A Complete Guide to the Core Beliefs


Fundamental Taoist Beliefs and Principle

The Method gave delivery to the One.
The One gave delivery to the Two.
The Two gave delivery to the Three.
And the Three gave delivery to the ten thousand issues.

Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching (translated by Thomas Cleary)

Taoism is the philosophy of syncing up with nature and doing that which comes naturally. It is vitally just like the traditions of naturism and shamanism however with a elementary distinction: Taoism bases its main understanding of actuality on the precept of steadiness between the forces of yin and yang.

These complementary opposites exist in an ever-changing and ever-flowing dynamic state that consistently self-corrects and harmonizes. The traditional philosophers of China used the time period Tao for the Supreme Final or the universe as we all know it. It’s the All. To start with, there was Wu Wei, or the Nice Vacancy, and from this got here yin and yang.

Yin and Yang

This is among the hottest Taoist beliefs. Every little thing within the universe has a yin and yang element to it, and all issues have a steadiness level. For instance, there can be no that means to “up” if the idea of “down” didn’t exist. There is no such thing as a “scorching” with out “chilly” and so forth.

This primordial distinction not solely pertains to the whole lot round us; it’s also what essentially drives the movement inside us. We, being an lively purposeful side of nature, exemplify the identical polar balancing; with sustained consideration to this subject material, we will discover the Tao, or the steadiness level, in all issues.

Primarily, there was the unique state of the universe whereby all issues have been One. There was unity consciousness and everlasting togetherness of all issues—after which, BOOM! Polarization. All issues suddenly are actually imbued with this elementary idea and this notion of separation. That is the mark of polarity. Now, it’s important to keep in mind that these poles are the seemingly reverse traits of the identical objects or issues. This polarity provides us a dualistic view of the identical phenomena. Yin and yang are constituent elements or mirror reflections of the identical one, which is just break up into two, the identical method a beam of sunshine splits when hitting a prism. To start with and in the long run, it’s all Tao. Polarity is simply the sport we’re enjoying.

The lists beneath present some fundamental examples of yin and yang to raised illustrate this Taoism philosophy. These apparent examples will assist additional illustrate some extent in our understanding of human nature—specifically, the distinctions we make in our strategy to self-growth and enlightenment.

Yin and Yang Examples

Yin: Earth,Chilly, Down, Matter, Feminine, Passive, Gentle, Physique, Materialism, Science
Yang: Solar, Scorching, Up, Power, Male, Lively, Exhausting, Spirit, Spiritualism, Faith

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In our tradition, we’re both on one finish or one other. Both you’re employed for Wall Road and drive the costly automobile, otherwise you put on patchouli and tour with the band. Both you’re a Democrat or a Republican, for abortion or towards it, patriotic or unpatriotic, with us or towards us, and on and on. The mark of our society is that it’s stained with the rigidity of dualistic considering, and we endure from its intolerance each day in our public discourse.

Grey Is The place All of the Good Stuff Occurs!

In accordance with Taoist beliefs, grey is the fusion of black and white and of yin and yang. It’s the understanding that there’s steadiness, communication, and interplay with all issues always. We in the US dwell in a tradition that was began by a gaggle of spiritual fundamentalists (the Puritans), who basically lived in a world of black and white. They have been an excessive amount of to deal with for his or her contemporaries in Europe, and they also got here to the New World to (conquer and) dwell their lifestyle. Intercourse was evil, and girls have been witches. Every little thing was black or white, and there was judgment throughout. It was neither enjoyable nor tolerant.

We are actually residing within the shadow of that polarized considering, and the nationwide discourse echoes that imbalance. The madness of the Crimson Staff-Blue Staff mentality has allowed us to stray from our humanity and has actually watered down the standard of human mental interplay, the assembly of concepts, and peaceable disagreement. Fundamentalism (in all religions and creeds) is a toddler of this imbalance; it’s a reflection of our collective ignorance—our ignorance of the reality. To realize steadiness on the earth outdoors of us, it is very important understand that we should first set up that state inside ourselves. The exterior is just a mirrored image of our inside state. Subsequently, any steadiness we want in our lives should come from a genuinely balanced state that originates from within us. We’re the holographic projectors, and the “actuality” we see past our flesh and blood is just the reflection of our inside state. As the traditional alchemical axiom attributed to Hermes Trismegistus states, “As above, so beneath.”

