Good Vibrations – Quantum Physics Meets QI
Qi, our energy or life force, can be a tricky concept for our Western minds to get our heads around. We can’t measure it, catch it or even see it. Nevertheless, it has formed the cornerstone of Chinese Medicine for thousands of years. And now, it would appear, an interesting correlation can be made between the concept of Qi and developments in quantum mechanics which allude to a life force underpinning our entire existence.
It’s strange enough to imagine Qi flowing through channels in our bodies. And the idea that this energy within us can be changed due to the food we eat, the environments we are in and the emotions that we experience is even harder to comprehend. How can ‘stuff’, such as our physical bodies, be affected by ‘non-stuff’ such as a feeling of anger within us?
Albert Einstein once said, “Most of the fundamental ideas of science are essentially simple, and may, as a rule, be expressed in a language comprehensible to everyone.” So for those of you who never thought you’d understand the concept of quantum physics, here is a bite-sized chunk of it in a very simple format. There is so much to say in this field, and it’s a lot to take in, but hopefully I can raise an interesting argument for you to consider.
‘Physics, that most precise of sciences, shows that there is a unity behind all existence, one that provides connections in new, amazing and previously undemonstrated ways. In that unity, matter in the body forms “one huge, coherent vibration,” and existence continually remakes itself, its electrons forming and reforming in dancing clouds.’ Quantum physicist Dr Hans-Peter Düer, April 2015.1
Western medicine may not recognise Qi (although acupuncture has become widely accepted) but quantum physicists have identified a concept that explains it. This is known as String Theory, a unified theory of the universe that postulates that the fundamental ingredients of nature are not zero-dimensional point particles but tiny one-dimensional filaments called strings. A ‘string’ has its own vibrational pattern. These tiny loops of string make up the smallest physical units to make up an atom. Atoms then collect together to form a molecule, which make up the cells of a human body. In terms of Chinese Medicine, the vibrational energy that these tiny loops of string move with is called Qi.
String Theory as an actual subset of quantum physics has its base in the 1920s Kaluza-Klein Theory followed by work by Werner Heisenberg in the 1940s and 1950s. Heisenberg is often called the ‘father of quantum physics’ and received the Nobel Prize for it in 1932.
Later came the concept in quantum physics that events can occur as either particles or waves. We are very good at dealing with the particle world as particular events can be seen, measured and weighed. We find it harder to imagine events that manifest as waves as they can’t be seen, measured or weighed. For example, scientists only recently discovered that it is energy (waves) that causes hearts to beat, but the actual heart itself (particles) was discovered thousands of years ago.
This gives an explanation as to why in the Western world a medical system based on conventional drugs and surgical procedures has such a long history, both of which address parts (particles), whereas energy medicine (waves) including acupuncture has only recently gained favour. Our particle self has an ‘edge’ or boundary, meaning it is local, substantial and differentiated from others. I can say how big my hand is, where it is, and how it looks different to my daughter’s hand. Our wave-like nature, however, does not have a boundary and it is not limited to being local, it is not substantial and it is not clearly differentiated from others. Physicists who explore ‘relativity’ and ‘quantum’ physics have found that the wavelike or energetic aspect of ourselves are not separated in the same way but are unfixed or undetermined.
The quantum aspect of our self and ourselves has the potential to interact in a wake-like, undifferentiated interchange that we can’t see. When entities are in their wave-like state they can have a non-localised effect. Thus when you are in the self-healing state where vital energies are dynamic and your mind is simply directed toward oneness, you can interact with ‘possibilities’: you can connect with the wave-like, as-yet-undetermined aspects of yourself and of others.
So is disease an expression of our ‘particle self’ or our ‘wave-like self’? The Chinese insist that disease is caused by a disharmony in the body’s energy, the wave-like self. Even Western science is clear that the heartbeat is an electrical discharge, that nerve impulses are ions discharging, and that the rate of movement of molecules through cell membranes is modified by energy changes. Can we help to heal, potentiate, or empower each other? Millions of Chinese believe that we can, and quantum science would seem to back up that this notion from Chinese medicine is relevant and real.
The simplest and most fundamental atom of the universe is a hydrogen atom. This is a nucleus containing one proton of positive charge and one neutron of neutral charge. Surrounding the nucleus is one single electron with a negative charger. The electron continues to orbit the nucleus in a stable manner, without ever running out of energy and being drawn into the nucleus, causing the atom to collapse. It does this by ‘borrowing’ energy from a source outside of the physical universe. Electrons constantly communicate and exchange energy with this energy field to remain in their stable orbit around the nucleus. If subatomic matter also exists as waves and particles, they pop in and out of existence as these different forms and being ‘out of existence’ is within this energy field that the electron borrows from. Before anything comes into physical existence it exists in this non-reality.
Energy is eternal: it always has and always will exist. If we subscribe to this theory, it follows that our physical lives are finite, but our consciousness (which isn’t matter and therefore wave-like) is infinite as part of this energy field. We are in existence for the length of our lifetime, and we then return to this energy field when we die (Taoists would argue) to come back into physical reality again for another lifetime. The bottom line is that Taoists and quantum physicists alike believe that visible and invisible dimensions form the very basis of our world.