel, there is no flame. If there is not enough oxygen for the fuel to ignite, there is no flame.  

But when these conditions between get exactly right, then you have ignition. The term “just right” signifies the ignition point created in the harmonious balance of the three conditions. Harmony is an enormously powerful creative force in nature.  

Another example could be observed through listening. Imagine a group of musicians with different instruments. Each instrument can make sounds that have the potential to sound pleasing. Each instrument must have its own harmony. It must be in good working order. It must be tuned in such a way as to make a pleasing sound. It must be operated in such a way to sound pleasing. This is brought together by the musician who cultivates the ability to play the instrument in a pleasing way. 

When the musician brings the instrument and joins with others, they must all cultivate the ability to play at the same time to create something that sounds pleasing.  

If they each have the wrong rhythm, it is uncoordinated with the rest and not pleasing. 

If they each play sounds not in harmony with the others, it is disharmonious and not pleasing 

If they are not playing the same notes, it is disharmonious and not pleasing. 

But when they play the same notes, all coordinated, and in harmony, something special happens. They create music that is very pleasing to listen to. Music is synonymous with ‘flame’. The basic elements come together in a harmonious way to create something more than the individual parts. 

Qigong is such a synergetic phenomenon that you cultivate the skill to do. The “flame” in Qigong is life force-energy, or vital energy or Qi (chee). Another good description would be “vital energy” and “life-force energy”.  

For the newcomer, it is best to begin by bringing the three elements of “The Three Treasures” into harmony to produce a strong vital life force so that you nurture a robust vital force for the duration of a long life (Longevity).  

Internal Alchemy, as the name implies, is the cultivation of the internal vital energy, Qi. When we are born, we come preloaded with robust vital energy and the ability to continue producing it. This incredibly special life energy that we inherit from our parents is called prenatal Qi. The infant has an abundant amount of the original energy to carry it a long way in life. Yet it is extremely important to nurture and protect it. Once the umbilical cord is cut, the source of the prenatal energy is gone so the infant must protect its original energy and immediately begin producing its own. This self-made energy is called post-Natal Qi.  

The miracle of birth includes the miracle of energy production. All living lifeforms have this aspect of life, of being born already preloaded with internal instruction and the ability to adapt to the environment it finds itself in. This is enough for most non-human lifeforms because they have not evolved to a point where they self-destruct. More from the chapter of “Internal Alchemy – The Flame of Life from the book, The Tao of Longevity, soon to be publish.

In the meantime, please take a look another Tao Cultivator book,

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