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The Tao of Energy (or something like that)

By Billy | July 17, 2008

I am a fairly whimsical guy sometimes. Because of this, I tend to keep my intentions quiet until I’m fairly certain they are more than a spur-of-the-moment decision; such decisions of mine are rarely followed through. This proves a good practice at times—I’ve been determined at one time or another to teach myself Chinese, to play the oboe, to teach myself the Java programming language, to save enough money to buy a car AND stay debt free whilst paying for college, to resume my old 300 sit-ups a night, 5 miles of running a day routine, etc., etc., etc.. (Imagine that guy from the Dry Eyes commercial was listing the things) My point is that some goals are admirable in their plausibility, and others are just plain silly.

These sort of willy-nilly decisions are often part of a major life decision. I never told anyone, but I’ve spent a week of my life being Hindu and then Taoist, I’ve tried living as a Wiccan, looked into being a Druid, polytheist, Zoroastrian, Baha’i, non-theist, etc. I’ve seriously considered working to be a musician, Christian monk, Buddhist monk, social worker, long-time member of the Peace Corps, fireman, teacher, computer programmer, ambassador, and photographer in just the last 2 years. The pull that I feel in these interests is somewhat ephemeral, but the impact of the self exploration is usually worth the time. I can always say, “well, at least I know I’m not supposed to be a Druid.” And can cross the option off the list for the time being.

If you check my first posts, you can see how I tested the water at this whole blogging business. The mere fact that I kept it going for a week was a big step for me. A week of updates promised that this was not a mere whim. Just the same, I have come across a new interest that has been fascinating me a lot lately. A friend of mine, with whom I am growing closer and closer, (very thankfully, I might add) named Lisa really was my inspiration to follow my heart to exploring this area of existence. As I have mentioned, I’ve dabbled in ‘things’ like Taoism, Witchcraft and Druidism. I’ve always been fascinated and drawn to things having to do with both the mystical and the mythical.

Lisa in an Intuitive. Well, I believe so, and so does she. Her bio can be found at one of her websites, (here’s the link to her bio) as well as some thoughts she has to share. As you’ll see there, she also has the gift of Clairaudience. See the link to try and figure out what that means. Intrigued by her abilities to understand people, I began to look into similar fields as intuition, energy healing, astrology, etc. As a result, I’ve been reading about a lot of stuff that usually gets thrown out the window with the label “New Age” and is never paid attention to. The funny thing is that much (or most?) of the stuff I come across is more “Old Age” mumbo jumbo than new. I strive to maintain a methodological skepticism as I delve, hoping to make clear judgment as I read.

(Third time I’m mentioning this in the post…) I said I was a Taoist for a while, right? Taoism is an extremely old religion/philosophy coming from Ancient China. It has a heavy emphasis on Chi (Qi) [Okay. Random side note. Old-School spelling of stuff looks like this: Taoism, Tao Te Ching, Chi, Lao-Tzu, Chuang-Tzu. New-School (since a recent standardization of Chinese translations came out) spelling looks like this: Daoism, Daodejing, Qi, Laozi, Chuangzi. They’re the same things] Back on topic. Taoism has a heavy emphasis on getting your Chi flowing properly. The ancient Chinese texts say you want “floodlike Chi.” When this happens, you are one with the Tao. The Tao is impossible to describe, (Lao-Tzu’s first sentence in The Tao Te Ching says, “the Tao that can be named is not the eternal Tao.”) but has a big impact on our lives. I’ve talked about the Tao before (for example: Buddha-nature and your eyeglasses). Anyway- following the Tao is fairly important. Understanding what the Tao means a little like paying attention to the energy (winds/calls) of the universe. Figure out how to follow the energy flow of the universe by creating flood like Chi. Create flood like Chi by dropping all inhibitions and energy blockers.

The concept of energy flow isn’t indigenous to China. You may or may not have heard of the concept of a Life-Force in Hinduism, or the common Native American ideas of the Spirits. You may have even read about studies monitoring the electrical and physical changes that occur around the time that a person about to die becomes a person who has just died.

