Basic Qi Principles
By Michael J. Gelb
Let's consider a few basic insights that will help you get the most from qi-cultivation practices.
Your Body Is an Antenna for Qi
George Washington Carver
I love to think of nature as having unlimited broadcasting stations,
through which God speaks to us every day, every hour
and every moment of our lives, if we will only tune in. George Washington Carver (1864–1943), American scientist 
Your body is an antenna for qi, and your mind can direct the antenna
to get better reception. As George Washington Carver counsels, all
we need to do is tune in and listen to the broadcast. The qi-cultivation
practices you will learn in this book will put you on the right
Qi Responds to Your Intention and Imagination
Indeed, the power of imagination makes us infinite.
John Muir (1838–1914), Scottish-American naturalist and founder of the Sierra Club 
Creative visualization is a well-documented way to improve performance
in a wide range of activities, from martial arts to free-throw shooting. A recent study entitled "Mind Over Matter: Mental Training Increases
Physical Strength," by Erin M. Shackell and Lionel G. Standing demonstrated
that "mental practice" resulted in significant gains in strength
for their subjects who were college athletes. Moreover, their survey of
hundreds of research papers in the field led them to conclude, "mental
practice produces measurable gains in skilled performance."
The same thing is true with qi. Just as you can strengthen your muscles
or improve your free-throw shooting by using your imagination
creatively, you can also access, circulate, and store qi by directing it
with your intention and imagination.
Qi Flows Naturally and Effortlessly
Don't push the river; it flows by itself. Ancient proverb 
The primary focus of the practices you will learn is letting go of interference
with the natural flow of qi. Like wind blowing around a mountain
or water flowing toward the ocean, qi follows the path of least resistance.
As you harmonize with and encourage the natural movements of
qi, you experience greater ease and flow in all of your activities.
Graceful Movements Invite the Energy of Grace
Grace is the beauty of form under the influence of freedom.
Friedrich Schiller (1759–1805), German philosopher and poet 
Awkward, violent, and crass movements activate energies that are awkward,
violent, and crass. Graceful movements invite the flow of grace.
Perform the movements with a sense of flow, ease, and joy and you will get
the most benefit. And you can dramatically enhance the flow of qi in your
daily life by bringing more poise and grace to your everyday movements.
When doing movement practices, invest special attention to the
transition between one movement and another. When you bring
mindfulness to the space between movements, you create an energetic
continuity that enhances the pleasure and the benefits.
You Don't Have to Believe the Metaphysics to Get the Benefits of Qi
I don't believe in anything you have to believe in.
Fran Lebowitz, American author and critic 
You don't need to believe in qi to get the benefits of the practices. All
you need is an open mind. If you experiment with the practices, you
will almost certainly feel better. If you prefer, you can think of them
as poetic choreography designed to facilitate an experience of creative
empowerment. And if you follow a religious or spiritual path, you can
customize the practices to reinforce and support that path.
Devoting Your Full Attention to the Qi Practices Makes Them Work
Living in the now will be the wave of the future.
Swami Beyondananda, American humorist 
The practices that you will learn can all be done in twenty minutes or
less. They will all give you the maximum experience of qi in the shortest
possible time. For that time to be worthwhile, you must devote your
full attention to each one as you do it. As you savor every moment of
movement and breath, you'll discover that movement and breath are
always, only, ever, happening now. And in the now you can experience
your connection to eternal qi, the source of creativity. "Forever," as
Emily Dickinson reminds us, "is composed of nows."
Your Body Is an Energy Transformer
Everyone should consider his body as a priceless gift from one whom he loves above all, a marvelous work of art, of indescribable beauty, and mystery beyond human conception. Nikola Tesla (1856–1943), Serbian-American inventor and futurist 
An aspiring qi master is visiting New York City.
He walks up to a hot dog stand and asks, "Please make me one with
The vendor creates a hot dog with sauerkraut, mustard, chili, and
bacon—everything—and hands it to the hungry adept, who pays with
a $20 bill. The vendor puts the bill in his pocket.
"Where's my change?" asks the fledgling master.
The vendor responds, "Change comes from within."
The ability to create, and to make creative changes in your life, is
within you. It is your birthright. You can use it any way you desire. And
it helps to understand that your body, in addition to being an antenna
for qi, is also designed as an energy-transformation medium. We know,
for example, that when we eat a hot dog we transform the calories into
fuel for our daily lives. We can do something similar with qi, to fuel our
creativity and spiritual development.
The way you think, breathe, and behave determines the amplitude
and frequency with which the qi vibrates within. Imagine how much
more creative you can be as you bring more mindfulness to the flow of
your energy and learn how to transform it into vibratory patterns that
are more in alignment with your creative purpose.
Editor's Comments: Michael J. Gelb - YouTube videos. He discusses qi and its relationship with creativity on "Interview: Creativity on Demand with Michael J. Gelb".
And he performs qigong exercises on the "Da Vinci Qi Practice".
 ^This entry was taken from Michael J. Gelb's book Creativity On Demand: How to Initiate and Sustain the Fire of Genius, published by Sounds True. It was slightly modified to fit the style and format of Qi Encyclopedia.
 ^William J. Federer. George Washington Carver: His Life & Faith in His Own Words. Amerisearch, Inc., 2002, p. 72.
 ^John Muir. "The National Parks and Forest Reservations," Sierra Club Bulletin 1, no. 7 (January 1896), pp. 271-84.
 ^Erin M. Shackell and Lionel G. Standing.
"Mind Over Matter: Mental Training Increases Physical Strength," North American Journal of Psychology 9, no. 1 (2007), p. 189.
 ^This ancient proverb from many cultures was popularized by the book of the same title by Barry Stevens, originally published by The Real People Press in 1970.
 ^Paul E. Kerry, editor. Friedrich Schiller: Playwright, Poet, Philosopher, Historian. Bern, Switzerland: Peter Lang Academic Publishers, 2007, p. 212.
 ^Fran Lebowitz, as quoted on Steven Pinker's Twitter account, March 9, 2013.
 ^Swami Beyondananda, direct communication with the author, August 24, 2013. (More about the Swami is at http://wakeuplaughing.com.
 ^Emily Dickinson, R. W. Franklin, editor. The Poems of Emily Dickinson. Harvard University Press, 1999, p. 307.
 ^Nikola Tesla. "The Problem of Increasing Human Energy," The Century Magazine, June 1900, p.179.