In ancient China the Taoist believed that there are 36 Heavens! These Heavens were created by;
Numerous Treasure Heavenly Worthy - Tao Mediating
Primordial heavenly Worthy - Tao Gestating
Supreme Way Heavenly Worthy (Lao Tzu) - Tao Indwelling
Jing (Refined, Perfect, Essence)
Qi (Air, Vapor, Vital Energy)
Shen (Spirit, Mind, Intelligence)
These resulting in what is called the 9 Divisions of the Celestial Sphere. These 9 Divisions were then multiplied by the 4 directions (north, east, south and west) making for the total of 36 Heavens!
On April 5th, 2008 myself along with Lisa Hish, Don Tomei and Kipling Swehla talked about how the Nine Divisions are applicable in Tai Chi, Qigong, our health and philosophy. Below is an abridged version of what was discussed or practiced on that day.
The Three Purities
The Three Purities are considered the highest deities in all of Taoism. They represent and control the various stages of the cosmos and exist with or without humanity.
The Three Energies
Jing Automatic at birth, nourishes, fuels and cools the body. Believed to be the carrier of our DNA. Is our reproductive system, semen, menstrual blood, bone marrow, lymphatic waters, synovial fluids, and mucus to name a few.
Qi Automatic at birht, is the steam created by the movement of air (wind) and blood (water).
Shen Not automatically given at birth. It is created, through practice (Tai Chi, Qigong, Neigong) and virtues (Three Treasures).
Activities that can damage our primary birth energy (Yuan Qi) is irregular lifestyle, improper eating and drinking, injurious or noxious air, toxic food, extreme physical exertion, damaged mental faculties etc.
Activities that can cultivate primary birth energy (Yuan Qi) is by living in accord with heaven and earth, yin and yang, the 4 seasons, the sun, moon, stars. By preserving your spirit, muscles and flesh. By temperance in eating and drinking. Regulating sleep and restoration, breath. Contentment etc.
Cheng Man Ching stated ..."70% is your internal energy and 30% is for the outside (heaven and earth) but that 30% is very hard to harness"...
Heaven (sky, cosmos, universe, vast, boundless, contains all, infinite reservoir of dynamic force, infinite time and space).
Humanity (human being in relation to Heaven and Earth living accordance to the Three Treasures).
Earth (land, globe, celestial body of heaven, evolution, nature, yin and yang, 5 elements, 8 gates and the myriad).
Heaven and Earth have the same roots as me, all things share the same body with me. The human body is the micro-cosmos. Heaven and Earth are the macro-cosmos.
Man abides by Earth, Earth by Heaven, Heaven by Tao, Tao by Nature.
The Three Treasures belongs to the Humanity realm of the Three Materials. They are;
Compassion (tenderness, love, mercy, kindness, gentleness, benevolence.
Frugality (moderation, economy, restraint. To be sparing.
Humility (dare not to be first or ahead in the world)
Human beings automatically have a relationship to the Three Purities, the Three Energies, and the Three Materials. How we choose to participate adds or takes away from our longevity and quality of life.
Lisa Hish talked in greater depths about how to protect/develop our Jing and Qi. Don Tomei provided group activity while talking about how to maintain a relationship to Heaven and Earth while practicing Qigong. I provided group activity while talking about how to maintain a relationship to Heaven and Earth when practicing Tai Chi Chuan and Push Hands and how to harmonize Qi and Jing to create Shen. Kipling Swehla talked about Compassion, Frugality and Humility and the benefits of practicing this lifestyle.