Chinese traditional beliefs recognize “Three treasures of Life”: Jing, Chi and Shen (Essence, vital Energy and Spirit). An alchemy can occur with these treasures: a co-dependence enhancing the quality of life. These beliefs emphasize the practical and focus on simplicity.
The Three Treasures evolve throughout our lives. They are pictured as 3 spheres at birth; bound closely together so that each sphere’s quality intermingles effortlessly with the others. The border around them is an amorphous mass surrounding a shape somewhat like a 3 leaf clover.
As we age the three treasures drift apart, firming into a more definite spheres.
This represents one’s prime of life. Hormones are peaking with Jing (life essence). At this point Jing is the primary igniter in the relationship of the three. Their exchange is enhanced by efficiency in the hormonal biochemical process. We note exchanges where each treasure feeds or influences the quality of its neighbor. Some of these qualities will influence whether we are sickly or vibrant. Jing gathers Chi, collects, crystallizes and nurtures the hormonal forces which in turn help to nourish and cultivate Chi (vital energy) and Shen (spirit).
In the twilight period of one’s life, the three treasures seem more distant from each other. In this period, the primary igniter for the relationship is now Shen. The border still retains some spherical shape yet it is returning to its amorphous beginning. If we are studying arts like Tai Chi or Kung Fu , the well established pathways between the treasures are strengthened through practice. This refinement of the pathways is what we commonly refer to as wisdom. Practice and wisdom can therefore affect the harmony or disharmony of ones life force.
All life is born with instinct for survival, but it is this instinctual response to a given situation that we must train. Practicing a martial art is an excellent way to accomplish this. Intuition may not always be the most effective approach in life. The same is true for reason. The quality of MINDFULNESS, garnered from ones martial traiing, is often an answer. It is early morning, I am not fully awake walking in an Alaskan forest when I turn a corner and walk right into a she bear with cubs. Whoa, what do I do, scream, run, or just freeze on the spot? Our , visceral intelligence is refined through martial practice. Our response, rather than startled, is calmer, cooler,tempered .
It takes work to nurture the quality of life by developing ones martial practice with mindfulness. This method of mindful engagement enhances this indescribable journey. We must avoid the trap of mental attachment. Instead we gladden our hearts and dive into the deep end, acting through Kung Fu and Tai Chi principles and virtues to support the refinementof our Three Treasures.
MINDFULNESS (Part 2) by Mike GenzmerMike Genzmer, Â© 2005
Mike Genzmer , a scientist, is a senior Tai Chi instructor at the Academy of Martial Arts, Santa Cruz.