The Wu Shen and Alchemy verse Ascension with Stephanie Nosco (EP#123)

by Alexandra Anttilla June 23, 2021 61 mins read

Stephanie-Nosco-podcast

Today on the podcast, we're bringing ancient teachings to life as we journey through the Daoist delineation of the human psyche by way of storytelling. In this transformative conversation, Mason and Yin yoga, meditation, and medical Qigong practitioner Stephanie Nosco discuss the Wu Shen, also known as The Five Spirits; A system of spiritual descent, allowing us to live out our Dao through bringing the light of Heaven down to Earth, and alchemising pain into growth. Stephanie's transfer of knowledge and her ability to bring this elusive spiritual system to life through story and metaphor is brilliant. This intrinsic part of the Daoist teachings can't be measured or quantified but is the consciousness behind everything. Descending from the Heavens with Shen and moving through Hun, Yi, Po, and Zhi, Stephanie takes us on a journey, pulling out the light and different expressions of each spirit along the way. In a realm of work she's so passionate about Stephanie expresses that compassion for ourselves is essential on this path of healing. For true transformation, wisdom, and inspiration will arise from our psyche, only when we are willing to go into the murky depths to do the work, and begin to consciously live out our Dao. Tune in for wisdom.

"But what this Daoist alchemy says is that stuff, that Lead is actually the Gold. That is why we're here. If we we're not meant to go through difficulties, we'd still be a spirit in the clouds, you know? It's those things that teach and season us. And so, that's what we're doing; We're going down the mountain. We're bringing spirit right into those difficulties, right into the grit".

 

- Stephanie Nosco

 

 

Mason and Stephanie discuss:

  • The Five Spirits.
  • The spirit of the organs.
  • Mingmen and our destiny.
  • The wisdom in storytelling.
  • Bringing Shen into the body.
  • Practices to nourish the Hun.
  • Hun disturbance and depression.
  • Practices to help the Yi spirit.
  • Po disturbance and breathwork.
  • Medical Qigong to nourish the five spirits.
  • Yin yoga as an avenue to explore the spirit dimension.

 

Who is Stephanie Nosco?

Stephanie is a dedicated Yin yoga, meditation, and medical Qigong practitioner. After over a decade of teaching these modalities and witnessing their transformative power, Stephanie has fostered a deep appreciation for the human spirit and its undervalued potential to heal the physical, mental and emotional body. Stephanie is endorsed by yin yoga founder, Sarah Power's, through the Insight Yoga Institute. She has sat multiple long silent retreats, with senior teachers from both Theravada and Mahayana Buddhist traditions. Her most recent interests surround how spirituality, energetics, and psychotherapy intersect, and is currently completing her Masters' in Counselling psychology. Stephanie views Yin Yoga, Meditation, Qigong, and psychotherapy as methods to re-awaken what we already know. She founds her teachings on the principle that this inner knowing is the true guide towards health, healing, and awakening.

 

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN ON APPLE PODCAST 

 

Resources:

Nosco Yoga
Stephanie's Instagram
Stephanie's Facebook
Yin Yoga Teacher Training 
Rooted In Spirit Book
Sarah Powers Yoga
 

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Check Out The Transcript Here:

 

Mason: (00:00)

Steph, thanks so much for coming on the podcast.

 

Steph Nosco: (00:02)

Thank you so much for having me.

 

Mason: (00:04)

Yeah, absolute pleasure. I was very excited to stumble upon your Instagram page. I am learning a lot, I am frothing on it. Is it ... How do you pronounce your last name? Nosco?

 

Steph Nosco: (00:18)

It's Nosco, yeah.

 

Mason: (00:20)

Yeah, Nosco. Nosco Yoga. It's very good. I think I found it through Kimberley.

 

Steph Nosco: (00:25)

Oh, okay. Yeah. She does Qi-Fu therapy.

 

Mason: (00:30)

Qi-Fu therapy, yeah.

 

Steph Nosco: (00:31)

Yeah, nice.

 

Mason: (00:32)

She'll be jumping on the pod as well. We did a live together on Instagram.

 

Steph Nosco: (00:36)

That's great.

 

Mason: (00:37)

Saw you guys. How did you guys connect?

 

Steph Nosco: (00:40)

Just through Instagram, just through the Gramme world. Yeah, and she reached out to me about doing a live. And so, I was like, "Sure, I'd love to chat with you about it."

 

Mason: (00:48)

The Gramme.

 

Steph Nosco: (00:49)

Yeah.

 

Mason: (00:49)

That's how my now wife found me, through Instagram and just sent me a DM.

 

Steph Nosco: (00:55)

Oh, hilarious.

