Qi as Entertainment: The Force Grows Stronger
Compiled from Various Sources by John Voigt
With the movies The Last Jedi (2017), and The Rise of Skywalker (2019) the Star War series continued to expand, extend, and dramatically redefine what the Force is and what it can do. This was done in part by using certain assumed analogies of the Force to Qi (chi) as it appears in Chinese martial arts and traditional spiritual beliefs.
Luke Skywalker instructing Rey about the Force, from the Last Jedi (2017). Source: magicalquote.com
[The movie continues.]
Luke: Close your eyes. Breathe. Now, reach out. (Rey closes her eyes and reaches out and Luke starts tickling her hand with a leaf.)
Rey: I feel something.
Luke: You feel it?
Rey: Yes, I feel it.
Luke: That's the Force.
Rey: Really? Wow, it must be really strong with you. I've never felt any… [Like a Zen master Luke strikes Rey's hand].
Rey: Ow! … I'll try again. www.youtube.com
Luke: Breathe. Just breathe. Reach out with your feelings. What do you see?
Rey: The island. Life. Death and decay that feeds new life. Warmth. Cold. Peace. Violence.
Luke: And between it all?
Rey: Balance. An energy. A Force.
Luke: And inside you?
Rey: Inside me that same Force. www.youtube.com
Rey: There's something else beneath the island. A place. A dark place. Balance. Powerful light, powerful darkness. (The rock beneath her starts to crack). It's cold. It's calling me.
Luke: Resist it, Rey. Rey! Rey!
(Rey snaps out of her vision.)
Luke: You went straight to the dark.
Rey: That place was trying to show me something.
Luke: It offered something you needed. And you didn't even try to stop yourself.
Editor's Comment: In Daoist thought good and evil are relative: you cannot know or understand one without the other. As with yin and yang, in order to be in a proper balance each is continuously morphing into the other. In the above quote, Rey envisions the Force as "Powerful Light," "Powerful Darkness," "A Balance." A yin/yang-like Balance has now become part of the Force. Rey needs to experience the light and the dark, and their balance in order to eventually do ultimate battle with the Jedi's arch-enemy, Emperor Palpatine. But before that happens, she must first do battle with the dark side within her.
With increasing taijiquan choreographic and special effects skills in editing, the Star War series has intensified its combat scenes influenced by the kung fu of Asian martial arts. Here is a clip of from The Last Jedi (2017) - Rey and Kylo vs. Praetorian Guards. www.youtube.com
Force Healing made its first major appearance in The Rise of Skywalker (2019). Watch the clip here: "Healing The Serpent … www.youtube.com. In the screenplay Rey explains how she did it: I just transferred a bit of life. Force energy from me to him. Later in the movie, with Force Life Energy Rey heals people, fixes broken objects, (e.g., Luke's lightsaber). In the film we even see the dead brought back to life—though doing such a thing can cause a huge loss of Force Life Energy for the healer. (I don't want to be a movie spoiler so I won't tell more about this.)
Note: In past conversations with several major qigong masters I was told (or hinted to) that they stopped doing external qi for healing because of the personal qi energy drain it caused. Some even suggested that can be corrected by not sending your own qi, but by being a passive conduit for the external qi flowing through you.
Source: Star Wars the rise of Skywalker: Rey uses force Lightning scene. www.youtube.com
Throughout Chinese martial arts, shaman legends, and traditional medicine, there have been thousands—or more—instances of qi being projected from the hands. This power has been used throughout the Star War series, but it reaches a new dramatic intensity with The Rise of Skywalker.
This is actually a power forbidden to the Jedi. Rey used it here by mistake. It comes from the Dark Side of the Force; and is a purely offensive, energy-based attack that channels Force energy down the sender's limbs hurling arcing bolts of electricity from their fingertips or palms. starwars.fandom.com
Emperor Palpatine, the Grand Master of Force Lightning. Source: Palpatine's force lightning attack on rebels fleet, [at 0:29]. www.youtube.com
Immortality. Commonly in the West the word "immortal" means living forever. However, in Chinese culture the word "immortal" (xiān - 仙) refers to a "Daoist super-being." Through practice and training, they gain internal and outer qi powers for healing, martial arts, and the exercise of paranormal occult abilities. They can live for a very long time; or leave their physical body and be assumed in the Dao.
This is how Luke Skywalker chooses to leave his physical life on earth and enter the "larger world" of The Force. Here it seems the Force has taken on aspects of the Dao.
Luke Skywalker gaining immortality in the Force. Source. Marvel Comics.