Typically, Yin and yang, and different Taoism beliefs and practices, signify the totality of creation from reverse sides of one another. Collectively they’re complete, and collectively there’s steadiness. One can not exist with out the opposite, and we can not study something with no balanced body of reference, which requires taking a look at each side and discovering the center. The polarity created by yin and yang will be in comparison with (if we so dare) the breath of life in biblical texts. At first, there’s solely Tao on this differentiation. Then, motion begins, and the vitality of life begins to stir and revolve round itself, swirling the myriad issues within the universe into being. It’s as if a centrifugal and centripetal power erupted concurrently, each creating and destroying, rising and falling, rising and decaying. In steadiness, the universe sustains itself and grows slowly in sentience and capability. We are able to examine it to an oak tree. It grows a bit yearly after which sheds weak branches within the autumn, which then turn into mulched as compost for the tree’s personal progress the next season. The tree finally grows so huge that the principle branches can not assist their very own weight, and so they collapse, solely to turn into the soil for the seeds of its progeny to develop up robust and repeat the cycle.

The early Taoists discovered the whole lot from observing nature, deep introspection, interior vitality cultivation, and growth of gnosis. They found the precept of yin and yang to be the impetus and driving power of all life, and this idea is inextricably linked to the extra Taoism beliefs and practices we’ll talk about.

Figure 41 Seasonal InterplayDetermine 1. Seasonal Interaction

Yin and yang will also be regarded as two inverted waves which are flowing alongside a central axis. In determine 1, we will see the interaction of the seasons and the way they relate to the rising and falling tides of yin and yang. The equinox factors are when the forces come collectively on the axis, and the solstices are on the extremes of 1 or the opposite.

If we then take this interaction and add a component of torsion or twisting right into a three-dimensional mannequin, we find yourself with one thing that appears the double helix of a DNA molecule, as proven in determine 2.

Figure 42 Double HelixDetermine 2. The Double Helix of DNA Resembles the Interaction of Yin and Yang

This double helix DNA serves as the knowledge storehouse for all life on this planet, and the interaction of those strands dictates which proteins are synthesized and the way we specific physiologically in nature. So to, This outstanding dance between the polar forces directs the language of inside energetic communication and turns into the idea of a lot of our transformational work.

The Three Treasures

As soon as the universe is break up into the polarized binary system of yin and yang, there arises a distinction between the totally different ranges of fabric manifestation. If spirit and matter, which on the stage of the Tao are one and the identical, are separated with the delivery of yin and yang, then we begin to see a scale of densification versus illumination. Take into account that yin and yang are relative to one another, all the time. There is no such thing as a absolute yin to talk of; issues are solely yin compared with one thing else. We are able to say “scorching” when it’s 100 levels out, and let’s imagine that that is very yang, however that assumes that a mean day is, say, 72 levels. A 100-degree day would definitely be extra yang on this occasion. However what if we in contrast that to a 350-degree oven or the floor of the solar? The 100-degree day can be extra yin in comparison with these. There’s a density “gradient” from spirit to matter by which matter is extra dense than spirit.

Now, taking this gradient for example, we will maintain it as a body of reference for the Taoist understanding of the Three Treasures: jing, qi, and shen. The Three Treasures additionally will be organized on a density gradient, with jing being probably the most yin, or most dense, and shen being probably the most yang, or least dense.

Per the teachings of Taoism, the polarization of spirit and essence creates the forex of life (the qi vitality). It’s the medium or language of communication of All That Is. Because of this it’s so highly effective to work with qi. Once we perceive the dynamics of qi circulate in our physique, we will start the alchemical means of bringing the poles of spirit and essence again to a balanced equilibrium. Within the duality-free stillness, we now have direct entry to the zero-point vitality area and are able to rewriting the code of how we manifest in three dimensions by way of our DNA.

A helpful instance is to match these Three Treasures to a candle, whereby the wax is the essence (jing), the flame is the vitality (qi), and the aura across the flame is the spirit (shen). The aim is to protect the essence (wax) and maintain a wholesome circulate of vitality (flame) in order that the spirit (aura) can soar. It is a very simplistic instance, and far more can be mentioned about this. However earlier than we go there, let’s take a look at every of the Three Treasures individually.


Jing is the important vitality that’s saved in our physique. Keep in mind, the Taoist understanding of actuality is intimately tied to the interior understanding of our physique and the motion of the life power via us. To know these dynamics is to realize enlightenment universally. Jing is probably the most yin of the three treasures, and it represents the core of our materials existence. It’s a most valuable substance that’s to be cherished and guarded.

