THE THREE TREASURES
Your Personal Resources
Everyone knows what it is like to feel tired and exhausted, like wanting to disappear into the realm of sleep and wake up in 100 years; how one feels when they are full of energy - feeling like they can take on the whole world! These are the extremes (and everything in between) that everyone experiences throughout their life as they fulfill their actions in the world. But what is it that guides these patterns that often fluctuate and peak, and is there a way to better understand and stabilise them? These patterns are akin to the weather and no one wants to be either caught in a storm or a drought. Each and every one of us has within themselves the power to carry out their actions in the world. This power is a result of the interaction and state of our internal resources.
Daoists have the knowledge of how to replenish their internal resources and maintain themselves in an optimal state of health. This is precious knowledge especially because it doesn't require any special instruments, pills or equipment. The human being has within him/herself the resources to learn how to optimise one's self and unlock their personal power. Such methods include practices such as Qigong and Tai Chi.
These internal resources are recognised according to Daoism and Traditional Chinese Medicine as the Three Treasures (三寶) San Bao. There is a poetic elegance in the name of this term "Treasure" because our internal resources are like a precious jewel that we should nurture and take care of carefully. The Three Treasures are:
Jing (essence) - Qi (energy) - Shen (spirit)
These terms are very meaningful, technical terms that describe the physiological functions of the living organism. To understand these terms, one has to also understand the difference between Western (or modern) and Oriental Medical knowledge. In summary, Traditional Medicine has a deep understand of the body's subtle energetic structure and function whilst Modern Medicine is good at understanding physical form and function. We look at a brief description of each of the three terms:
Qi (氣): Qi can be understood to be an energy that activates, moves and energises the various body structures and organs. We obtain Qi fromt he air we breathe, from the food we eat and from the environment around us. Qi leads the blood and blood nourishes and moistens the body structures. This is why blood is known as yin and Qi as yang.
Jing (精): Jing - 'Essence' is Qi in its 'stored' from, when it is in storage for later use. When it becomes active it moves about the body's energy channels in its active, yang state. Because of this, jing implies a developmental potential guiding the process or growth, maturation and ageing across the lifespan.
Shen (神): Shen - 'spirit' is another of one's personal resources and it relates to the ability to be have cognition and self-awareness, It relates to one's state of mind and their behaviour. In Chinese Medicine a Doctor will observe a patient's 'spirit brightness' (Shen Ming) to determine the state of their health. This is interesting because here we can see how the other treasures (Qi and jing) can affect Spirit and how they interact. If a patient's spirit is 'dull' they may seem down, their voice might be weak, their words slurred and behaviours inappropriate or strange. This is because the spirit does not have the support of the of the other Treasures to function optimally. Looking at the opposite situation, when one's spirit is bright, the eyes are clear and alert, thoughts are coherent and speech fluent. This means that the other Treasures and plentiful and orderly.
Modern Medicine is not able to detect these Three Treasures with its sophisticated instruments but Qigong practitioners for example, can refine their own personal sensory apparatus such that they are able to for themselves sense, understand and learn how to manage and optimise the function of these precious resources governing the rhythms of life itself.