The English translation for the Chinese word Jing is “Essence.”
Jing is what distinguishes living beings from inorganic beings.
According to Ted J. Kaptchuk, author of The Web That Has No Weaver, Essence is a kind of “deep, soft, juicy potential inherent in living beings which forms and fills the life-cycle as it unfolds.”
Jing is potential, guidance, and actuality.
It shapes birth, development, aging, decline, and death.
Jing is automatic, autonomous, and inevitable.
While Jing is “soft” it is paradoxically an unstoppable and relentless forward moving power.
Jing has two sources, and two characteristics:
① Pre-natal Jing (xian-tian-zhi-jing) or Congenital Essence
This is inherited from the parents. Pre-natal Jing is unique and determines growth patterns. Its quality and quantity are fixed at birth and together with Original Qi, Pre-natal Jing determines an individual’s constitution and make-up.
② Post-natal Jing (hou-tian-zhi-jing)
This second type of Jing is derived from the purified parts of ingested food. It contains physical, emotional, and mental stimulation derived from the individual’s environment. Post-natal Jing can modify Pre-natal Jing. Together they compose the overall Essence (Jing) of an individual.
Pre-natal Jing is full at puberty and declines steadily over time. Physically this decline is represented as the aging process. Jing is also responsible for the development of the deepest awareness and wisdom.
Qi + Jing
In relation to each other, Qi is Yang (masculine) and Jing is Yin (feminine). Qi and Jing are mutually dependent and both have to do with movement.
Qi (simplistically understood) has to do with dynamic movement of ordinary time. Qi flows with the external and physical aspects of movement – Yang.
Jing is dark, moist, and warm. It is the inner essence of growth, maturation, and decline.
Qi emerges out of Jing, since Pre-natal Jing is “THE ROOT OF LIFE.” Qi helps transform food and environmental stimulation into Post-natal Jing, thereby maintaining and expanding Pre-natal Jing.
In relation to blood, however, Jing is the more active, or Yang in nature. Blood is tied to everyday cyclic processes of nourishment and repair; while Jing is tied to long-range development. Blood may be seen as the more static in time, presiding over repetitive cycles, while Jing is the fluid that moves through time and history – “the foundation of reproduction, growth, ripening and decay.”
Jing is stored in the Water Element’s Yin organs, the Kidneys (The Yang organ being the Bladder). The whole body, including all the organs, needs Jing. The foundation of each organ’s Yin and Yang, or life activity, depends on the Yin and Yang of the kidneys. “Thus the Kidneys are the ‘ROOT Of LIFE.’ (Kaptchuk) “The Kidneys are the mansion of Fire and Water, the residence of Yin and Yang…the channel of death and life.” (Zhang Jie-Bing, “Illustrated Wing to the Classic Of Categories”)
The body’s organs can all be categorized as either Yin or Yang, but within each organ there is a supportive and nourishing Yin aspect and a dynamic Yang aspect. Essence can be thought of as coming before both Yin and Yang but its soft, unhurried, and unfolding nature make it also Yin. And within that Yin, there is also a Yin and Yang differentiation.
Conception is possible because of the power of Essence, or Jing. Growth to maturity is the blossoming of Essence. Old age reflects the physical decline of Essence.
Jing disharmonies may be seen in improper maturation, sexual dysfunction, impotence, infertility, fluid retention, kidney stones, ungraceful aging, and the incapacity to be self-reflective with maturation.
Aging is seen as a normal process.
If it is premature, or lacks the “dignity of a sense of completion,” then it may be seen as a Kidney Jing irregularity.
Water The Element
Water refers to all the moisture in the body. Water is thought of as the opposite to the force of Fire. Water is the Yin to Fire’s Yang. The Kidneys rule Water because of their Yang aspect, Fire. This Fire transforms Water into “mist” which is a necessary step before
Fluids are able to circulate. “Water in the body depends on the vaporization power of the Kidneys.” (Kaptchuk) The Spleen also vaporizes water but its power to do so is ultimately dependent on the Kidney Fire.
The Water Element is key to:
– Increasing longevity
– Dissolving fear
– Building healthy bones
– Fulfilling sexuality
– Boosting the health of the hair
Jennifer Harper in her book Nine Ways to Body Wisdom presents the following as a summary of the Traditional Chinese interpretation of the Water Element:
Yin organ: Kidneys
Yang organ: Bladder
Time of day: 3-5pm (bladder), 5-7pm (kidneys)
Voice sound: Moaning
Sense organ: Ears
Reflector: Head hair
Physiological functions of the Kidneys include:
– Elimination of fluid
– Control of orifice openings (urethra,anus)
– Lung support during inhalation
Other functions of the kidneys include:
– Control issues, self-control, pressure, security, and patience
– Capacity to be sexually comfortable with sexual activity
Physiological functions of the Bladder include:
– Urine storage
– Moving fluids and their excretion
Other functions of the Bladder include:
– Processing frustration and restlessness
(Impatience drains bladder’s energy)
There are many indicators of out-of-balance Water Element/Kidneys and Bladder energy which in turn drain Jing.
Physical indicators of a possible Water Element imbalance include:
– Fertility issues, impotence, sexual dysfunction
– Lethargy, frequent yawning, burn out, adrenal exhaustion
– Kidney and bladder infections or problems, including poor bladder control and cystitis
– Soft or brittle, weak bones
– Brittle joints
– Split, broken or dull hair
– Premature grey hair, loss of hair
– Premature aging and senility
– Ear problems
– Dark bags under the eyes
– Fluid retention and bloating
– Aversion to cold
– Dryness and thirst
– Pain/rash along Bladder or Kidney Meridians
– Stiffness along the back of the body
– Dull throbbing headaches, neck problems, lower back pain, hamstring problems
– Back of leg sciatica
– Problems with back of knee, outside ankle or little toe
Helping the Jing + Water
Here are some simple ways to help support the Water Element and Jing.
More can be found in Nine Ways To Body Wisdom:
– Keep the body warm in cold environments including air conditioned rooms, especially the lower back/kidney area
– Avoid sitting on cold surfaces
– Reduce meal size
– Reduce consumption of sweet food and refined carbohydrates, such as pasta and bread
– Favour warm drinks
– Eat some warm food, especially if living in a cold climate
– Eat more berries, lemons, parsley, alfalfa, turnips, onions, ginger, cinnamon, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and seaweed
– Drink green or jasmine tea and avoid caffeine
– Drink plenty of fluids to stay well hydrated
– Stretch back of legs regularly but keep knees slightly bent when doing so
– Reflexology, Acupressure, Jin Shin Jyutsu
– Beneficial essential oils: Bergamot, Cedarwood, Geranium, Juniper, Sandalwood, Cypress, Fennel, Ginger, Thyme, and Rosemary
– Bach flower remedies: Aspen, Mimulus, Olive, Rock Rose, Star of Bethlehem, Rockwater, and Vine
Try these Affirmations to strengthen
“I am safe and secure and able to face any challenges that may arise.”
“My willpower is resolute and gives me strength.”
“I am adaptable and able to open myself to the flow of life.”
“I am fearless.”