Coming into being part 2: Pre-conception: the Dao and Jing expressed in our body
In this blog, I am going to look at understanding the energies of Pre-conception and how the energy of the whole Universe and the energies of our parents and ancestral line imprint on our being.
These phases help us understand the nature of the Extra-ordinary Vessels, as outlined in previous blog
I would really appreciate any comments/thoughts on this: especially what you think about the differences and similarities between Yuan Qi and Jing.
In the next Blog I will look at the first few weeks after conception.
Pre-conception: The human as a microcosm of the macrocosm of the Universe: Source Qi and Ming/Destiny : the 8 Extraordinary Vessels express this connection
This phase is perhaps the least clear. When does life begin and how does it first start to manifest itself as an individual being? The most controversial answer is that it begins before conception.
The ancient Chinese view, which corresponds with the recent discoveries of quantum physics, is that we are all part of everything. Each of our cells contains the matter/energy of the whole of the Universe: I referred to this in the blog I wrote: The moon, our Placenta
“It is fascinating to remind ourselves that the atoms that make up our body are traceable to the stars. Therefore we are connected atomically the whole universe, chemically to the earth itself and biologically to all other species. We are in the moon and the moon is in us! This is what Neil de Grasse Tyson, American astrophysicist, in a video he has on You Tube has expressed as one of his most interesting facts about the universe.
The Chinese would refer to this as our connection to the Dao: which is the energy of the whole Universe. How do we arise out of this whole? How and why do we take on a physical form? In many traditions, it is believed that we take on a physical form in order to experience certain aspects of life on earth: that we come for a specific purpose. This is referred to as the Ming or our Destiny and to enable us to consciously connect with our destiny is considered by some to be the highest purpose of Chinese medicine (Lonny Jarret, Nourishing Destiny).
In practical terms, we start to make a connection with a particular physical location and family. As we are drawn towards the earth, we start to draw together physically the energy of two families.
This is what I see as being the Yuan Qi, the source Qi, how the energy of the Universe starts imprints on us as an individual: where and when we choose to incarnate and how this energy underlies and supports all other energies during our life.
It is a little different, but of course closely related to the Jing, or the Essence, which I will talk about along with the energy of conception itself. Yuan Qi and Jing are both related to the Kidneys. They are the foundation of Kidney energy rather than its day to day expression: that is the Kidney channel in the 12 meridians. Physically in the body, Source Qi and Jing arise from Ming Men (Gate of Life) a point on the Governing Vessel (sea of Yang) (GV4) between the 2nd and 3rd lumbar vertebrae and on the front in the Dantian area ( points on the midline of the front of the body below the navel, CV 4 Gate of Origin and CV 6 Sea of Qi).
The mother and father, may start to become aware of this new energy arising. I, along with many of my students and clients, was aware of the energy of both of my own two children (Rosa and Bram) a few weeks prior to their conception. What I experienced then as the essence of their being, I recognise now in who they are becoming (now 19 and 24).
I have been exploring the realms of my own pre conceptual worlds with my individual work with Patricia Sterry since 2007 . Patricia has developed a system of tapping into the subconscious in order to understand one’s soul journey in this life. I also have done some work with William Emerson who runs workshops not only about connecting with life in the womb, but life before. This work has helped me understand more the nature of the Ming and the Extraordinary Vessels as they exist before conception and therefore containing much more than our physical body. In working them we are supporting our connection to the whole universe.
This is in fact expressed by some embryologists,such as Jaap van der Wal, who call embryology the study of the Universe writing itself on our body.
Practical ideas for retaining this connection.
How do we support our capacity to retain a connection with the whole universe so that we don’t forget our nature of connectedness and purpose in this life?
Work with the Extraordinary vessels, especially Conception, Governing, Penetrating and Girdle: the Core Four which arise from Ming Men
For me, the Extraordinary Vessels contain the energy of the macrocosm. Governing and Conception Vessel as Seas of Yin and Yang express the celestial/primordial quality of Yin and Yang. Points such as CV22: Window of Heaven express this. Penetrating Vessel expresses the Shen, Spirit connection of the macrocosm: heavenly Fire. Girdle Vessel is the container. To access this aspect of them, it is helpful to connect with their energy which is beyond the physical body of the client. This includes supporting an awareness of the connection to the heavenly bodies of the stars, moon, planets and so on.
Qi Gong style exercises: especially outside in nature
Over recent years, thanks especially to my good friend and colleague Tricia Teahan I have become more drawn to the movements of Qi Gong. Many of these movements don’t work simply within our own physical body but extend beyond their boundaries to a connection with the universe: with the stars, with the moon, with the whole Heaven.