Similar to the best way that polarity created the spectrum of vitality to matter, the essence is differentiated as properly. The Taoist perception is that we now have our “pre-heaven” essence, our “post-heaven” essence, and our “day-to-day” essence.

Pre-Heaven Essence

The pre-heaven essence comes from the mixing of the sexual energies of our organic dad and mom. This vitality nourishes the embryo and the fetus throughout being pregnant and basically comes downstream from our ancestral DNA. It determines our particular person, constitutional make-up, energy, and vitality and is what makes us every distinctive. It’s the hand we’ve been dealt by our dad and mom. An amazing quantity of historical past, info, and karma comes via our bloodlines by way of the DNA that will get registered at this stage of our essence. Some individuals are blessed, and lots of others are available with a lot of challenges in regard to this. Now, that is the side of the essence that’s the toughest to extend, and far of the knowledge in my e-book Interior Alchemy will unlock the secrets and techniques of how we will do exactly that via the apply of qi gong. That is an integral piece of the puzzle that have to be addressed in our energetic cultivation.

Submit-Heaven Essence

In Taoism, the post-heaven essence is attributed to our existence and is kind of changeable. It’s what we derive from meals and fluids after delivery. It’s what we do with ourselves as soon as we’ve come into the world. It has quite a bit to do with early-stage growth and the standard of our nourishment from our delivery onward. There’s a nice deal to say about this subject in regard to wholesome bacterial colonies within the intestine, breastfeeding, high quality of meals, and the loving surroundings a toddler is introduced into.

We are able to’t actually assist what occurred earlier than conception or throughout our childish growth (although, in fact, we will achieve this for our kids), however we actually will help what we do with it from there. This side of the essence actually will be cultivated and positively affected by way of life and apply. The truth is, a important side of our apply is to repeatedly refine our essence and improve the quantity of condensed jing to work with.

Day-to-Day Essence

If we have been to make use of cash as a metaphor, the pre-heaven essence can be a locked-away household belief account that we all know is there but is comparatively inaccessible in our day-to-day dealings. Our post-heaven essence can be our cash market financial savings account; we will faucet into it—however at a worth. After which our day-to-day essence can be our checking account, being deposited to and drawn upon each day for our numerous wants.

Being derived from the opposite two kinds of essence, the day-to-day selection can faucet into each the pre-and post-heaven reserves and replenish itself. It serves because the physique’s main backup system. It acts because the reinforcement for all of the physique’s energies, like a backup battery, supporting our methods when there’s an outage. You can too consider it because the overdraft safety in your checking account. It’s important to maintain this technique wholesome for day-to-day functioning with a purpose to keep well being. If we wish to improve our well being and state of being, then that’s the place the Taoist beliefs and practices supplied in my e-book Interior Alchemy serve their goal. We shouldn’t be simply making ends meet each day; as a substitute, we have to be in a state of relative overflow and abundance. It will then give us the vitality we have to domesticate robust mild our bodies and open up our notion.

So, though this type of essence is the simplest to entry and will be extra readily restored, it’s nonetheless thought-about jing within the scale of density. It’s the baseline backup system for the qi, or vitality circulate, of the physique. Going again to our cash metaphor, in relation to the opposite features of essence, our day-to-day is extra liquid; nevertheless, in relation to our qi or vitality circulate, it is sort of a fastened financial savings account. Once more, discover how yin and yang are all the time relative and the way they create a spectrum for comparability. Essence is denser than vitality and is subsequently much less “liquid” in money circulate phrases. Our essence is our fairness. Sure, we will borrow towards it—however at a price. The purpose is to retailer it up and create an endowment that propels us into eternity.


Shifting up in refinement from the denser essence, we now have our second Treasure, which is our vitality. This main Taoist perception and idea will be likened to all of the metabolic and physiological processes within the physique which are consistently operating. This qi vitality is the forex of life. It’s all the time transferring and in flux. It’s touring via an lively matrix or community of channels all through the physique, known as the meridians. The Taoist masters knew about these pathways of vitality circulate for hundreds of years; actually, these pathways are the idea for the apply of acupuncture.

