The Philosophy of the Dao
Dao is often described as “the path” or “the way of life” in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The laws of the Dao advocate moderation, living in harmony with nature and striving for balance. The ancient Chinese believed that moderation in all areas of life are essential to a long and fruitful life.
We are “fueled” by three Forces: Qi or Chi (pronounced chee), Shen, and Jing.
Chi is energy or vital substance, Shen is the spirit, and Jing is our essence. Qi is the vital energy of every living organism and the source of all movement and change in the universe. In the body, Qi is found in the heart and lungs, circulating blood and oxygen.
Shen is the Force that gives brightness to life and is responsible for consciousness and mental abilities. Sometimes it is compared to the soul. Within the individual, Shen is manifested in personality, thought, sensory perception, and the awareness of self.
Jing is responsible for growth, development and reproduction. Jing represents a person’s potential for development. (Comparable to western concept of genetic inheritance). Chinese believed that everyone is born with a finite amount of Jing. As we go through life, we lose or consume our Jing little by little. Once we lose Jing, it cannot be replaced. A number of factors can contribute to the depletion of Jing. Living a life of excess, drinking too much, excessive emotional reactions, working too hard, inappropriate sexual behavior, etc. all were believed to result in the depletion of Jing. Balance in all things was considered the key to good health and long life. Jing can be preserved if we live in moderation. Acupuncture can also reduce the loss of Jing and promote health.