Many Qi Gong exercises relate to the pathways of the Extraordinary Vessels
If we can do these exercises in a large space, preferably outside, it is much easier to connect with the energy of the stars, sun, moon, day, night and the heaven. La Pedrera offers a wonderful opportunity to do this
Meditation on the whole, us as part of whole
I also like working with meditations which support our capacity to connect with the macrocosm. In these we can connect with the stars and heavens and expand our awareness to include the whole.
Once we can open up to being part of a whole, we are more able to be aware of our place and purpose within that whole.
I find images and poems also can help us access this energy.
Jing and the moment of conception: the physical meeting of the sperm and egg: our connection to the more specific ancestral line: Jing
Each life which comes into being has a specific quality and connection to a particular family pattern and connection: the blood line.
This is what the Chinese refer to as the Jing, or ancestral energy. It is said to arise the Kidneys and circulate in the 8 Extraordinary Vessels, especially the core four.
Neuroscientists and epigeneticists are now realising, that patterns can be carried down through the generations .
Neuroscience finds that stress in early life alters the production of small RNAs, called microRNAs, in the sperm of mice (K. Gapp et al. Nature Neurosci. 2014). The mice show depressive behaviours that persist in their progeny, which also show glitches in metabolism
On humans there has been some study on this through data from the Dutch famine during the second world war
Physically we can relate this to the fact that the basis for each egg and sperm begins in the womb, with the formation of the immature sex cells (the primordial germ cells). These have been first noticed to exist in the yolk sac at only a few weeks after conception. It’s amazing, isn’t it, to realise that the egg and sperm have been in existence in the mother’s and father’s body when they were in the womb of their mothers.
The journey of maturation for the egg and the sperm is different and fascinating to explore. However, at the moment of ejaculation, 40 million to 1.2 billion sperm are released . Of these “only” 200 to 300 million make it into the vagina and only 300 – 500 reach the egg. When they reach the egg they surround her with their heads facing in and their tails facing out.
A sperm is virtually all nucleus which is the head, and a tail. It is unlike other cells in that its nucleus is on the outside. The nucleus contains the genetic material (Jing and Yuan Qi) . The ripe egg is much bigger, the size of a grain of sand and visible to the naked eye. She has the nucleus in her centre and the largest volume of any cell in the human body. Her nucleus is surrounded by cytoplasm: the watery Yin substance of life providing nourishment. About 60,000 sperm fit into one mature egg cell.
Only 1 sperm fertilises the egg. The others are thought to help the fertilising sperm penetrate her outer layer. This takes some time and Jaap van der Wal likens it to a mating dance which lasts for several hours and calls it the “pre conception attraction complex”. During this time both the egg and sperm cells change in nature. They may or may not mate. Contrary to common misconception the sperm doesn’t simply penetrate the egg: there is not a passive partner and an active partner rather “ cell and cell qualities are equivalent as a subtle equilbrium of exchange and interaction “ (van der Wal) . This is a great description of Yin and Yang!
When one sperm enters into the egg membrane, it loses its own membrane and its tail detaches: it dies to give life. We will see, as we explore the changes over the next few weeks, that death is part of growth.
Our unique being is created from the vastness of the universe to rest in the tiniest of spaces. This is our first physical beginning. Everything that we will become is here including our support structures (amniotic sac, fetal part of placenta, membranes) .
I see this moment as the first physical bringing together the Core 4 Extraordinary Vessels:
Yin and Yang: sperm and egg: Conception and Governing
Shen comes from the heaven into the microcosm; Penetrating : the spark which is us: our Shen.
The outer layer of the egg now hardens: Governing: the container
The image of the Dao represents these core four energies: the line between the two, connecting heaven and earth is Penetrating Vessel, with Girdle Vessel (grey) around the outside.
These four aspects of the new being come back to oneness in physical form for a short while. During the next 30 hours the nucleus of the egg and sperm fuse to form one super cell: made up of 23 chromosomes from the mother and father to create the 46 chromosomes of us.
Practical ideas for retaining this connection
How to retain a sense of our greater ancestral connection and support?
Still working with core 4
This would include holding a sense of the connection with the parents and the ancestral line while working:
GV/GDV can be seen as representing father: Yang
CV/PV mother: Yin
Yet there are overlaps: within the father there is the father’s mother. Yin and Yang always exist within each other and that is why we can not separate out the Extraordinary Vessels. They are four aspects of one energy.
Exercise: to connect with maternal and paternal line
Feeling the support of the father’s physical body at our back and our mother’s physical body at our front
On the support we have in the greater sense from our parents and ancestors, not just the day to day energy, which may be less supporting!
These are just some initial suggestions: please play with them and I look forward to your feedback. Do ask me to clarify if anything is unclear.