Excerpt from Being Taoist
Understanding the Energy of Life
Laozi said the following: The valley spirit that does not die is the Mysterious Female. The gate of the Mysterious Female is the root of the sky and the earth.
Heshang Gong (202–157 b.c.e.), known as the Sage of the River, added the following: Valley means protection. If we are able to protect the spirit, we will live long and never die. The spirit guards the five viscera. Within the liver is the luminous spirit; within the lungs is the soul; within the kidneys is the generative essence; within the heart is the essence of intelligence; within the spleen is the spirit of feelings and intention. If any of these organs is injured, the guardian of that viscus will leave. As a result, life energy will be harmed, and health will deteriorate.
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