The idea of spiritual energy viewed through the lens of science is an important thing to note. Some of the studies I mentioned above (about which I read several years ago) mentioned the obvious changes that would occur when a person dies. Electrical and chemical impulses cease after a certain point when a person dies, which doesn’t imply that the energy was the person’s life force. Also, the weight of a body changes markedly, yet slightly when a person dies. This could be due to a cellular reaction that occurs when the energy impulses cease, and not necessarily that the weight change is accounted for by the idea of a soul leaving the body (a point brought up in the article).

Regardless of our interpretation here, it is safe to assume that we as living beings generate energy. Is the concept of Chi is merely a superstitious way to view this energy? I don’t know. I do know that there is an apparent correlation among the various interpretations of this energy—virtually across the board and disregarding the era that it emerged. As it turns out, the ancient rules of managing Chi (as found in the I-Ching, the Hua Hu Ching, The Tao Te Ching, The Book of Balance and Harmony, etc) for the most part coincide with contemporary psychology and science. Examples of this would include the ancient concept that clutter causes ‘bad’ Chi, to the ancient Chinese, and psychology will tell you that clutter leads to stress which will adversely affect health. Other rules reach far deeper and are far more surprising coincidences, such as that the ancient Feng-Shui rules dictating sleeping orientation happens to coincide with contemporary science telling us that the earth’s magnetic pull can actually affect our sleep depending on whether we are perpendicular or parallel to its pull. It seems (and always has seemed) to me like these ancient Chinese dudes knew what they should tell people to do, but not necessarily why.

So where am I going with all this? I don’t really know. Maybe I should go find a psychic to tell me that :P. What I do know is that Lisa has reinvigorated my fascination with energy and, though I can’t separate the concepts from the Taoist ideals I already comprehend, I intend on continuing to study human and universal energy outside the definitions of Chi and Tao. This post is more for me to declare my intention (which usually helps it manifest) to the universe. I am officially announcing: I will study you, oh universe, until I am sick to my stomach. Watch out!

I haven’t read nor comprehended nearly enough to know what good it will be to study this. Perhaps I will simply become a Taoist again, or maybe I’ll believe I am an intuitive clairaudience. Maybe I’ll find a spirit guide, or maybe I’ll go utterly mad. I might even return to Brahman after I figure all this jazz out! Who knows?

Well, Thanks for putting up with all this. I think I actually started with another purpose, but kinda just went with it. Shows how useful my intuition is. You can check out Lisa’s other blog at if you want. It doesn’t fail to put a smile on my face.

Topics: Philosophy, Utterly Random | 6 Comments »

6 Responses to “The Tao of Energy (or something like that)”

  1. Lisa Says:
    July 19th, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    Thanks for the shout out there! :-) I think you did a good job explaining in a nutshell what Taoism is (even as it’s so deep and wide as to almost defy explanation). When you begin to study that as compared to other energy based ideas and traditions, you will find that it all intersects in some way. Each tradition explains what they see through their particular lens and we are fortunate enough to be able to look at those same traditions now and choose what resonates with us.

    I want to acknowledge your ability to trust what resonates with you and be open to it. So many follow what they were taught as children and don’t question it. They are happy in that box and it fits what they are here to do (for a time). It takes a lot of courage to seek what fits and do so openly. I found, when studying Wicca that many, many of the traditions and rituals were the very same ones used by churches today. Yet, they would be MOST UPSET if that were pointed out to them (the churches, not the Wiccans – they already know!).

    (This is getting to be a letter almost! Should probably save it for that!)

    I will also comment that it’s called ‘New Age’ because according to ancient wisdom, every two thousand years, the earth consciousness moves to a different place.

