Water and Fire in the Unity of Human and Heaven

From the Taoist’s rigorous and rich description of Qi, Yin and Yang: In the vast universe, tens of billions of years ago, some forms of huge air current slowly liquefied and accumulated under the impetus of a huge energy force. As the energy density flows further, the liquefied matter was mutually absorbed and condensed. This huge liquid mass slowly solidified and wrapped together, and a three-dimensional structure began to appear, as the measurement of the space, and evolving into a sphere. Under the interaction of various internal and external energies, with its own energy density flow internally and externally, its movement started its rotating, and then very slowly a fixed structure with the east, the west, the north, and the south, the inside, and the outside began to periodically and physically appear in a certain way, accompany its rotations and its energy fields.

While the thermal energy in the center of the earth gradually stabilized, the surface became a relatively low-temperature structure. Under the action of energy flow, the liquid matter differentiated into a variety of different energy elements, the sprouting Five Essential Elements of the very young earth started to merge.

As a new life in the universe, although alternatively, it might be just one little cell on a huge body, the earth started to “breath”. It started to absorb and release its own energy between its internal and external. The essential elements moved and formed into new objects and new lives following the earth’s energy flow.

This was about the time plants started to exist on a very young liquidized earth while some of the Five Essential Elements formed into the mountains, mantle, and oceans. Over billions of years, the young earth not only can breathe between internal and external through its energy absorbing and releasing, but it also has its circulatory system and muscles, the rivers, and underground air and fluids. The geological layers of the earth began to form. While the earth was growing, deep in its water, some new kinds of lives started their existence.

Taoism thinks that the original innate energy that forced the bulk forms of liquid to gather together was Qian, which is infinite and everlasting, also called Tao. And the liquid was like Kan, which carries the energy from Qian and formed into the early liquid earth Kun. Baby earth stored the Qian Yang in the deep center of it. This Yang energy was earth’s essential acquired energy Li. This gives us a very easy way to understand that Kan means the water, Li means the fire.

(Read more on Qian, Kun, Kan, and Li here…)

What about human embryonic development? Is it following the same development process as how Mother Earth got her birth and growth? Just like how a generation inherites life codes through DNA from the older generations? It’s similar as described in how a new life could be generated in Taoism books. But today, with modern medicine and life sciences, we can tie them together.

Father’s sperm, carrying Yang energy from the universe, active and strong, swims in a liquid environment to meet mother’s egg, still and soft, with its Yin characters. Only when a force of strong innate Qian merged with the active sperm shall the sperm and egg be fertilized into a new life. This new life starts from the mother’s abdomen, the north, the Kan, gets nurtured by the mother’s Qi and Blood. The new life is like a vigorous, tempting, and thriving force of up-forward growing new energy, and has all the characters of Yang Qi energy. The new life first appears as a group of cells in a liquid environment, then the head and heart started to appear, which belong to Li. With life’s fire started from water, Kan, the other organs follow to appear as well as the four limbs, finally the skin. Once the birth is given, it starts its full acquired Kun life.

According to modern science, the human body is a microcosm of the earth. Water occupies 70% of the earth’s surface and 70% of the human body, and their chemical compositions are similar. By analogy to humans, we know that natural changes mainly affect the human body through water that acts on the human body. The many physiological cycles of a person are a microcosm of the natural cycle in the human body.

The meridian theory of Chinese medicine describes channels based on water circulation. And the ancestor’s highest wisdom is in categorizing human moral spirits as the same as the innate natural energy force, the fire energy.

Now, can we say that the universe is the greatest magician, and humans are in incredible perfect harmonized unity with nature?

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From Qi Monism to Yin and Yang

Ancient Chinese culture is the long-term precipitation and development of monistic system thought. Its fundamental theory is always about the change of the energy of Qi.

“Yi Jing” and “Tao Te Ching” both tell us: Everything is inseparable from Yin and Yang, and it must have both Yin Qi and Yang Qi. Changes in the four seasons, birth, old age, sickness, and death in life are the result of the growth and decline of Yin and Yang.

Qi is invisible and untouchable energy that runs through the whole universe. The world‘s change is all about the Qi energy flow between Yin and Yang. Chinese medicine is cosmic medicine; Qi is a kind of cosmic energy. This energy produces everything. Where there is life or no life, it exists.

