THE LAST basic substance that we will briefly discuss is the Sben, which can be translated as the Mind or the Spirit of the individual. Mind is perhaps the most appropriate term to use since Chinese philosophy distinguishes between several aspects of spirit, a discussion of which goes beyond the scope of this book. However, we should not think of the Sben as simply the mind that thinks, memorizes, and carries out logical processing. Hence, Sben is not human consciousness as such, but we
can say that the existence of human consciousness is evidence of the action and presence of the Sben.
It is perhaps best to consider Shen in terms of its relationship with Qi and Jing. Jing, Qi, and Shen are referred to collectively in Chinese medicine as the "Three Treasures" and are believed to be the essential components of the life of the individual.
*Jing is the densest component and is responsible for the developmental processes of the body.
*Qi is the next stage and is responsible for the more immediate animate life of the body.
*Shen is the most refined level responsible for human consciousness.
When the Three Treasures are in harmony the individual will be radiant with life: physically fit, mentally sharp, and alert. The driving force of the Shen suggests the personality of the individual.
DISHARMONIES OF SHEN
A minor Shen disturbance may present as slow and muddled thinking, anxiety, or insomnia. In extreme instances, a Shen disharmony can produce a serious personality disorder, psychiatric disturbances, and even unconsciousness.