The Three Treasures is a map to life’s deeper meanings. With so much power and potential within, we often get confused about who we are and our place in this world. Within each of us lives powerful forces and treasures that govern who we are, how we react, what we feel, and how much energy we have. Too often, these inner treasure lay buried or dormant within ourselves.
In our previous blog post, we talked about the Three Treasures of body, mind, and spirit, and discussed the importance of integrating all parts of our being. Today we’ll delve deeper into how to excavate these treasures, and explore how the energies of each can work together for health and happiness.
Jing, Qi, and Shen
We’ve already talked about the importance of aligning body, mind, and spirit for the well-being of the whole. Now, let’s focus on how to do that more fully. Each part of ourselves has a separate kind of energy or “qi” that brings its own unique qualities to who we are. Just as you need both your lungs and your heart in order to circulate oxygen throughout your body, no person is able to live without each component of the three treasures giving power to each aspect of who you are.
As physical beings, our body is an essential part of our existence and is the source of great energy and vitality. “Jing” is the densest energy, and is most closely connected with our physical form. It is often referred to as “essential energy” since it reflects the essence of our body. Jing is also the source of life and is commonly associated with sexual energy, although not exclusively so. Jing is stored in the lower Tan Tien, and can be thought of as a reservoir of vital life energy.
In contrast, Shen is the energy of spirit and resides in our Upper Tan Tien. While Jing is very much an energy of the body, Shen is spiritual energy that can connect to the Tao to guide the whole. Often referred to as the “Hall of Impression,” the Upper Tan Tien takes in sense and experience to cultivate intuition and awareness of the universe. When Shen energy is strong, a person feels spiritual truth channeling throughout their beings. Shen is not an intellectual experience, but a deep knowingness of what is important and how to live. Shen is cultivated both by being receptive to the universe, as well as by the other energies of the body.
Qi is the energy that lies between Shen and Jing, and can be thought of as a gateway between heaven and earth — spirit and body. Qi lives within the Middle Tan Tien and circulates between all parts of the body. Strong qi is often reflected through creativity and expression, but is also critical to health and emotional balance. When referenced in unqualified terms, Qi always refers to all energy within the body, although it can also refer to the Qi of the Middle Tan Tien.
The Microcosmic Orbit
The Microcosmic Orbit is a natural pathway of energy that is continually circulating within the body. Just as ice melts into water and then evaporates into vapor, skilled practitioners will seek to transform their Jing into Qi, which in turn transforms into Shen. Shen then cascades down the front of the body where it enriches Qi and then Jing, bringing a complete circle to the energy pathway. As energy flows continuously throughout the orbit, any stagnant qi is released and the the body, mind, and spirit become one.
Even though it’s possible to identify distinct energies within the body, Jing, Qi, and Shen are constantly moving and transforming into one another, just like ice, water, and vapor. Many practitioners will seek to cultivate their Jing and pull their energy upwards for greater vitality within their body and mind. Since Jing and sexuality are closely connected, many Taoist traditions integrate healthy sexual practices as a way of circulating enriched qi throughout the entire being via the Microcosmic Orbit, but that’s a topic for another blog post.
Three Treasures Immersion Program
The Three Treasures Immersion program guides participants on a journey to claim their own internal power, and learn tools to maintain balance and integration within their beings. Lee’s teachings will focus on Qi Gong practices that bring greater awareness of all parts of the self, and help students to understand who they really are on a deeper level. The practices that Lee will be teaching, including the Microcosmic Orbit, can be continued by students long after they leave the classroom and can become lifelong tools for health and vitality. The Three Treasures Immersion program is also an important step for anyone considering becoming a Qi Gong teacher, and connects like-minded individuals who are all seeking to enrich their lives.
The immersion program will span four weekends and will start on Saturday, May 5th. Classes can be taken in-person in Santa Cruz, California, or online from any location with a wifi connection. As humans, we’re always looking to the external world for answers to life’s great questions. Qi Gong for the Three Treasures helps students take a step back and uncover some of the mysteries that are already within ourselves.
Check out our Three Treasures website page to learn more.
By Ian Drogin