According to archaeological research, China's first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, was obsessed with finding the elixir of life. He launched a nationwide hunt for the mythical potion before succumbing to mortality at aged 49 in 210 BCE.
Throughout the ages, man has expended much resources, from past esoteric mystical rituals to the present science and technology to discover the truth of what keeps us alive, and how to prolong it, with the secret wish to achieve immortality.
Suzanne Sommers has proven she can maintain her youth and resume her normal hectic work schedule without the accompanying stress by replenishing her body with bioidentical hormones daily.
My father picked up Qi Gong practice with the same reason of wanting to improve his health, with hopes of prolonging his life.
What is life essence?
There are two types of essence within our body:
Prenatal essence is the amount of essence we were born with at birth.
According to TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), essence is known as Jing in Chinese. It is yin in nature and is stored in the kidneys. It is also referred to as “ancestral energy”, a highly concentrated life force inherited from past generations and the combined energies of our parents’ life force.
It is prenatal energy that enters the embryo giving it the essence of life force. This life force is the most refined “essence” of qi, the material basis for the body, the essential fluid of our physical body. Prenatal essence is formed during conception. It nourishes us when we are a fetus in our mother’s womb.
Its quantity is fixed and determined at birth. That’s why some are born with more than others, and those who have more will have a stronger constitution, without early health complications. Those who are born with less prenatal essence, are said to have inherited weakened states of health or weak genetics from their parents, and the generations before them.
‘We have a finite amount of kidney essence. So we have to use it wisely’.
When Jing is depleted, signs of premature aging occurs, followed by disease and finally death.
Postnatal essence is a composite of what we derive from our diet and environment while living in this world.
After birth, the baby begins to eat, drink and breathe independently, accumulating postnatal essence. This is where it’s important to live a balanced lifestyle with adequate sleep and minimum stress, and consume a healthy diet, so that our postnatal essence is maintained at healthy levels which allows our prenatal essence to be used more efficiently, slowing down our aging process.
Scientific studies have established the inter-relationship between our body’s meridian system and the endocrine system.
The energy stored within the eight extraordinary meridian reservoirs is known as “qi”, which supports the conversion of prenatal essence into hormones for body repair and to regulate our internal biological processes. When this qi is depleted, there will be a shortage of stem cells to replace the dying cells. This is how our health is being compromised.
“There has to be adequate amount of qi in our meridian system to support this critical process of body repair, i.e.
qi > hormones> stem cells
‘So hormones are the critical factor in maintaining homeostasis. It functions as a buffer against stress. We use postnatal essence like food, herbs, and supplements to produce body structures and energy, but require prenatal essence to maintain homeostasis, in view of the fact that stress is generated from these processes. So how well we manage our stress that is generated from our postnatal activities will determine how long we live, in view that these activities deplete our finite prenatal essence’.
My father’s dabbling with Qi Gong
‘Qi Gong uses a system that extracts prenatal essence from the kidneys. To nourish the brains and the soul and spirit so that you will gain conscious control over your choices. The mistake is that they direct the energies back into the lower three chakras to protect their physical attainments’.
At the age of eighty-two, my father started practicing Qi Gong. Within a year, he felt rejuvenated, as if he had been born again with the gift of a new body. He told everyone he could perform many tough stretches better than those in their fifties at the practice site. My mother thought he was just boasting or ‘talking big’ about his newfound lease of life. But I could see he had extra doses of energy, a reflection of how he was when I was a child and he a young man in his forties. This was a feat I seldom witnessed in such elderly people, but then my father was blessed for always having a strong disposition. In short, he came from a line of good genes.
He spent his newfound energy on his personal interests, like calligraphy, travelling, singing, organizing fundraising events for charities. He was never a man who could sit still at home but loved to externalize his energies on friends and activities.
‘Qi Gong is a bottom up system. Just like exercise. It is expending energy. If you do intensive exercise while your body is inflamed, it will do more damage than good. Likewise, if you practice Qi Gong but don’t address the causes of inflammation, it will end in a very bad way. It will be good for a while, but then it is curtains when the essence dries up’.
After three years of practicing Qi Gong, one day he started complaining of a dull ache at his lower back. After several checkups and x-rays, his doctor informed him there was a minor fracture on the spinal cord due to osteoporosis, and proceeded to perform Kyphoplasty surgery, where a pasty material was injected on the fractured part of his spinal cord, which then hardened, stabilizing the bone.
Just two days after the surgery, my father was up and about driving around, running errands. The following day, the pain returned with greater intensity, this time immobilizing him. The same surgery had to be performed again, with the doctor warning him to stay in bed for at least six months to heal his back. Within three months, he was able to walk around the house.
