Three Treasures: Jing Qi Shen
“Jing Qi Shen” means Essence, Energy, and Spirit. It is a vital and fundamental part of the arts of Wu Gong practice. Each one is important on its own, but in combination and actually as a process, they are the key to utilizing our energies to benefit our physical and mental health and strength. We transform jing into qi and then into shen. In this process we are nourishing the spirit. There are many aspects to learn and here are the basics.
Jing is given to us by our parents; this is known as “Original Jing” or “Prenatal Jing”. It then resides in our kidneys. This is a gift to us that should be conserved. However, it is very easy to deplete by living fast. Over indulgence in “the good things in life”, such as excessive activities in drinking, sex, eating rich foods (eating unhealthy foods means eating unhealthy qi which nourishes us poorly and makes our systems work extra hard. This “mixes” with the jing. And together they nourish the shen, our spirit.), etc. and leaving no time for the right amount of sleep. Like everything else, moderation is very important. Most Qi Gong, Tai Ji Quan, Kung Fu masters will agree that when it comes to sex, once a week is a good amount. Original jing is what fundamentally makes us who we are. It will be with us from birth to death. The less we have, the shorter our life span. It changes us physically and mentally as our bodies grow and change and our minds mature. Jing allows life to be living in humans and other life forms. Jing is considered part of the lower dan tian where it meets and mixes with qi.
Qi comes in many different forms. The overall understanding in Wei Tuo Qi Gong is energy matter and information. So qi is everywhere and nowhere. However there are other more specific “kinds” of qi that are vital to our health and basic living. Original qi, which is very similar to original jing, it is the qi we want to conserve. Postnatal qi is the qi we use when we get in our diet and when we breathe; it is the qi that keeps us going after we are born. So when we eat and drink poorly (poor diet) and breathe pollution, that affects our own personal qi. There is also “protective” qi. This qi is what protects us from outside pathogens. In summer it is stronger, but weaker in winter: so we need to be more conscious of maintaining our health. The qi we get from the environment mixes with the original qi and jing (from our parents) in the lower dan tian which rises to nourish our middle dan tian, behind the sternum, where this kind of qi is considered to reside.
The shen is in a sense not just the spirit in the Western concept, but as much as the mind. It can be argued that it is one of the unique traits that distinguish humans from animals. It is the ultimate part of especially Qi Gong and Tai Ji Quan training.
It is not necessarily the religious spirit, though they share many attributes. It allows us to create morality, imagination, intention and mental processes for self-reflection. When a person is trained, the shen allows us to understand the importance of and being humane. The depth or shallowness, vitality or tiredness, goodness or bad of a person are observable in the eyes. The Shen resides in the upper dan tian which is behind the third eye. Interestingly enough this is where the frontal lobes are located, the part of the brain that gives us the intelligence beyond animals: the part of the brain that makes us human.