    This may clarify:

    Astrologers have long talked about the Age of Aquarius as a period when each individual is capable of spiritual awareness without the intercession of religious authority. The Piscean Age of religious faith, with its traditional hierarchies, is giving way to a time when each human being can have a direct line to higher power, or God, if you like. Certainly, the profusion of books, tapes and teachers of old and new spiritual paths has made this kind of information available as never before. Meditation techniques, yoga postures, Sufi dancing, shamanistic practices, rituals and prayers from every tradition are more accessible than ever. The I Ching, astrology and Kaballah have been served up with psychology and physics in a stew of concepts and systems unlike any we have ever seen. The way of the seeker is littered with signs pointing in every direction, with each claiming to lead to enlightenment. This modern metaphysical mish mash is a perfect expression of early stage Aquarian consciousness when we are each free to follow our own path to spiritual fulfillment without the need for priests, rabbis or mullahs. But before we reap the benefits of the Aquarian Age, there is unfinished Pisces business to complete.

    (taken from here:

    Enjoyed your post (as always). You might find blogging is a great way to see where you’ve been and how to get to where you are going. :)

  2. Billy Says:
    July 21st, 2008 at 11:03 am

    Thanks for your encouraging words. I have always loved how clearly intersecting so many of these paths are. As I study it’s becoming more and more obvious.
    RE: New Age– Thank you for that explanation!
    😀 I love the disgruntled lolcat I’m seeing on snarkypants today, btw.

  3. Brannon Says:
    July 29th, 2008 at 9:55 am

    Your writing is impressive. I’m sure as you go continue to go through your journey you will figure out what you want to do, especially as you have new experiences, learn new things, meet and talk to different folks, etc. From what I’ve seen I hope whatever you end up doing includes photography.
    I don’t think we ever uttered a single word at Marymount, and I’m sure me commenting on your blog like this surprises you, however, I wish that we had spoke, because I think we would have had some stimulating conversation.
    That is interesting that you have tried different religions for a week. I am curious as to your thought pattern behind this? Do you give them a try and find out its not for you or do you just try them out so you can experience what different faiths are like?

  4. Billy Says:
    July 29th, 2008 at 10:38 am

    I think you’re absolutely right. At least, about not uttering a single word and that we certainly should have! While it does surprise me that you’d comment, I am very glad you did.
    In response to your question, I pursued those various religions because they called to me at the time. Whenever I read about a mode of thought, I try my best to be entirely open to the ideas. The arbitrary time frame of a week was simply the average time period. I try my best to bring the particular religion into my own understanding until I feel that I have a good enough understanding to gauge whether continuing to put my energy into the religion will be most beneficial or not. Hinduism has left an indelible imprint on me and I continue to grow as a Hindu, while some of my more favorite religions like Zoroastrianism and Jainism I cannot see myself practicing due to conflicts of understandings regarding the universe. I suppose the short answer is: I give them a try and find out it’s not for me.

    Thanks for reading! I wish I had done more to say hi at the dinner table.

  5. Brannon Says:
    July 29th, 2008 at 11:37 am

    I am going to officially take the time to say “Hi” now. “Hi.” Even though its a virtual ‘Hi’ i suppose that will do for now. Perhaps, one day a force will bring us together and I’ll be able to greet you in person.
    I think its great that your taking the time to discover other religions. Religion is definitely a fascinating subject. Its amazing how different some religions are. Then sometimes, I ask myself are these religions really all that different when you really think about. I haven’t came to an answer on that for myself. I suppose it depends on the religions you are comparing. I agree with your friend Lisa, I think its great that you are taking the time to learn about religions instead of just relying on faith and what you were taught when you were mini Billy..

    Btw, Ironically I transferred to MU from VCU, thus I only attended Mu for 3 years. Now, I have a summer internship in DC. I enjoy your facebook profile pic.

  6. Billy Says:
    July 29th, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    Hello, Brannon. Virtual Hello, that is. If you check out my first real post, , you’ll see that a virtual Hi is just as empty as a real Hi. That’s OK though!!! I like to attach a nominal meaning to it — one makes me feel so warm and fuzzy!

    I like to look at it like a mountain: From the bottom, every way you look at it is completely different. At the top, it’s all the same thing. There’s no correct side to climb up from. That’s my take on it, anyway.
    I wish you the very BEST in your post-graduation life. I do hope some (the?) force brings us together. Thanks!