Shen is the ebullient spirit of the Heart. Shen embodies mind and thought and is reflected in our higher consciousness. Shen was first discussed in the Huangdi Neijing medical classic in the chapter called the Root of Spirit:
‘Heaven abides so that we have virtue;
Earth abides so that we have Qi;
When virtue flows and Qi is blended there is life.’
Sentient beings synchronize to the energy of their environs. The capacity for synchronization is fundamental. Electromagnetic fields encompass ‘information’ and once synchronized there is a rapid flow that is energetically exchanged. A person uses part of the healthy patterns of the places and people with whom we share resonance to solve concerns and health conditions, and to form connection and a compassionate context. The fundamental nature of Heart resonance allows a person who is ill a pathway to cultivate truth and healing. In clinical practice of Chinese medicine this puts focus on the practitioner to embody the essence of Chinese medicine including its spiritual context.
The Heart creates unity through connection. The brain, different from the all-knowing of the Heart’s compassionate nature, can help us to understand but it can also separate us from the essence of true knowing with its causal/scientific/analytical process of creating distinctions and its drive to deny there is anything outside analytical sense. The mind and its collection of facts vies to become master although it is indeed the servant of the sovereign Heart’s heavenly status as ruler. Heart is like an aperture that allows us a state of resonance, rapport, and connection with everything else. Harmonious resonance with one’s place in the Universe is the ultimate expression of the state of one’s Shen.