In Taoism, there are three main elements called The Three Treasures: Jing, Chi/Qi, and Shen.
Consider them like three atributes of yourself.
Jing is the essence of who and what we are. The you that you’re born with, the you that never changes deep down. The you that you can recognize is missing from your daily doings in the world. It is the primal energy or even called genetic potential of our life. Jing is the deep foundational energy reserves of the body and it is this energy that determines one’s ultimate vitality and the quantity and quality of one’s lifespan and ageing process.
“The quantity of Jing determines both our life span and the ultimate vitality of our life. Jing also is said to control a number of primary human functions: the reproductive organs and their various substances and functions; the power and clarity of the mind; and the integrity of one’s physical structure. Jing, which is a blend of Yin and Yang energy, is said to be stored in the “Kidney.” Jing is generally associated these days with the hormones of the reproductive and adrenal glands. Strong Jing energy in the Kidneys, so it is said in the Orient, will lead to a long and vigorous life, while a loss of Jing will result in physical and mental degeneration and a shortening of one’s life.
Jing is burned up in the body by life itself, but most especially by chronic and acute stress and excessive behavior, including overwork, excessive emotionalism, substance abuse, chronic pain or illness, and sexual excess (in men, excessive release of semen is said to diminish Jing). Excessive menstrual patterns, pregnancy and childbirth can result in a dramatic drain on the Jing of a woman, which is even more pronounced in middle aged women. There are special tonics that fortify Jing, and these are found among the Yin and Yang tonics. Jing tonics are used to replace the spent energy and to build up large reserves for future use.” https://www.dragonherbs.com/the-three-treasures
Chi/Qi is your life force energy & blood. It’s the vibe you live by, the drive that pushes you or crushes you, ever-changing and ever-flowing power of your moods and wants and impulses. “This is the aspect of our life that involves action and thought. Qitonics, composed of Qi and/or blood tonics, increase our ability to function fully and adaptively as human beings. Qi is said to be produced as a result of the functions of the Lungs and Spleen. Therefore, Qi tonics strengthen the digestive, assimilative and respiratory functions. In addition, they are generally believed to have potent immune modulating activity. Qi tonics increase the amount and improve the quality of the energy and blood flowing through our system. This increase in energy and blood results in an overall increase in physical and mental vitality.” https://www.dragonherbs.com/the-three-treasures
Shen is considered our spirit, our spiritual energy, higher mind, your third eye. When it is strong we have integrity and we are aligned and content in our purpose. The shen is the crux. It’s the part of you that decides the direction of your Chi/Qi and your Jing. Shen and integrity isn’t necessarily something we are, which is how most of us think of it. It’s not even something we have. It’s something we do. We do it in relation to the amount of shen we have.
“This is ultimately the most important of the Three Treasures because it is the basis of our higher nature as human beings. Chinese masters say that Shen is the all-embracing love (peace, contentment, mindfulness) that resides in our Heart. Shen is expressed as love, compassion, kindness, generosity, acceptance, forgiveness and tolerance. It manifests as our wisdom and our ability to see all sides of all issues, our ability to rise above the world of right and wrong, good and bad, yours and mine, high and low, etc. Shen is our higher knowledge that everything is one, even though nature manifests dualistically and cyclically, often obscuring our vision and creating illusion. Certain true Shen tonic herbs encourage the opening up of Shen. There are also “Shenstabilizers” which help stabilize our emotions so that Shen (our higher self) can rule our lives. The emotions are allowed to play themselves out, but not to dominate our lives and become obsessions or addictions. Shen tonics have been used by the great sages of the Orient to help in their quest for enlightenment and harmony with Nature and all of humankind.”
Tonic herbs can be categorized as Jing (Yin and/or Yang), Qi (Qi and/or blood) and Shen (opening and/or stabilizing) by virtue of which Treasure(s) they tend to nourish and develop. The value of an herb is a reflection of the Treasures it contains.
Applying the principle of the Three Treasures is the highest form of herbalism. In the Orient it is called “the Superior Herbalism.”
If you struggle to do what you said you’d do and to follow through on commitment and ‘walk your talk’ then
instead of going into judgement on yourself, look at how you can build up your integrity energy, your Shen.
Being spiritually integrated and not torn between many agendas.
Those with high Shen will be natural leaders, someone others look to for guidance – they can see the ‘bigger picture’.
Our Chi/Qi follows our mind and/or our strong or weak Shen and the essence of us is most alive when our energy is flowing well.