Taking the instance of the candle, the vitality is the flame; it’s what units issues in movement. An unlit candle will be thought-about potential vitality, but it surely takes that spark of life to get issues transferring and actually make a candle fulfill its goal, which, on this case, can be to mild up a room. Our vitality works in very a lot the identical method. It’s the life power that comes right into a fertilized embryo (as soon as spirit is imbued with matter) that basically will get the present on the street; that very same vitality carries us via our grownup lives, serving to to meet our goal.

Primarily based on Taoism historical past, the traditional Taoist masters spent numerous hours meditating, cultivating, and learning these phenomena. From them, we now have come to grasp that there are a number of sorts or qualities of this vitality to talk of.

Unique Qi

This type of vitality is actually the energetic equal of essence. It’s essence remodeled into vitality. Being a dynamic and rarified type of pre-heaven essence, it’s basically the muse of all of the yin and yang energies of the physique. The unique qi serves many functions within the physique; it’s virtually like a fireplace starter. When different types of vitality are integrated into the system, it’s this unique qi that “prompts” them and units issues in movement. In flip, this vitality is consistently nourished and replenished by the opposite post-heaven sources of vitality, which we’re about to debate. This unique qi is housed within the “gate of vitality,” between the 2 kidneys, and turns into a vital and lively agent in our apply of qi gong.

Meals Qi

Because the identify suggests, meals qi is the vitality we derive from the meals we eat. That is the important first step to having wholesome vitality circulate within the physique, and it stresses the significance of getting a clear and nutritious diet. That is the place the abdomen receives and the spleen (and the pancreas) transforms our meals right into a usable type of vitality, which it then raises as much as the lungs to combine with air.

Gathering Qi

This type of vitality, which is housed within the chest, is derived from the meals qi mixing with air. As soon as the uncooked substances from ingested meals are assimilated, they should combine with air to kind gathering qi. This concept actually stands as a testomony to the genius of the traditional Chinese language Taoists. In trendy biochemistry, we all know that in a part of the Krebs cycle, there’s an unbelievable symbiotic relationship with part of our cells known as mitochondria that creates what we name the electron transport chain. Primarily, the mitochondria are a part of an vitality accelerator in our cells that enables us to make use of oxygen in a really dynamic course of to assist extract unbelievable quantities of vitality out of easy sugars. Previous to Taoism philosophy, all life on this planet labored anaerobically (with out using oxygen); the evolution of this cycle enabled eukaryotic cells (of which we primarily consist) to develop environment friendly energy-extraction methods. This was the start of the evolutionary pathway to extra elaborate and complex multicellular constructions, of which we’re the tip outcome (as many would argue). Though the traditional Taoists didn’t communicate on this language, they may actually see how these energetic currents moved via the human physique; they developed a sophisticated and really correct mannequin to explain it.

This gathering qi serves to nourish the center and lungs; it additionally flows downward to help the kidneys. It’s simply as essential because the vitality we derive from meals, and it turns into the emphasis of a lot of our qi gong, or vitality work. The cultivation of vitality and wholesome oxygenation of the system are intricately tied to 1 one other.

True Qi

True qi is the type of vitality that’s the finish product of the aforementioned processes. When the gathering qi is fashioned, it’s activated by the unique qi (which we known as the fireplace starter); from this interplay, true qi outcomes. True qi is the undifferentiated type of vitality within the physique that then branches off to carry out the assorted features required by the system. Per Taoist beliefs, this vitality takes on two varieties within the physique: the nutritive qi and the defensive qi.

+ Nutritive qi: That is the kind of vitality that circulates internally and nourishes all the interior organs. It’s carefully associated with the blood and, actually, flows with the blood to carry vitality to all of the methods of the physique. There’s nothing within the physique that doesn’t interface with this type of vitality, as it’s the essential “forex” of inside nourishment. Consider the true qi as the overall revenues a rustic will get from taxes (meals, air, water, and essence). On this instance, nutritive qi can be the home spending on cities, bridges, infrastructure, hospitals, and so forth. It’s designed to nourish the inside.

+ Defensive qi: If the nutritive qi is the home spending, then this type of vitality is the armed forces and border patrol. It protects the outside from pathogenic invasion and regulates physique temperature by controlling the opening and shutting of pores on the pores and skin. It’s actually the gatekeeper to the physique and wishes to stay charged and wholesome with a purpose to maintain us protected. The truth is, at any given time, we’re surrounded by billions of hostile microorganisms that might rapidly invade and devastate our system if it weren’t for this type of vitality. Defensive qi regulates immunity via the pores and skin and mucous membranes and is itself regulated by the lungs, whereas additionally being supported by the essence and unique qi. It sounds sophisticated, but it surely actually isn’t too dangerous.

