from Subtle Energy:
Awakening to the Unseen Forces in Our Lives by William Collinge,
Ph.D., Warner Books, Inc., 1998
To understand how to cultivate
vital energy we need to look more deeply at the nature of it. According
to taoist energy theory, we have both congenital chi and acquired chi.
Congenital chi translates roughly as "essence" or "sexual essence." Our
congenital chi underlies our basic constitutional strength and is determined
by the energy of our parents, our in-utero nutrition, planetary influences
at conception, and possibly past-life phenomena.
It cannot be replaced, but
is gradually spent over a lifetime. It can be conserved by healthy lifestyle,
meditation, and certain sexual practices; but it becomes depleted through
overwork, unhealthy living habits, and sexual excess. Just as a battery
gradually is depleted through use, and a generator can restore some power
temporarily, as the battery ages it eventually becomes unable to hold any
charge at all.
Walter has an abundance of
congenital chi, but he augments it with acquired chi, that which we gain
from food, energetic herbs, and air. Acquired chi helps to conserve our
congenital chi, and the two work together synergistically for longevity
and personal power.
The marriage of these two
kinds of energy explains the differences in people's energetic resources.
All of us are capable of raising the level of our vital energy with use
of acquired chi and by conserving our congenital chi. In the remainder
of this chapter I'll explain how we can care for our vital energy through
our patterns of activity and rest, food, energetic herbs, energy practices,
and sexual practices.