Breath Of Life

Breath of Life...

"The word: 'In-spir-at-ion' means to Breathe in the Spirit--the Breath of Life. In the Hawaiian Language this word is Alo-ha. Alo means: 'First' and Ha means: 'The Breath of Life.' Aloha means: 'First Breathe the Breath of Life'...

Ha is very close to the Egyptian word: Ka which means: 'Vital Spark'. The Japanese call this Ki which means: 'Divine Energy.' In Sanskrit the word is Pran which means: 'Spirit Energy'.

Ha... Ka... Ki... Pran... All have to do with Divine Breath; Spirit!--all share a basic concept that all of Life is commingled and dependent upon a Divine Source... Breath! Breath of Life...

Notice the singularity of these syllables compared to a word like Inspiration... Why 4 syllables to express such a simple concept?

For the Chinese this simple fundamental word meaning 'Breath of Life' is Qi. Qi... Ha... Ka... Ki... Pran...

Qi is not pronounced 'Chi.' That is a mistake English speakers make because of the early British attempts to romanize Chinese words using the Wade-Giles System. In that system Chi should always appear as C'hi. The C is hard as in Cat. And the 'hi is a very brief EE sound. But when English speakers see 'C' and 'H' together we pronounce Chi. As in Church. The-- ' --gets dropped...

Qi is pronounced Ki just as in Japanese. It is pronounced: 'Ki Gung.' If you want to be technical. It is spoken very quickly. In the newer Pin-yin System, the Chinese have attempted to create phonetic spellings for Westerners.

There never was a Peking! The Chinese have always said 'Beijing.' But because of the British influence you can still buy Peking Duck in Beijing.

In Pin-yin, the Q is hard like the C in Cat or the K in King... But now, when Westerners see a 'Q' they immediately add a 'U' and say 'Kwee Gong', making the Q a 'Qu' sound as in Queen... (Or worse, like 'Qui-Gon' the Liam Neeson Character in the nefarious Star Wars expansion.)

Now, even though 'Ki Gung' is correct--'Qigong'-- Master Chan says: 'Just say Chi Gong' otherwise no one will know what you are talking about.'

Even the Chinese mispronounce it for our Western ears... Out of kindness.

But still the question remains. Qi... Ki... Ka... Ha... Pran... Inspiration...? Such a simple concept expressed in 4 syllables...?

The more syllables that appear in a word, the more recent its development in a language. The fewer the syllables the more primitive or primal the concept is to a culture. (i.e., God, Food, Wine, Beer, Love, Sex, Bread, Bed, Shoe, Home, Hearth, Health, Hate, War, Skin, Bone, Cat, Dog, Horse, Stick, Sick, Fire, Rock, Breath...)

Eastern and Polynesian cultures revere the very Air we breathe as a Life Force. The Vital Spark. Divine. But Westerners do not! Air... Breath... Taken for granted. Overlooked. Air... Breath... These are our oldest words. Air... Breath... These are our simplest words.

Air... Breath... Notice the Disconnect? We take the act of Breathing for granted and give it very little thought and no reverence at all... So, along comes the word Inspiration... A more sophisticated effort to describe something Miraculous; to Breathe in the Spirit; Pran... Ka... Ha... Ki... Qi... Qigong!"

Enough for today.

--Pahka Dave

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