This fundamental system, illustrated in determine 3, very adequately explains the circulate of how the physique’s energies develop and are maintained. It additionally paints an image of the complexity of the method. It’s virtually unattainable to routinely eat horrible meals and efficiently apply vitality cultivation, as a result of the meals qi sits on the basis of this whole course of. It is usually essential to notice that this technique of interrelated energies may be very very similar to an ecosystem that must be maintained. A weak defensive qi will both come from a weak true qi stage or, if it has merely weakened via continuous assault, will finally drain the true qi, which backs it up on the expense of the nutritive qi.

Figure 46 Creation of QiDetermine 3. The Creation of Qi within the Physique

Let’s take this instance on the macro scale. We have now a complete host of issues in a rustic that may not pay for home packages (nutritive qi) due to a protracted costly warfare (defensive qi) that’s draining assets (true qi). Mix that with a faltering economic system (low gathering qi) with a smaller tax base, and we all of the sudden get hit by each side and have crises on our palms. Sound acquainted? As above, so beneath.


The final of the Three Treasures of Taoism is the one most individuals within the West are enamored by—the realm of spirit. It’s the “paradise” to which we run within the West. So, it’s actually essential to broach this topic accurately as a result of we’re strolling into very polarized territory.

We dwell in a tradition (Western Judeo-Christian-Islamic) of considering that lives in a paradigm outdoors of the Backyard. Recall that we have been ejected in some way (or so says our Creation fantasy), and we now have to behave and do as informed with a purpose to earn the rights to be allowed again into heaven—“heaven” being an off-planet realm the place God and all of his angels hang around and watch us from “above.” We have now purchased right into a storyline that pegs us as pathetic, materialistic sinners who’re basically wretches in want of salvation. We have now to petition for divinity to intervene and “save” us from our evil human nature, which is clearly despicable.

Let’s rigorously tiptoe via this mess as a result of that’s not how Taoists see it. Truly, there are billions of different individuals on this planet who see it in a different way, and having traveled the world a good quantity, I can say that they appear happier than us.

The Taoist idea of spirit doesn’t exist inside some far-off realm within the clouds the place we’ll go for some form of afterlife reward if we behave right here on Earth. Quite the opposite, it’s proper right here and proper now. Keep in mind, Tao differentiated into yin and yang—subsequently, matter is nothing with out spirit. They’re complementary, reverse views of the identical life. Once we domesticate shen (which can also be translated as “thoughts”) in our Taoist apply, we solely achieve this by holding the important anchor of jing and the graceful circulate of qi intact. Said one other method, we domesticate the essence within the physique and make it strong with life and vitality; then we use this effectivity and “extra” of vitality to refine spirit additional and additional. This doesn’t imply venturing into magical realms and speaking to spirits as an finish outcome; it means growing a deeper and deeper understanding of actuality proper right here and now. The extra we potentiate our essence and condense, the extra we will see the universe for what it truly is. Like a mighty oak tree that sends its taproots deeper and deeper into the bottom, we will use these unbelievable bioelectric “turbines” of vitality that we name our our bodies to actually “activate the sunshine” and get up.

When the Buddha was requested what enlightenment felt like, he merely said that he “awoke.” Now, if you happen to’re studying this, likelihood is you’ve already had a lot of moments the place you too “awoke.” Typically that “awakening” is even sustained for an extended interval, however the sleepy state of ignorance retains creeping again in, like a religious gravity sinking us again to the lull of a sleepy zombie. On this apply, we rigorously domesticate the essence and refine the spirit to remain awake and dwell in that state perpetually. Our apply of taking the “lead” of our private expertise and transmuting it into the “gold” of religious awakening is the important thing to this important educating of Taoism. This metaphor applies to the Nice Work in two methods:

+ It implies that we’re to take our dense and highly effective shops of essence and refine them into pure undifferentiated shen. This doesn’t imply utilizing it like a tank of gasoline and burning it away; as a substitute, it connotes fusing it with spirit by bringing yin and yang collectively. We should get up our everlasting nature in each atom of our physique and impregnate our materials base with its religious counterpart so we could unlock unbelievable reserves of vitality to get up and shine.