This article is a continuation of "Qi as Entertainment: The Force in Star Wars," by John Voigt.. It only touches the surface of the relationships of the Force and Qi. Nevertheless, it might prove helpful in extending the reader's knowledge about such things, and perhaps offer a fresh creative light on their own practices of Traditional Chinese gymnastics, martial arts, spirituality, and meditation.
The Force is not Qi
The Force may occasionally resemble qi, but they are not the same. In the novel, The Last Jedi by Jason Fry (based on the movie) we read, Rey could feel the Force heaving like the sea … whipped into a fury by their [she and Kylo's] attempts to manipulate it. [p.309]. In Chinese texts "Anger" may be a standard definition of one of the aspects of qi, but qi itself cannot be whipped into a "fury." Such a thing does not happen. Qi may be conceptualized as divine energy and consciousness, but it does not "think" or have "emotions." Qi is the energy that drives the emotions; it is not the emotions themselves.
In the novel, The Rise of Skywalker, the Force continues to be anthropomorphized into a godlike spirit that must be obeyed. For example, Rey is told, The Force has led you here. You must trust in it. Always. [p.55]. On p.161, Finn tells when he and his fellow stormtroopers were told to fire on civilians they refused and laid down their weapons. It wasn't a decision, it was more like, An instinct. A feeling. The Force … it brought me here. We know the Force is based on Qi, but is this Force/Qi actually God? What is clear is a series of dramatic characterizations where The Force behaves like a God as a way to ultimately triumph over the Dark Side. But Qi is not like that: It does not have intentions or agendas. It is universal and personal life-energy.
The Force is like Qi
The Force flowed through her [Rey], buoyed her, connected her to everything. The lush rain forest …was teeming with life. She could feel every tree and fern, every reptile and insect. [The Rise of Skywalker, the novel p.5]. [This resembles what one of my master teachers, L.V Carnie, would experience in her inner and outer qi fields, where she automatically found animals that needed protection from hunters and people in health-trauma situations alone in airports. John Voigt]
More qi-like experiences of Rey: She reached out to the Force, let it flow through her like blood in her veins. [ p.9]. [note: Blood is often said to be a form of qi in traditional Chinese culture.] There are two basic qigong techniques used in sending qi: first, leading and guiding external qi through you. The second is sending your own internal qi. Rey is described as doing both: She channeled the Force [external]. … This time she would give [internal]. [p.93]. The above three examples are from The Rise of Skywalker - novel. (2020).
A Jedi Summary of what the Force is and how it is used.
From the Screenplay of The Rise of Skywalker (2019).
As Palpatine is using Force Lightning to bring down the entire Resistance, Rey prays: Be with me. Be with me. Be with me. [Then Rey hears the voices of past Jedi]
OBI-WAN: These are your final steps, Rey. Rise and take them.
ANAKIN: Bring back the balance, Rey, as I did.
LUMINARA: In the night, find the light, Rey.
MACE: You're not alone, Rey.
YODA: Alone, never have you been.
QUI-GON: Every Jedi who ever lived lives in you.
ANAKIN: The Force surrounds you, Rey.
AAYLA: Let it guide you.
AHSOKA: As it guided us.
MACE: Feel the Force flowing through you, Rey.
ANAKIN: Let it lift you.
ADI: Rise, Rey.
YODA: Rise in the Force. [Grunts].
KANAN: In the heart of a Jedi lies her strength.
LUKE: Rey, the Force will be with you, always.
[Rey finally rises, stands before Palpatine and lights her saber.]
PALPATINE: You are nothing! A scavenger girl is no match for the power in me. I am all the Sith! [Grunts].
REY: And I ... am all the Jedi.
Text Source: transcripts.fandom.com
Here is an edited version of the scene: "Rey Hears The Jedi Voices HD (WITH VISIONS) -The Rise Of Skywalker." www.youtube.com
Sources and Further Information:
"External Qi for Healing" by John Voigt.
The Force. Wikipedia.com
"The Light Side of the Force." starwars.fandom.com
"Qi as Entertainment: The Force in Star Wars," by John Voigt.
Pri Rosa. Star Wars: Every Force Power Rey Uses In Disney's Sequel Trilogy.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi [novel], by Jason Fry. Del Rey, 2018. www.amazon.com
Star Wars: The Last Jedi [screenplay]. transcripts.fandom.com
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker [novel], by Rae Carson. Del Rey, Del Rey, 2020. www.amazon.com
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker [screenplay]. transcripts.fandom.com
Star Wars - Was the Force Inspired by Taoist Philosophy? www.comicbookmovie.com
The Dark Side of The Force. starwars.fandom.com
John may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org