- heavenly principles through tops down approach (CLT) versus Qi Gong, which connects via blasting open the heavenly gates at the top of the body with qi from the kidneys that has been refined and conserved through years of relentless practice. The latter path (Qi Gong) is a lot more difficult. Present day people with little kidney essence left cannot go on this path unless they reduce substantially the energy requirement for external activities’.
About five months after his surgery, my father made plans to meet up with his friends nearby. Perhaps it was the excitement of finally able to leave the house after months of staying at home, but a sudden weakness overcame him which caused him to trip on the stairs leading to the kitchen. He hit his head against the wall. My mother thought the bleeding would never end, judging by the amount of blood on the floor. The cut required eight stitches.
‘Without enough electrical charge in the body, heat, water, air, minerals, wastes will stagnate in the body system causing tumors (congestion), poor circulation, breathing difficulties, water retention, valves dysfunction, brain fog, etc. Everything we put in our mouths is considered Yang postnatal energies and while it is being used for energy production, the body draws essence from the kidneys to cool down the system. If we don’t have enough energy to process the stuff we take, everything will be toxic to us. How could good food restore essence in these vessels when you actually need energy to process the food?’
After the fall, my father weakened considerably. Besides being bedridden, he was also incapable of speaking coherently, drinking enough to hydrate his body, digesting his food intake, performing basic toilet functions. Within three months, he needed two rounds of blood transfusion. I could see his fingers, hands, and feet starting to swell with water retention. Whenever there was supply of organic chickens, my brother’s family who was taking care of him, would prepare chicken essence for him to consume, in the hopes of helping his recuperation. There were times when he seemed to be recovering, albeit slowly, but there were also times when his decline was evident.
‘So many times when the depleted kidney is no longer able to secrete essence (hormones) to regulate the input and output of water, the subject ends up drowning in stagnated fluids or dying dehydrated. The subject will end up gasping for air. The in- breath which is YIN is supposed to draw out essence from the kidneys to cool down the fiery Yang out-breath that will energize the organs. But without essence support from the kidneys, the body goes into a hyper inflammatory state that will kill the subject.’
About seven months after my father fell, he had to be admitted to the hospital after complaining of breathing difficulty and severe pain all over his body. By then, despite everyone’s best efforts to provide him with dietary nutrition, adequate water intake, energetic support, and supplementation, it was clear with close-to-zero essence left in his body to provide energy to charge his organs and physiological functions, his end was imminent.
In the final hours before his passing, as I stood in the ICU over my father’s frail body, his gaunt face contorted due to his struggling effort to breathe, I was overwhelmed with grief, not only for the inevitability of his situation, but because I could recall the once not-so-long-ago robust man who was so full of life and vitality, but finally diminished to a state of utter vulnerability and helplessness in his life.
‘The take-home message is not to deplete our energy/essence for our attachments to the extent that there is insufficient left to support the vital functioning of our organs. Strive consciously to achieve balance so that our activities won’t rob us of life essence/energy.
With the teachings, and a deeper appreciation of what life means, I was able to make sense of everything that happened to my father, and the suffering he went through in his last days, which helped me deal with the grief of losing him and finding some kind of closure by having a greater understanding of how to better live my life.
I have been a CLT practitioner for almost ten years. I have come to understand some ancient practices like Qi Gong and Yoga, among many others, had their beginnings since thousands of years ago as cultivation and energetic systems aiming to elevate human consciousness. They were taught only to those who felt called to a life for enlightenment purposes.
We need a huge amount of essence/energy within our body to advance our consciousness to arrive at an enlightened state. In order for us to maintain or increase our essence/energy, we need to practice the system as a whole, fully embracing its teachings and principles in living our lives.
Some of these ancient practices passed down through the ages have now been watered down to a point where they are taught simply as physical exercises for health improvement alone. This is truly tragic, because practicing an energetic system without understanding its total implications can have devastating effects as seen in my father’s case.
He practiced with hopes of prolonging his life, but failed to do so in the end, because he wasn’t aware that there were missing components within his practice that were essential to protect his life essence. Components like how to conserve one’s essence/energy, how to direct, express and use one’s energies, are some of the important ones I have learned as a CLT practitioner.
Even though he passed on without knowing what truly happened to him, his demise had not been in vain. For those of us who are still around in the land of the living, we appreciate more the importance of safeguarding our essence, for without it, there is absence of life and meaning.
(Note: The above sentences in a different italic font were part of the notes from the Founder of Heaven’s Gift Academy)