+ The lead-to-gold metaphor can also be utilized to taking the “lead” of the unresolved energies in our shadow and releasing it. It includes bringing the skeletons out of our closets and making issues proper in our lives. As soon as we launch these hidden issues, we’ll have opened up room for the Supply vitality to circulate freely via us once more. That is the opposite facet of the apply the place we should, with our newfound vitality launched from our qi gong, apply the sunshine of acutely aware consciousness to the blind spots in our shadow.

The refinement of essence into spirit unleashes an amazing quantity of vitality, which can finally be fed into our shadow if we stay senseless. It will then quickly spotlight and enlarge all the issues we’re having in our lives as a result of they’ll now have a lot extra to feed upon. Subsequently, in Taoist perception methods, it’s important to apply each side of this equation. The vitality work provides us extra energy to use to waking up, however provided that we keep targeted on doing so!

Within the subsequent part, we’re going to examine the idea of the 5 parts in Taoist considering. These are the “flavors” via which actuality emanates as soon as motion begins with yin and yang. Nevertheless, it is very important relay one other advantageous level in regards to the idea of shen earlier than we achieve this. The 5 parts differentiate the shen into 5 features (keep in mind that all materials manifestations will naturally mirror a religious high quality). The 5 features of spirit are:

+ Fireplace (shen): The central notion of what we might contemplate spirit right here within the West, fireplace is the home of the eye the place the mind-spirit focuses its gaze. It is usually the seat of compassion and love, that are the energies that intimately join us with all life. It’s housed within the coronary heart.

+ Earth (yi): That is the idea of the mind—the thoughts and its highly effective facility for focus. It is usually our means to “digest” ideas and concepts. It’s housed within the spleen.

+ Water (zhi): That is the need or intention—the driving power of our manifestation of interior needs and our means to rework these needs into tangible actuality. It’s housed within the kidneys.

+ Wooden (hun): That is the home of the “ethereal soul,” which is the side of our consciousness that helps reconcile the interface between the center’s needs and the bodily actuality that surrounds us. That is largely the side of us that’s concerned in astral journey, and it does a great deal of downside fixing whereas we’re asleep. It’s housed within the liver.

+ Steel (Po): That is the home of the “corporeal soul,” which is the side of our soul that connects us extra to the physique and its classes. Steel represents the vitality of decline and the season of fall. Fall is when issues return to the earth and get mulched; thus, this side of the soul offers with grief and letting go. It’s housed within the lungs.

So, the shen or spirit, like all different issues in Tao philosophy, has flavors to it. On this case, it’s differentiated alongside the spectrum of the 5 parts.

The 5 Components

Taoist beliefs recommend that when the Tao splits into yin and yang, it manifests in 5 distinct flavors of emanation that we name the 5 parts. The early Taoists have been eager observers of their pure surroundings and understood that there was no separation between people and the pure world into which they have been born. The Taoists made observations in regards to the cycles and patterns of nature, and this led to a profound understanding of drugs, agriculture, astronomy, astrology, martial arts, and philosophy. The truth is, nature lies on the very core of the Taoist understanding of the universe.

Figure 47 Five ElementsDetermine 4. The 5 Components

By way of private reference to nature and detailed remark of the seasons and the motion of the celebrities via the sky, the traditional Taoists understood all actuality to be represented by 5 parts. These parts are associated to materials, emotional, and religious issues in that they signify the whole thing of our expertise on our planet. However it’s all the time essential to keep in mind that they’re all features of the One—that pure realm of consciousness that exists in an unpolarized state. By way of differential emanation, the 5 parts create the flavour and richness of life and the way it strikes and expresses itself. Keep in mind, earlier than the separation into yin and yang, there was the formless and unified complete—the Tao. The break up into yin and yang created motion. With yin and yang, there are two complementary and opposing forces that dynamically flux into each other. They create the dance of life. All issues transfer and exist via this dance, as it’s the very agent of the life power itself. Now, we now have additional differentiated into the 5 parts, which give life its taste and richness. The desk beneath reveals a fundamental impression of those parts, the broad vary of their correspondence with the world, and the way they map our expertise of nature and ourselves.

We’ll use many of those Taoist beliefs once we talk about the way to troubleshoot issues with this framework and, extra essential, the way to appropriate energetic imbalances utilizing this technique.

The 5 parts present us with a larger diploma of distinction on the place any given factor, topic, or thought can be inside its steadiness level of yin and yang. They present the place the circulate of vitality is and the way it’s expressing at any given time, as proven in figures Four and 5.