“气聚则生, 气散则亡 tells when Qi gathers, life is produced, and when Qi is dispersed, life dies. The Buddha said: when the 5 elements of Qi: Wood, Fire, Earth, Gold, and Water come together under certain conditions, a life is born. Without Qi supporting humans, life is over.

Qi is not only reflected in the breath but in all things. Its energy is immensely large. Imagine how heavy the heaviest thing around us is, Qi can move it. Mountain is very heavy. Qi can definitely move it because the mountain is no heavier than the moon, the earth, and the sun. The ancients said: the atmosphere lifted the earth and the earth is nothing more than a table tennis ball floating in the sky. Universe Qi can hold up the earth, so can it the mountains. Not only can the earth, but the Qi can also move the solar system, the Milky Way galaxy, the whole universe. It is everywhere.

Wherever Qi goes, it controls everything. Without Qi, there is no agriculture, no medicine … no life.

How does this energy manifest a human life? Parents give birth, energy gives life. It is Qi that continuously supplies life. A person is constantly absorbing energy and growing. It is the same for humans, plants, and animals.

As the essence of ancient Chinese culture, the Yin and Yang theory covers all aspects of the universe. It explains: Why do we have four seasons? It is because of the conversion of Yin and Yang between the universe, the sun, and the earth. Why do people get sick? It is the imbalance between Yin and Yang in the human body.

Yin and Yang are two opposite sides of the same thing: up and down, left and right, north and south, white and black… Yin and Yang have a distinct character of the opposition. There is Yin in Yang and there is Yang in Yin. They are interdependent to each other, support each other, contain each other, transform into each other, and complement each other. Their relationship is best described in the image of Taiji. Refer to figure 2 below.

Observe them by eyes: Anything that is upward, sporty, warm, and positive belongs to Yang. Conversely, down, static, cold, and negative belong to Yin. The largest representative of Yin and Yang: Heaven and Earth. There are others like sun and moon, day and night, man and woman, male and female…


Modern philosophy tells us that things are relative, not absolute. Although the sky, the heaven, is Yang, divided by how the sky presents to humans through a day, it is Yang during daytime and Yin at nighttime. Although it is Yang during the daytime, it can be further divided into Yang in the morning and Yin in the afternoon.

Yin and Yang can be divided indefinitely. Eventually, it reaches the atomic level. An atom is very small. Inside it, the nucleus is Yin due to its static, and the electrons surrounding the core are Yang due to the movements. Can atoms be divided again into smaller Yang and Yin? YES. Nobody knows if there is a world inside a cell of our human body, just like our universe is like a cell of a huge person, or, a huge creature.

Take a human as an example: a man is Yang, a woman is Yin; on a person, the front is Yang, the back is Yin; the upper is Yang, the lower is Yin. On one hand, the thumb is Yang, and the other four fingers are Yin. The palm of the hand is Yang and the back of the hand is Yin. From a mathematical point of view, odd numbers are Yang, even numbers are Yin.

From traditional Chinese Medicine’s point of view, in the human body, Yang meridians are active, warm, and fast; Yin meridians tend to be still, cold, and slow. So, the meridian that runs on the inner side is called the Yin channel, and that on the outer side is called the Yang channel. With this principle in mind, let us raise the arm: the inner side of the arm is Yin with extraneous fat accumulated and the outer side is Yang of mostly muscles.

The function that runs the human body is Yang, and the food and drink are Yin. Food and drink can produce the essence of energy that maintains the function of the Yang of the body through biochemical actions and nourish the body Yin through gasification.

Very importantly, for a person, the spirit is Yang, the body is Yin. Why? The human spirit embodied through the human heart and brain exudes human vitality upward and outward. The introverted, precise, and stable human body is the carrier and material foundation of the human spirit.

Yin and Yang in the human body are relatively balanced. This means: human spirit and body are balanced; human functions and basic food and water energies are balanced.

When Yin and Yang are biased in the human body, excess of Yang energy or excess of Yin energy causes hyperactive or weak Qi and Blood, and causes meridians to go abnormal. Then, people are sick.

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