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.