A tree with a deep, well developed root system is more likely to survive periods of drought, heat, cold or other extreme weather conditions. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, (TCM), the same can be said for humans. Maintaining a healthy, robust constitution is essential to one's ability to withstand the inevitable mental, emotional and physical challenges which confront us all.
Our genetic make up is referred to in TCM as the "inherited constitution" or "ancestral energy". Each person is born with their own unique quantity and quality of constitutional energy, which determines the trajectory of birth, growth, maturation, aging and death. Ancestral energy is finite; when it is used up the organism ceases to live.
An essential teaching of TCM is the importance of nurturing the inherited constitution through proper life style, which is the foundation of "acquired energy". This means that the preponderance of the body's day to day energetic needs should be derived from appropriate food, exercise, and sleep. If acquired energy is not replenished on a daily basis, the body taps into the finite storehouse of ancestral energy, reducing vitality, resilience and shortening its lifespan.
Like the root system of a tree, the body's vital organs are hidden, but they are the source of our ability to sustain life. Nourishing the roots is a day by day mindfulness practice which can provide us with the emotional and physical strength to meet the vicissitudes of life.