“Why aren’t we having a child?”
The answer could be that the deep reservoir of vitality and endurance has been emptied.
Our model calls this deep reservoir jing 精.
We are born with it, and to some extent it is our genetic inheritance. It fuels our rapid growth from conception to adulthood, and is the source of our reproductive energy. It also keeps us healthy into our old age when repair and maintenance takes more resources.
With a healthy lifestyle we meet our normal energy needs with air, food, and drink. But when these aren’t enough we start to use the backup reservoir of jing. Stress, excessive physical or mental labour, lack of adequate rest or sleep, or long-term illness make demands that cannot be met by air, food and drink alone so the jing gets used. Stimulants we use to keep going are not energy sources, but give us an instant rush by using our deep stores of energy. But we keep doing it.
That is why we don’t feel as lively, and why we are less able to reproduce when we are older. If can also affect our mental state and ability to sleep, as jing is the basis of the our yin/receptive/night/rest pole, and without it the yang/active/daytime energy cannot be quenched.
Most importantly even when we feel we have energy in the day and sleep well, we may only find out we have run our reservoir dry when we want to create a life.
A teacher of mine compared jing to an inherited trust fund; and air, food and drink to income. Most of us spend more than we earn, burn up our inheritance, and seek credit with stimulants. When we earn more than we spend, with healthy food, moderate activity, and adequate rest we can add to the reservoir of jing. But this can only be done with quiet, unbusy time. Jing is a yin essence, and can only be formed with quietness and repose, over a long period. Making it has been called internal alchemy.
Yoga, meditation, and taichi help. Screentime is not quiet time as it is too mentally and visually stimulating.
Acupuncture can help us rebuild jing. But only if there is sufficient yang energy and yin fluids in the body to transform to jing. There are herbs that replenish jing. But they are moist and heavy and difficult to process if our digestion is weak. So digestion may need to be strengthened first, and diet subtly changed to help it. And jing is a pure essence: if we throw too much unrefined essence building medicine into the system it will just overflow like trying to push too much through a filter. So essence building takes time.
But this isn’t about rebuilding jing being too hard. It is about how less stress, less strenuous mental or physical activity, more rest and quiet time, better sleep may be important. And patience.