 

Mason: (00:55)

Yeah.

 

Steph Nosco: (00:56)

Yeah, there's definitely pros and cons to media for sure.

 

Mason: (00:59)

Oh yeah. Now, what I liked about your Gramme is you're straight up, you're talking about the spirits of the organs. Do you want to ... Because I just use very general, crass language around that. Do you want to go in and just ... You focus on that, you've got a Yin yoga background as well. And that's what you teach, a lot of Yin yoga, which everyone loves here. [Tarnee 00:01:24], again my wife, runs a company here with me. She's a Yin yoga teacher. And it comes up and everyone's always wanting more. And I thought, "Oh, great. Steph can help kind of satiate everyone's drooling for Yin yoga in their desire."

 

Steph Nosco: (01:35)

Yeah.

 

Mason: (01:37)

But going into the spirits, the [Zhi 00:01:39], everyone's heard about it a little bit from Rhonda Patrick that's been on the podcast, seen that this is a part of Chinese medicine that's been cut out, diminished, and therefore left this vacancy. The storytelling's been cut out, the capacity to get kinetically in touch with the body through Qi and knowledge of Qi. Through healing, through just that general understanding that comes, it's such a huge missing piece. And you're talking about it so well just through looking at what you put into your Instagram posts. So, let's dive in. You want to just start everyone off in understanding what it is?

 

Steph Nosco: (02:17)

Yeah, sure. So, I guess we can think about it like there's two different systems sort of happening, which kind of can get a bit confusing. So, a lot of people are familiar with the five elements, which are called the Wuxing. So, there's five elements, as you know. And they move in a wheel. So, the wheel of the five elements from water to wood, wood to fire, fire to earth, earth to metal. So, it goes in that spiral. But the Wu Shen, Wu means five and Shen means spirit, which we're going to be talking a lot about. And essentially, the Wu Shen is the empty space in that wheel. It's what makes that wheel turn. It's the consciousness behind everything.

 

Steph Nosco: (02:58)

And so, when I first heard about the Wu Shen from actually my shamanic Chinese medicine teacher, I was just so fascinated, I wanted to know more. I was like, "Tell me more about the spirits," you know? Like, I was just ... I wanted to dive into this so badly. I formerly was a Buddhist practitioner and very, very into meditation. And I have a religious studies background. So, I was like, "Give me more of the Wu Shen." And so, I learned a lot from Lorie Eve Dechar who's an acupuncturist. And she just has so much information about the spirits. And I started reading kind of classical texts that were really hard to get, because a lot of these texts are like out of print, you can't even buy them. So, it was like a book less than an inch thin for $200, kind of thing.

 

Mason: (03:46)

Oh nice. I love those ones.

 

Steph Nosco: (03:49)

Yeah. So-

 

Mason: (03:51)

Any in particular? Because I know everyone will start hounding you and me for that little-

 

Steph Nosco: (03:54)

Yeah. So this one, Rooted in Spirit by Claude Larre and Elisabeth Rochat is really great. They have quite a few translations on the Neijing Suwen, which is a lot of where this stuff comes from. So, me being religious studies background and super nerdy into this stuff, I was just so lit up about it. And then, also realising there's a big gap. Like, we're not talking about this. And why aren't we talking about this in yoga out of all places? And Yin yoga is such a perfect avenue to explore the spirit dimension. My teacher is Sarah Powers. So, I learned a tonne. That's kind of how I got interested through this stuff. But she didn't offer a lot of this information because it is quite obscure. So, I was like, "Okay, let's dive into it."

 

Steph Nosco: (04:41)

Yeah, so I guess, what can I say about the Wu Shen? So, again, the Wu Shen is that axis in the centre. And it exists along a vertical plane. Yeah, a vertical plane versus the Wu Shen exists on that horizontal plane in that horizontal axis. So, the Wu Shen kind of moves in a different order than the elements, which can get a little bit confusing. But we can think about it like a map to the spirit that enters through the GB20 at the crown of the head, okay? Through what ... [Shu shu ninati 00:05:11] is what we would call it in yoga or Taiji Pole is what we would call it in Daoism.

 

Mason: (05:18)

It's like, you were talking about the compass. It's like, you can say everyone's like, yes, there's ... And again, we've talked a lot about Yin Yang, Wu Xing as like, well, ultimately, it's the foundation of medicine. And it's like, that is literally, we don't need to go into Western diagnosis. It's literally the healing that arises from the diagnosis and bringing about harmony in the Yin Yang, Wu Xing. Yet you're talking about that, literally being on that nature plane and that physical plane. And then, all of a sudden, boom, we put up the horizontal axis.

 

Steph Nosco: (05:53)

Yes. Yeah.

