Much has been written about “thinking but not knowing”. This is analytical processing without insight. Whenever we trust an expert about scientific, religious, or political “truth” we are not using our intuitive skills. We are thinking but not knowing. Learning through wisdom requires Shen, the substance of higher mind or Spirit as presented in Taoist tradition. In 1997, 23 years ago, we published two articles in a breakthrough newsletter on Shen in our China Healthways Newsletter. The articles are Shen: Light of Consciousness and Cultivating Shen. It is surprising how relevant and accurate they are today. Shen remains the substance of higher mind or Spirit. It is built on a foundation of physical health and strength (Jing) and emotional buoyancy and optimism (CHI). It is the third and highest treasure of Taoism.
So, what can we add now, in the year 2020? As it turns out, we have learned a lot. Shen is of huge importance to humanity during the turmoil of the current transition. With strong Shen, our immune system is more resourceful, and more able to come up with new approaches to viral and bacterial invaders. A strong immune response is just the beginning. Strong Shen also means enhanced innovative problem-solving skills.
The key to cultivating Shen might be summarized as building vibrant health and living in the heart. When we achieve this, modern marketing methods have a much more difficult time directing our behaviors and selling us stuff we don’t need. Modern marketing contributes to a sedentary lifestyle, junk food, fear, stress, and rage. Polarizing the population into opposing camps angry at each other gets us out of our hearts and decreases our vitality makes us more controllable. It also blocks our ability to cultivate Shen, the vital essence we need to see through the nonsense.
Fear and anger take us out of our hearts, which blocks the production of Shen. They also cause or Qi, our vitality, to become stagnant. Thus negativity, blocks Shen production and, essentially, shuts down our intuitive ability to discern despite our best intentions. Being overloaded and polarized by negativity shuts down our “lie detector”, and our ability to see behind the narrative.
First, you can start consciously cultivating Shen today. You may discover that you are sabotaging your efforts in many ways. Your ability to cultivate Shen and your dedication to doing so will illuminate the world! One person with strong Shen is vastly more influential at bringing peace, love, harmony, clarity, and a devotion to truth. By becoming strong in Vitality, in Jing, Qi, and Shen, you will lead your community out of the darkness and into the light. Illuminate from within.
Second, if you are looking for a simple way to understand the values and techniques of cultivating your Shen, we applaud you. This is why we created the educational eight-week e-series 8 Steps to life – Enhancing Your Human Experience. You can sign up for it here if you have not already. This e-learning program helps to clearly understand the science of cultivating abundant health and expanded consciousness and helps you to eliminate those factors which inhibit your ability to build and maintain Shen.
Being in Nature and getting exercise strengthens Jing and Qi, to promote Shen production. While isolation closes our hearts, community and service support an open heart. Tranquil sleep also contributes to Shen production. Eating fresh produce instead of processed factory foods makes a big difference as well, as real foods are filled with vitality and fill our bodies with abundant nurturing phytochemicals that build all aspects of our health and vitality supporting Shen production. The Infratonic and Equitonic are currently our primary tools to help in Shen cultivation because they calm and strengthens the emotional Qi field and calm excess thinking and worry, preparing us for creating Shen.
The most important overall principle is often expressed as “Staying in our hearts”, “living from our hearts”, and “letting our hearts guide us”. This allows smooth flow of vitality through our hearts. It builds Shen, contributing to all aspects of our health, clarity, and contentment.
To be intelligent, creative, and responsible citizens of the world, we must cultivate more tolerance and cooperation, build our vitality and live from our hearts.