Colour: Crimson
Season: Summer time
Inner Organs: Coronary heart, small gut
Path: South
Emotion: Pleasure
Stage of Growth: Progress
Virtues: Righteousness
Planets: Mars
Sense Organ: Tongue
Tissues: Vessels
Sound: Laughing


Colour: Yellow
Season: None
Inner Organs: Abdomen, spleen
Path: Heart
Emotion: Pensiveness
Stage of Growth: Transformation
Virtues: Religion
Planets: Saturn
Sense Organ: Mouth
Tissues: Muscle tissues
Sound: Singing


Colour: White
Season: Fall
Inner Organs: Lungs, giant gut
Path: West
Emotion: Disappointment
Stage of Growth: Harvest
Virtues: Prosperity
Planets: Venus
Sense Organ: Nostril
Tissues: Skins
Sound: Crying


Colour: Blue, black
Season: Winter
Inner Organs: Kidneys, bladder
Path: North
Emotion: Concern
Stage of Growth: Storage
Virtues: Braveness
Planets: Mercury
Sense Organ: Ears
Tissues: Bones
Sound: Groaning


Colour: Inexperienced
Season: Spring
Inner Organs: Liver, gallbladder
Path: East
Emotion: Anger
Stage of Growth: Beginning
Virtues: Benevolence
Planets: Jupiter
Sense Organ: Eyes
Tissues: Sinew, tendons
Sound: Shouting

In the qi gong system, it is strongly recommended that we stand going through the south for our apply. This explains why we diagrammatically place the fireplace factor on prime and water beneath. Assuming we’re standing within the Earth place, going through south would put fireplace in entrance of us, with steel to our proper, water behind, and wooden to our left.

Figure 48 Five Elements Yin YangDetermine 5. The 5 Components with Yin and Yang Motion

This specific illustration reveals the important alignment of the weather however doesn’t present the motion of those energies. Once we introduce the ideas of yin and yang to the equation, there’s motion (via polarity), and we start to see the cycles of nature manifest. We then have the 4 seasons.

The earth factor represents the middle round which all the different parts revolve, and the seasonal elemental correspondences are carefully tied to the rise and decline of vitality within the annual cycle. The yang vitality rises out of the winter, involves a steadiness level within the spring, and is at its full expression in the summertime earlier than it begins to say no again via the autumn and finally to the chilly, quiet stillness of winter. Equally, the yin vitality picks up on the summer time solstice and features momentum via the autumn. It’s at its top within the winter after which slowly fades via the spring because the yang vitality comes up. This complete system is just a round spectral illustration of the motion of yin and yang in nature. It’s all the identical phenomena. It needs to be—there’s just one actuality.

Now, this Taoism system is remarkably just like many American Indian religious and medicinal traditions; actually, with correct understanding, they can be utilized interchangeably. Nature is nature—interval. Completely different cultures have developed to grasp and interpret its motion in a barely totally different method, however all of us perceive what winter is, irrespective of the place we’re from. In fact, there’s much less fluctuation of those seasons on the equator (the place the forces of yin and yang are extra balanced), and there’s extra abrupt change on the poles.

Figure 49 Five Elements Human BodyDetermine 6. The 5 Components Overlaid on the Human Physique

Figures Four and 5 give us a comparatively easy framework for understanding the 5 parts and their interactions with one another. They offer us a reference level for our energetic apply, and so they floor your entire system into one thing we will all relate to—nature. Now, there’s one other approach to illustrate these correspondences that’s fairly helpful within the realm of drugs and psychology. As proven in determine 6, we will overlay this elemental system on the human physique, which the Taoists contemplate to be a microcosm of your entire universe, to point out how these energies work together in the case of people.

The weather relate to one another in several methods. The producing cycle, illustrated in determine 7, comes from the Taoism philosophy that the vitality of nature flows via a specific sequence by which every factor is generated by one other. Wooden catches fireplace or decomposes and turns to earth, which over time settles to steel (minerals), which then returns to water (aquifer or rivers) and at last nourishes wooden (vegetation and biomass) once more. On this system, we name wooden the “youngster” of water, and concurrently, wooden is the “mom” of fireside.

