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(8 pages total)

Page 6 - The Dao of Herbs


Qi is the invisible life force which enables the body to think and perform voluntary movement. The power of qi can be seen in the power that enables a person to move and live. It can be seen in the movement of energy in the cosmos and in all other movements and changes. Coming from heaven into the body through the nose (yang gate) and mouth (yin gate), it circulates through the 12 meridians to nourish and preserve the inner organs.

Shen energy is similar to the English meaning of the words "mind" and "spirit." It is developed by the combination of jing and qi energy. When these two treasures are in balance, the mind is strong, the spirit is great, the emotions are under control and the body is strong and healthy. But it is very difficult to expect a sound mind to be cultivated without sound jing and qi. An old proverb says that "a sound mind lives in a sound body." When cultivated, shen will bring peace of mind.

When we develop jing, we get a large amount of qi automatically. When we have a large amount of qi, we will also have strong shen, and we will become bright and glowing as a holy man.


The First Treasure

Jing is the first Treasure and is translated as "regenerative essence" or simply as "essence." Jing is the refined energy of the body. It provides the foundation for all activity and is said to be the "root" of our vitality. Jing is the primal energy of life and is closely associated with our genetic potential and the aging process. Jing is stored energy and provides the reserves required to adapt to all the various stresses encountered in life. Since jing is concentrated energy, it manifests materially" Jing also is said to control a number of primary human functions: the reproductive organs and their various substances and functions; the power and clarity of the mind; and the integrity of one's physical structure. Jing, which is a blend of yin and yang energy, is said to be stored in the kidney. Jing is generally associated these days with the hormones of the reproductive and adrenal glands, and jing is the vital essence concentrated in the sperm and ova.

When jing is strong, vitality and youthfulness remain. Strong jing energy in the kidneys, so the Chinese say, will lead to a long and vigorous life, while a loss of jing will result in physical and mental degeneration and a shortening of one's life. Jing is essential to life and when it runs low our life force is severely diminished, thus we lose all power to adapt. The quantity of essence determines both our life span and the ultimate vitality of our life. Jing is burned up in the body by life itself, but most especially by chronic and acute stress and excessive behavior, including overwork, excessive emotionalism, substance abuse, chronic pain or illness, and sexual excess (especially in men). Excessive menstrual patterns, pregnancy and childbirth ca' result in a dramatic drain on the jing of a woman, especially in middle-aged women. When jing is depleted below a level required to survive, we die. Eventually everyone runs out of jing and thus everyone dies (at least physically).

There are special herbal tonics that fortify jing, that replace spent jing and that build up large reserves for future use.


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