Life Force

Life force goes by many names. In Japanese it is ki and shows up in martial arts (ai-ki-do, for example) and healing (rei-ki). Chinese use the word chi or qi, as in tai chi or qi gong. The Hindus call if prana. Christians say grace or, perhaps, the Holy Spirit. It has sometimes shown up in the fringes of Western psychology, such as Wilhelm Reich’s Orgone energy. The Inca medicine people use the word kausay. There are probably a thousand more words and subclasses of these words. But they are all talking about aspects of the same thing: life force.

A force is something that causes a change. In the physical world there are four fundamental forces: gravity, electromagnetism, strong nuclear, and weak nuclear. The life force I am proposing is also a force, but it is different from these.

Why do we need a life force? Because things happen that can’t be explained by any of the currently accepted forces.

Gravity, for example, always pulls objects together. In our case (unless you are one of the rare people who walked on the moon) gravity is always pulling us down to the earth. So how do we explain St. Teresa of Avila? She described the moments she felt closest to God by saying, “…the Lord catches up the soul…and carries it right out of itself…and begins to show it the features of the Kingdom He has prepared for it.”

While this was a significant spiritual moment, there was something physical that went with it. It wasn’t just her soul that was swept off the ground. Her whole body was lifted up, too. The other nuns tried, and usually succeeded, in holding her down, but this conduct was so extraordinary that her confessor made her write down her experiences to make sure they weren’t the work of the devil. This was a real effect witnessed by dozens of people at a time.

She wasn’t alone in levitating; more that 100 Catholic saints have been said to have the experience and other, non-Christian traditions have similar stories. Gravity doesn’t let you float off the ground. Neither do the other physical forces. If we want to explain what happen to St. Teresa (and all of the others who have defied gravity) we’re going to need some other force. I’m calling it the life force. Most people don’t levitate, but all of us are affected life force that connects our souls together.

Energy and Information

The life force I am proposing affects two things: energy and information. Energy and information can both be positive or negative. They can move between parts of a single soul or between the parts of two different souls. Each part of the soul has its own level of life force.

Positive energy makes us feel like we can accomplish something. Positive information lets us know how to do something that increases positive life force. Negative energy and information let us cause harm. When we have too little energy, we may know what we want but it all seems too difficult. When we have no information, even if we have enough energy, we can’t figure out what we want to do.

Positive life force is the best for the world. However, you can see the appeal of negative life force over no life force at all. You may be doing something that causes harm, but at least you are doing something.


Hoocha is a useful concept that I found in Inca medicine. I think it’s different from negative life force. It doesn’t cause harm directly. It seems more like the result of bad things happening. It is really good at getting in the way so that nothing can happen.

I see it as a dark cloud of gunk that we create when we are doing things badly. It can stay in a place. It can spread through a group of people. It can hang around from one generation to the next.

Hoocha blocks you from seeing possibilities for positive actions. You can’t see the nature of others clearly. You can’t see your choices clearly. You feel stuck. At its worst, you can imagine it as tar covering you so thickly that you can’t move and can’t see your hand in front of your face.

One of the big goals we have when we are doing healing work is to remove hoocha.

What Life Force Explains

Life force is useful, and probably required, for explaining a lot of what happens in our world. We see it in action when you know that you really need to talk to a friend because something is wrong. It also shows up in Rupert Sheldrake’s experiments on knowing that you are being stared at. Energy healing relies on positive life force to make a change in the client. In martial arts life force determines who will win a fight. In fact, life force may be enough to decide the winner of a fight before any physical blows are thrown.

Later on we’ll look at how each region of the soul processes the parts of life force. We’ll see how positive and negative life force interact. Then we’ll describe ways you can bring more positive life force into your life.


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