 

Mason: (05:54)

We've got a compass.

 

Steph Nosco: (05:55)

It's bringing heaven literally down into earth. So, it's bringing ... How spirit comes down into earth through me. That's what it is. And so, what's confusing, I heard your episode on the three treasures. You guys talked a little bit about that.

 

Mason: (06:09)

Yeah.

 

Steph Nosco: (06:11)

Yeah, so it's kind of like, we have the three treasures, which are essentially the different densities of Qi, because everything is Qi. And Shen is the densest form of Qi. But within that Shen, there's also different gradients of density of energies. And so, that's what the Wu Shen are. And so, the five are Shen, which gets confusing because Shen is also all of them. But we can think of also like shining a light through the prism. Everything is Shen, everything is light, everything is spirit. But when you shine that light through a prism, it divides, right? So, we have these different densities. So, we have Shen, Hun, Yi, Po, and Zhi.

 

Mason: (06:55)

What comes ... I've just been listening to a podcast around the nature of animism, and how we are this ... We're this dot of ... You know? The smallest portion of humans have gone completely into the intellect and the analytical way of looking at the world. And literally for all of history, every single human is getting the kinetic ... Like, everything is alive around us. You can feel the living nature of everything. And what I'm just realising in the process I'm going through is looking at Yin Yang, Wu Xing, you know? Even that is a step away from the analytical Chinese medicine that is just purely nuts and bolts and seeing someone as symptoms and disease states, to then go to Yin Yang, Wuxing, but then straight away, when the Zhi and these aspirations of the various organs that can emerge and the aliveness and the spirit that can emerge, the personality almost that can emerge, not only just then did I see that you've got that upward, that horizontal that then gives you a compass.

 

Mason: (08:08)

What I can feel then, then I've got the contrast and the story of the body and the world. And the universe starts colouring ... It's just started colouring in for me a little bit. I can really start feeling the aliveness of everything. And it's just playing in really nicely to my week and listening to this podcast around animism. And I love people like Stephen Harrod, you know, the herbalists who they're bringing this storytelling and this metaphor to herbalism and to the plants. Same as people doing that to the stars, not just studying these things going, you need to feel the aliveness and you need to be able to tell stories. And that's what I'm feeling and I'm excited to go in with you now and hear these stories.

 

Steph Nosco: (08:51)

Yeah, so I guess we can start with the first kind of story, which is maybe more of again metaphors. Metaphors and stories, they just bring these teachings to life. And it has to be that way, right? Because we can't measure, we can't quantify the five spirits. So, Laurie, Lorie Dechar, she's just a brilliant, brilliant woman. But she actually had a download. So, this is not in any texts. But she had this download that the five spirits could be likened to like a mountain. And she uses the [Kumoon 00:09:20] Mountain, which is the mountain, it's like a sacred mountain in China. And what's funny about this is now this mountain, this Kumoon mountain is on the border of Tibet and China. And she heard once, one of her friends recently went there. And they reported, "Oh yeah, it's really deserted now. There's like old tanks there and it's just like there's garbage." And she's like, "You know what? What an amazing metaphor for where we're at now as a species." It's like this Kumoon mountain has been abandoned, you know?

 

Steph Nosco: (09:57)

And so, her job is like ... I asked her, "Can I use the metaphor of the mountain in my work?" And she says, "Use it." She's like, "We need this. We need to bring the spirit down. We need to bring the spirit down the mountain." And that's really what we were kind of chatting before the show is that the Daoism is really a system of descent, of spiritual descent. So, it's not about ascent, it's about bringing the light of heaven down the mountain. And as we move down, we actually alchemize our difficulties into growth and we realise our Dao and we live our Dao, which is really what actually the whole function of the five spirits is to live out our Dao. And for the listeners who don't know what that is, our Dao is our purpose. It's like the Wu Wei, right? When we're living our Dao, we live with naturalness, we live with ease. This effortless effort. And yeah, we don't have to try so hard, our life just kind of flows because we're living in alignment, in spiritual alignment.

 

Mason: (11:06)

Two questions. Can you talk about the significance of a descending model being offered or just being present, you know? Not necessarily as like, this is the way you need to live forever. But as an offering potentially, I'm not sure whether it's balancing out or what, compared to the ascension model that is so prevalent now.

 

Steph Nosco: (11:29)

Yeah. So, the ascension model is kind of like, if you meditate enough and if you're spiritual enough, you're going to kind of get to ... You're going to kind of bypass all of the shit. Or it's like, I'm going to be ... My life is going to be completely neutral and happy when I am up here. So, it's very much ... it's still existing in this good and bad dichotomy, versus embracing the paradox, you know?

