According to ancient TAOISM, each human has an incredible potential which is undeveloped. This potential waits dormant for humans to properly develop it throughout their life and become divine beings. However, most humans, if not all, live their whole life oblivious of this.
We all feel like there is something more in store for us. But most of us live their entire lives never even trying to find out what this is, lost in the game of society; preoccupied with finishing school, getting a job, providing for the family and buying the newest trends until we retire and we are too old.
Ancient Taoist wisdom says that each human has 3 treasures: Jing, Qi, and Shen; once someone develops all the 3 treasures they become a divine being; they appear as saints in the eyes of other people or as it is described “bright and glowing as a holy man”
The 3 Treasures
You have probably heard about Qi Energy. It is the most famous one of the 3 treasures. Some call it “Chi” some call it “Prana” others simply “Energy” but this is all the same concept, the same energy that animates us.
Recommended: The Amazing Power of Qi Energy: 3 Ways to Develop It
Jing and Shen are the other 2 equally wondrous treasures. You have probably never heard of them but don’t worry, we’ll explain all of them.
Jing 精 (or Vital Essence)
Jing is the first Treasure and is translated as “Regenerative Essence,” or simply as “Essence.” It is a blend of Yin and Yang. Jing is the stored energy of life. In other words, Jing is your Life Battery. It’s what regulates regeneration, adaptation and genetic potential. Low Jing results in aging and strong Jing in youth and vitality.
Jing is essential to life and when it runs low our life force is severely diminished and thus we lose all power to adapt. The quantity of Essence determines both our lifespan 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 marital excess (especially in men). Excessive menstrual patterns, pregnancy, and childbirth can 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).
It is considered extremely difficult to enhance the original Jing after conception, although it is not at all difficult to deplete and weaken it, and thus to weaken and shorten one’s life.
The only way to strengthen the original Jing is through specific highly sophisticated yogic techniques such as those developed by the Daoists and by consuming certain potent tonic herbs known as Jing tonics. The purpose of taking Jing tonic herbs is to maintain healthy levels of postnatal Jing. If postnatal Jing is maintained at sufficient levels, prenatal Jing is used much more slowly and the aging process is slowed down.
- Jing Tonics to replenish the Jing: Heshouwu; Goji; Dendrobium; Ligustrum; Steamed Rehmannia; Asparagus root; Tortoise Shell and Schizandra;
- Jing foods that nourish Jing: Eggs; Fish Eggs or Roe; Nuts and Seeds; Algaes and Seaweeds; Pollens and Royal Jelly; Beans; Black Rice; Organs; Bones;
Qi 氣 (or Subtle Breath)
Qi, the second Treasure, is the energy that creates our vitality. Qi is what powers the Jing or our essence. If Jing is the battery of a car than Qi is the fuel. Through the constant interaction of Yin and Yang change is brought into being. Qi is the activity of Yin and Yang. Movement, functioning, and thought are the result of Qi. The nature of Qi is to move. That’s why an essential part of Qigong is movement.
Qi is obtained mainly through the food we eat and the air we breathe. These 2 elements in combination with our Original Qi (a segment of Qi coming from our Jing) produce what we call Qi energy or Chi energy. This is the energy that animates us; the energy that flows through our organs, powers and protects them.
To understand the process of where Qi comes from you must learn one secret: There is not just one Qi but 9 segments that interact with each other to produce Qi and all of them must be understood to understand the whole.
Here are The 9 Types Of Qi:
- Yuan-Chi – The original or “Before Heaven” chi, this is the chi that is immediately inherited at the time of conception. Nothing you do can change this type of chi.
- Gu Chi – This is “After Heaven” chi and is derived from food. It is the chi of the spleen.
- Kong Chi – This also is “After Heaven” chi but it is derived from air and is the chi of the Lung.
- Zong Chi (Chi of the chest) – The gathering of both the Gu Chi and the Kong Chi.
- Zheng Chi – This is “normal” chi, it is the product of the Zong Chi being catalyzed by the Yuan Chi.
- Ying Chi – The nutritive Zheng Chi that nourishes the organs and tissue.
