Ripe fruit, crisp greens, live grain,
Vital roots, tender meat, spring water.
Growing essence nourishes your own.
Essence alloyed with breath makes you flexible but hard.
The sage’s body is armored.
The sage is impervious to death.
Those who follow Tao speak of three treasures in the body : essence, breath, and spirit. Essence is the biochemical aspect of your body, nurtured by the food you eat, and regulated by the quality of your hormones. Therefore, all your food should be packed and glowing with energy. Eat food as close to its source as possible. Pray before you eat, for everything that you take, whether plant or animal, is living. You must consume to survive, but when you die, acknowledge that you will become food for others.
To build the breath, work and exercise diligently. Build stamina and discipline yourself. You will gain great flexibility combined with hardened flesh, and you will be graceful. Immunity to minor physical traumas as well as many kinds of illness will be yours.
The ultimate training of the spirit begins with the question of death. The sages see beyond dying. Though they must die, they also know that nothing is lost because no one owns body or mind anyway. Those who follow Tao safeguard themselves and live their spirituality with a realistic appreciation of death. The establishment of essence, breath, and spirit is like wearing armor; the travails of the world mean nothing.