命門 Mingmen: Taoist Breath & Qigong
An Excerpt from my upcoming book "Secrets of Drunken Boxing 3: Internal Alchemy" This is a part of the section where I am starting to describe Mingmen 命門 and its role in Taoist breathing for qigong practice... thought I would share...
Pre Heaven qi is also like a bank account of reserve energy. It is the stuff that helps one create life with a mate, real powerful transformation. But no discussion about it would be complete without talkig about how we expend it ourselves as well.
When one is young and say has an older brother or friend bootleg alcohol for them the drunken party ensues and in the morning the young person wakes up with little to no hangover. From the perspective of Mingmen what happens is this: the liver comes to Mingmen and says “We have been poisoned!” but mingmen who is the keeper of this bank account of pre heaven qi looks and sees a large balance. Mingmen then gives a grain of the preheaven to the liver to help it deal with the poisoning and as such it does its job and filters it out really efficiently spending that grain of preheaven to do it. No hangover.
Time and time again this happens as the person starts to really enjoy alcohol and of course the pleasure is met with little to no pain each time as mingmen keeps helping the liver out with some preheaven qiTime and time again this happens as the person starts to really enjoy alcohol and of course the pleasure is met with little to no pain each time as mingmen keeps helping the liver out with some preheaven qi each time. But one day liver comes to mingmen and asks for help with yet another round of poisoning and mingmen sees the balance in the account of preheaven is only big enough to handle day to day endeavors for the rest of this persons life and refuses to let liver have any pre heaven. That morning our person gets the mother of all hangovers as the liver is trying to do all the work it can but has no help.
The most poignant phrase my gongfu brother Kevin said to me about this subject is this “What you spend in your 20s, you pay for in your 60s.”
At the end of your life as Mingmen is becoming weaker and in this analogy has less preheaven to spare since it is all being used as fuel all the time to keep your body functioning, what will be the quality of your life? Excess preheaven will mean a spry, powerful person even at advanced age, but one who spent their excess preheaven early in life will have health troubles, poor quality of life and will be paying the price for spending it all early. The choice of course is each of ours to make but as qigong practitioners and martial artists we should be aware that pre heaven cannot be regained or rebuilt. It is a finite amount and when it runs out we perish. Be careful on what you chose to use it on.