- Wei Chi – The defensive Zheng Chi that circulates on the surface of the body and protects it from external factors. (This is the type of Chi martial artists train)
- Zangfu Zhi Chi – This is the Zheng Chi that flows through the organs.
- Jing Luo Zhi Chi – This is the Zheng Chi that flows through the meridians.
All of these parts together give our second treasure. When all of these segments are in balance and harmony our Qi is in balance and harmony.
Unlike our Jing, the Qi is easier to replenish. All you need to do is rest, eat better food, breathe clean air, meditate, run, exercise, practice yoga, Taichi, Qigong or simply make your body move dancing… there are many other ways.
Qi is just a higher frequency of Jing; a higher dimension. When Qi condenses, it becomes Jing. When the frequency of Qi increases, it becomes Shen.
Our bigger focus in life should be learning to control our Qi and developing it into Shen. Instead, many people keep wasting it on pointless, meaningless activities just so they can satisfy their ego. And while they do this, their battery drains and they miss the chance of developing a strong Shen.
Shen 神 (or The Spirit)
Shen is the third Treasure. Shen is the Holy Spirit which directs Qi. It may also be translated as our “higher consciousness.” Shen is our higher knowledge that everything is one, even though nature manifests dualistically and cyclically, often obscuring our vision and creating an illusion. It is the unification of Yin and Yang. It reflects our higher nature as human beings.
Shen is the spark of divinity that resides within the heart of every human being and manifests as love, kindness, compassion, generosity, giving, tolerance, forgiveness, mercy, tenderness and the appreciation of beauty.
Shen is the purpose of all spiritual paths. It is the Buddha’s desire to end suffering, it is Christ’s love and Muhammad’s compassion.
Shen manifests only when the heart is open. Once the heart is open, Shen manifests as a light that illuminates the path toward a higher spiritual goal. Shen is the realization of our soul’s purpose; It’s the awakening of our higher self.
Shen is not replenished like the other 2 treasures but developed. In modern times we can safely say it’s “downloaded” through increasing the frequency of Qi and opening our heart. The closest thing to replenishing Shen is becoming conscious of the present. You can see a different light behind someone’s eyes who is THERE in the present moment, and someone who is not. Playing is another form of replenishing Shen.
Just observe children who follow the curiousness of their little hearts, how easily they can light up a room. That’s the third treasure right there. Observe people who follow their purpose, observe couples in love, observe people who after a long trip come back home full of excitement and stories to tell. That’s transmuted Qi into a higher frequency. That’s what having a strong Shen looks like.
The Importance Of Balance
When the three treasures are in harmony the individual is radiant, physically fit, and mentally sharp. One should find the balance between the three treasures through meditation, exercise, and live well in general. Any disruption of the three treasures leads to an imbalance of the whole. This imbalance can be manifested as physical or psychological abnormalities.
“The bodily form [xing] is the residence of life; the qi fills this life while shen controls it. If either of them loses their proper position, they will all come to harm.” – (Englehart 2000:99)
The modern world is a place where you can easily waste your Jing. How many people eat food that, instead of producing, harms their Qi? How many people breathe polluted air? Let’s not speak about following their purpose, opening their hearts and developing Shen It’s like people are given treasures in life that they never open.
According to ancient Taoism, it is absolutely crucial to nursing these vital forces. They are the greatest gifts that will help us reach our divine potential.
“Know well this secret formula wondrous and true: Spare and nurse the vital forces, this and nothing else. All power resides in the semen [jing], the breath [qi], and the spirit [shen]; Guard these with care, securely, lest there be a leak. Lest there be a leak!
Keep within the body!” (Yu 1977:88)
– Engelhardt, Ute. 2000. “Longevity Techniques and Chinese Medicine,” in Daoism Handbook, ed. Livia Kohn, pp. 74–108. Brill;
– Yu, Anthony, tr. 1977. “The Journey to the West” University of Chicago Press;
– http://www.usjjf.org/uploads/5/2/4/8/52481119/what_is_chi_and_where_does_it_come_from.pdf ;