Ching Sheng Li
External or macrocosmic energy (精生力 Pinyin: jīng shēng lì) comes down from heaven, passes through all things, even our own bodies, goes into the earth, and in so doing gathers further energy and vitality, then goes back to heaven again, and in so doing it passes through many other things. It is everywhere, and passes through you constantly whether you are awake or asleep, and is doing so even as you read this. However, if you remain constantly indoors, then your share of it is reduced by the walls, ceiling, and things around you; so, whenever you can, get out into the fresh air, for this will help to revitalise you.
The early Taoists learned through their infinite search for spiritual alchemy to harness, store, control and use external energy, and it is this that enables many of them to live to 150 to 200 years of age. You can too, if you join us in the knowledge that age is only the number of earth years, and that at sixty or more you have the skin, mind, energy and vitality that you had when you were only twelve years of age. Time is nothing; it is how you use it, live it and utilise it that really matters, and your spiritual growth depends upon it.
Out of all the energies that we have or should have, external energy is the most important, for it was this that brought the universe into being, and created all plant life, fish, mammals, animals and ourselves. We too are animals, but what separates them from humanity is not the power of the brain, but that we possess a spirit, which is composed of the same energy.
The Taoists realised this fact thousands of years ago, and knew that the development of this energy was essential to the spiritual life, for it is external energy that enables the spirit to be reincarnated and that when you die ensures that your spirit has the vitality to return to the astral plains where it will rest, until the next time round. It was this energy that enabled Jesus Christ to rise from the dead and go to heaven, and this is exactly what happens to your own spirit.
External energy is also of great value in healing. It is indeed truly wonderful that the energy that gives us life also enables us to give life to others, so proving again the harmony of the universe.
In the very beginning there was no universe, in fact there was literally nothing, for there was a void, and it was there that the Supreme Spirit (Yuhuang Tati) resided. It ordained that everything should have a balance of two sides, just like a coin, and this is what was described by the Taoists as the Yin and Yang. The energy that created everything was the energy of the Supreme Spirit, and we call this macrocosmic energy (Ching Sheng Li). It was this energy that was the first to abide by the rules and the duality of the Yin and Yang. It was because of this duality that the universe was created over five billion years ago. The human race is only five million years old, so there is an enormous difference.
So in terms of health and Chinese Taoist medicine, the interplay of Yin andYang exerts its influence on the two energies of 'macrocosmic energy' (Ching Sheng Li), which is the energy of the universe, and 'internal energy' (Neichung Ch'i), which is the energy within the human body. Both of these can have a great influence on the good health of every individual, and that is why they are the roots of Chinese diagnosis and pathology.
Macrocosmic energy (Ching Sheng Li) is Yang when compared with internal energy (Neichung Ch'i), which is accepted as Yin in comparison, but both have within them the balance of the Yin and the Yang. For your further understanding, Li is the energy of the Supreme Spirit which it allowed out of the void and which formed the whole universe through the will of the Tao.
This energy originally swept out of the void and into the universe creating order from the chaos that existed at that time, and that is how the planetary systems came into being and how the earth on which we live was formed. The void, the home of the Supreme Spirit, is Yin, and the outward expansion of Li energy was therefore Yang, and it still maintains this balance and holds each planet in its preselected place, and it is also in continuous flow, even as you read this, and still enters into our earth every second of every day.
As Li energy comes into the earth's atmosphere it passes through all Yang things, before entering the soil, and once the world has been filled to its maximum capacity, then the overflow returns back to heaven (if you wish to call it that) from whence it came, and therefore it is now Yin, and it will now pass through all Yin things on its return journey back to its original home. The Yang direction of flow of Li energy looks something like this:
Naturally, as it moves further away from heaven, it becomes weaker, and as the spirit of man is Yang, this Li energy will naturally pass through the human body as well, by going down the spine and out through the abdomen, in a centripetal circular motion (as depicted above). It then continues its journey by going into the earth. It will naturally pass through other Yang things, such as Yang birds and animals, and also Yang vegetation, wood being one form of the latter.
Conversely, it also passes through all Yin things on its way back to heaven and as women have Yin spirits, it will pass through them, in a centrifugal circular action, by rising up through the spine and out through the head. The Taoists represented this flow of direction like this:
As we now know, this represents the direction of flow of Li energy in men and women, and in all Yang and Yin objects, and so it represents the unity and duality, the dual monism, in all things here on this earth
Ching Sheng Li
This energy is known as 'macro-cosmic' or 'external' energy. It is the natural energy of the universe, for it comes down from the heavens, passes through everything on this earth, including our own bodies, enters the earth and, after gathering further vitality and power, returns upwards to return from whence it came. It is constantly present and passing through our human bodies, and it can be harnessed, stored, controlled and utilized by everyone, providing they have the mental training to do so.
By utilizing this dynamic energy, many ancient Chinese philosophers lived from 150 to 200 years of age, and even in this modern era it is possible to have, even at the age of sixty, the skin, body, mentality, energy and vitality of a twenty-year-old. It is not time or the number of years that matter, it is the true health of the individual that eventually shows through. The Taoist will tell you and show you the real truth: keeping fit does not necessarily make you truly healthy, but if you are truly healthy then you are automatically fit.
On its downward journey Ching Sheng Li passes through all men, down the spine and out through the lower abdomen. This circular action is centripetal in its flow, and this Li energy moves in this way through all Yang things. On its upward path, or return journey from the earth, it passes through everything that is Yin, in a centrifugal motion. In passing through all women it comes up from the ground, along the spine, and out through the head. These two directions are represented as follows:
When these two directions were placed together by the ancient Taoists, they represented the well-known Yin and Yang symbol:
Not only did this concept represent Yin and Yang, showing the two sides of everything, but it also expressed the idea that nothing had a beginning nor an end, everything is everlasting. Later, the ancient Taoists added a further permutation, as you will see in the next chapter, which demonstrated their closer appreciation of the work of the Tao.
A more complex symbolic expression of the workings of the universe is the Eight Trigrams (Pa Kua) which are included in the Book of Changes (I Ching), which is one of the most important books in the world, for thousands of years of wisdom and understanding have gone into it. Both Confucianism and Taoism have their roots here, so it is natural that the basic principles of T'ai Chi Ch'uan are derived from it.