Maintaining Relationships


There are two Chinese idioms: “meet others with harmonious Qi (He Qi)”, and “with harmonious Qi (He Qi) one can make money”. What does He Qi mean? He Qi is the maintainer of relationships. We can start by understanding He and Yin / Yang to understand He Qi.

He means and, with.

The primary meaning of Yin and Yang refers to location.

By He, the Yin side and Yang side form a united whole. The relationship is naturally developed. They are two sides of the same coin that cannot be separated and each has a unique nature.

Harmonious Qi is naturally present when Yin and Yang are balanced.

  • Harmonious Qi, He Qi, means good-natured. One who has harmonious Qi, like a nice environment, will attract people.

He means follow, respond to.

The sun rises and sets; the new moon will change to a full moon; the season will change from winter to spring. As time changes, Qi changes from Yin to Yang, and then from Yang to Yin. It’s an ongoing process.

Harmonizing Qi is about recognizing the changing of time and being able to adjust to it. The nature of Yin and Yang requires us to follow different principles to respond to the changing Qi.

For example, during the day Yang is dominant and to follow it we work; and at night time is opposite, Yin is dominant and we rest. So, we can observe the change in pattern and go with it! Harmonious Qi is present when we respond appropriately.

  • Harmonious Qi, He Qi, means easygoing. We can’t change the laws of nature, but we can coordinate with nature and flow with it. Similarly, we need to know the nature of self and balance the self with awareness.

He means gentle, moderate.

The Yin-Yang symbol has four parts: Yin has a Yang dot within, and Yang has a Yin dot within. Yin and Yang are transformable. The seeds of transformation are already there. For example, a sunny Yang day can easily change to a Yin cloudy day. Or, water can become ice when it’s cold.

To harmonize the relationship between the opposites Yin and Yang, one shouldn’t hold the intentions of control or forceful change. Instead, we can create space to allow change naturally.  Qi needs space to flow. A relationship without space is like breathing through a mask, Qi will be stagnant and so will the relationship.

  • Harmonious Qi, He Qi, means amiable, friendly, gentle. In a close relationship, our energy communicates before we even speak. One might be able to be polite but harmonious Qi doesn’t exist without a gentle heart.

He means harmonious; the sum of.

Despite the abstract nature of Qi, ancient Chinese found that Qi exists everywhere and permeates the whole universe. It can change from one form to another. Yin Yang nature manifests in many ways and is full of variety. Seeking harmony is not like a cookie cutter that makes everything be the same, it is recognizing diversity, and being kind to all.

  • Harmonious Qi, He Qi, means kindness.

May kindness return to you in the same beautiful way it was given.

We can hope to hold the harmonious Qi, be the energy we want to attract and be the maintainer of relationships – the relationship with the environment, others and self!

(A teaching of Thich Nhat Hanh)


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