Figure 410 Generating or Nourishing CycleDetermine 7. The Producing or Nourishing Cycle

This technique permits us to grasp the right sequence of our present state of affairs and the way that pertains to the general cycle of issues. For instance, say we’re having digestive issues (earth) resulting from a weak system. We are able to clearly assist carry vitality to the earth factor, which is the first bothered factor, however we will additionally put vitality “upstream” into the fireplace factor, which can then naturally circulate into the earth factor. Alongside these identical traces, perhaps the steel factor is what is admittedly weak, and it’s draining vitality out of the earth factor “downstream.” On this case, we handle the problem with the steel factor, and the earth vitality ought to fill again up naturally.

Teachings of Taoism spotlight that in a cycle of life, a disharmony alongside any level within the circle has repercussions all through your entire system. This is applicable to our thoughts, our physique, our household, and our planet. The purpose is that the whole lot applies to the whole lot within the cycle of the weather, which is why we should consistently try to keep steadiness and concord in the whole lot we do.

The producing cycle (additionally known as the nourishing cycle) helps us to see the proper circulate of vitality via the 5 parts and to grasp how that vitality pertains to us and our circumstances. This brings us again to the idea of fundamental consciousness in all issues. To correctly understand what’s occurring round us, we have to take a look at the larger image and see the bigger cycles of energetic motion that each one issues are associated to. Solely with this type of chook’s-eye view can we perceive the character of our circumstances and assist carry concord to energetic cycles which are oftentimes bigger than us.

Utilizing the identical fundamental framework and Taoist beliefs in regards to the parts, there’s yet one more relationship among the many 5 parts that’s essential to grasp, and that’s the controlling cycle. This cycle, proven in determine 8, reveals the “checking” or controlling features of the weather and the way they relate to one another.

On this sequence, wooden controls earth, which in flip controls water, and so forth. Because of this we will use a checking factor to manage one other factor that has extreme vitality and is out of steadiness. For instance, somebody who may be very stressed has an overactive wooden factor (liver or gallbladder), which will be managed by the steel factor (lungs and enormous gut). So, introducing vitality into the steel organs will help management the overactive wooden. This additionally works pathologically. As a result of the overactive wooden factor is uncontrolled, it may possibly simply exert a destructive controlling affect on the earth factor (abdomen and spleen). We see this all too typically within the trendy world, the place people who find themselves chronically stressed find yourself having digestive issues. In continual circumstances, actually, the steel factor will get drained as a result of it’s consistently making an attempt to exert management over the overactive wooden factor. Due to this, we additionally see a decline within the steel factor, which oftentimes manifests as colds and flus (lungs) or constipation or diarrhea (giant intestines).

Figure 411 Controlling CycleDetermine 8. The Controlling Cycle

In accordance with the teachings of Taoism, this controlling cycle can also be very useful in understanding the interaction of feelings and our psychological well being. For instance, if an individual is overcome by the emotion of concern (water factor), then that factor is over-controlling the fireplace factor (pleasure) and draining that system as properly. We are able to herald some earth vitality (religion is the optimistic advantage) to pacify the concern and breathe vitality into the corresponding organs to see a radical change in that individual. That’s the foundation of Taoist magic. The one approach to be taught this and to get it proper is to imagine that this thriller “individual” is you. All therapeutic should originate from inside. Because the grand grasp of my custom typically tells us: “First assist your self, then assist the individuals.” A lot of our inside nei gong (or interior alchemy) includes studying the way to harmonize these elemental energies inside ourselves and to actually use our physique and thoughts because the workshop to determine it out and get it proper. As soon as we be taught this, serving to one other individual would be the pure extension of this ability. True, there is no such thing as a separation, however most individuals will take that “summary” notion and run with it. They may attempt to save the world with out addressing their very own vitality first. In my expertise, that is the place most seekers in our trendy tradition fail. The central tenet of Taoist alchemy is to show the sunshine of consciousness inward and to discover the universe inside. From this infinity inside, we’re then in a position to unlock all of the secrets and techniques of the outer world and perceive our true nature. From inside, we discover heaven.

The Taoist method is considered one of peace, concord, and honesty. It entails being conscious of the cycles and currents of nature and residing by these precepts. It calls for that we carry the steadiness inside ourselves to the whole lot we encounter and to behave spontaneously out of the residing, respiration second. This serves as the essential framework for our understanding of Taoism and the Tao philosophy.

Excerpted with permission from Interior Alchemy: The City Monk’s Information to Happiness, Well being, and Vitality by Pedram Shojai. Sounds True, January 2019. Reprinted with permission.


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