 

Steph Nosco: (11:58)

I saw this thing on Instagram. I don't know if you saw my riff the other day on my feed. It was like one of the spiritual accounts I was following. And it was on the emotions and how the positive emotions have this line, right? This line above, below. And it was the positive emotions, like compassion, love, gratitude, all these things. And it's like ascension. And then below was like all the negative emotions. And then at the bottom, it said death. And it was very much like, we want this, and we don't want this, right?

 

Mason: (12:28)

That's the Abraham-Hicks model, I think, no? Don't-

 

Steph Nosco: (12:31)

It could have been. But it was-

 

Mason: (12:33)

And I'm going to retract, I don't know. For anyone that loves the Hick, do not come after me if that is wrong.

 

Steph Nosco: (12:40)

Yeah. Anyway, it was just this kind of meme or this image. And I thought, you know what? This is the problem with the ascension model is, it says anything that isn't good or anything that lives in the shadow, there's something wrong with that, and I need to bypass that somehow or I need to ... What's the word I'm looking for? Jump over it or ascend it or transcend it maybe. But what alchemy says, what this Daoist alchemy says is, that stuff, that lead is actually the gold. That is why we're here. Like, if we weren't meant to go through those difficulties, then we would just still be a spirit in the clouds, you know? It's those things that teach us, it's those things that season us. And so, that's what we're doing is, we're going down the mountain. We're bringing spirit right into those difficulties, right into the grit.

 

Mason: (13:33)

And so, when we go on this, we'll go on this journey down the mountain through the spirits. Although they're the same thing, technically they have different expressions.

 

Steph Nosco: (13:45)

Yes.

 

Mason: (13:46)

I'm imagining, you're going to kind of highlight and ... I don't know why I said the word ... Though the word showcase, it does not seem appropriate. But nonetheless, I'm going to say it.

 

Steph Nosco: (13:56)

Maybe.

 

Mason: (13:57)

Showcase.

 

Steph Nosco: (13:58)

I could get up and do a dance or something.

 

Mason: (13:59)

Yeah.

 

Steph Nosco: (14:00)

Yeah.

 

Mason: (14:00)

And over here we have Po. Po is going to be a beautiful spirit for you to get into the alchemy.

 

Steph Nosco: (14:06)

Yeah.

 

Mason: (14:08)

Are you going to kind of like just highlight for us and bring us into that feeling of how, through embracing these various parts ... And how would you suggest in the beginning for someone new relates to this? Are these various expressions of the spirit of ourselves, of our own organs? Is this a universal expression of a particular type of Chi that we can all relate to? How do you relate to these spirits?

 

Steph Nosco: (14:35)

Yeah, they're universal. They're definitely universal energies. And they're very personal. So, I would say that they're both. You know, everyone experiences Shen differently, everyone experiences Hun differently. And yet, everyone has it. So yeah, it's kind of both, I think. It's both personal and transpersonal.

 

Mason: (14:53)

And finally, can you just give a nice little ... Just bring to awareness for me what you see, again, the medicine being starting to acknowledge this horizontal element of the compass that is this spirit, versus just practising Chinese medicine on that horizontal plane?

 

Steph Nosco: (15:14)

Yeah. So, the way Lorie describes it, and the way my Qigong teacher describes it is, it helps to ground the changes, okay? So, we could go to acupuncture and have a treatment. And then, within three weeks, we're back in that usual pattern. And so, unless we alchemize, what I mean, unless we take the light of our awareness, which is our Shen, and we bring it down into those difficulties and transform them, that pattern is still going to be there, because remember Jing, Qi, and Shen. Shen is the mind and the mind influences everything. If we still have that same pattern in our mind, that same rift in our ... I don't want to say personality, but in our psyche, then that pattern is just going to keep coming. And so, especially things like with co-disturbances, like chronic pain, we got to do this Wu Shen work to ground change.

 

Steph Nosco: (16:11)

So, it's a transformation. It's not just about getting back to where we were before. That's really important. Yeah, it's not like I'm going to be healthy again. It's, I'm going to actually take this symptom and ask, what is my body trying to tell me? What is the wisdom in this? What is the lesson? What is the meaning?

 

Mason: (16:28)

It really starts dipping into like a way of maintaining flow. If you're looking from a Western sense, I always think it seems like it's getting deep into the emotions, it's getting deep into the psychology of who we are, but in a way that's approachable, a way that can be invited into the family, having some language around it, so we can kinetically get an understanding of what's happening for say ourselves, our wives, our husbands, our partners, our children, so that we can ground the healing and the expansive way of living into our home, bringing the medicine into our home, rather than just relying on an external institution to give it to us.

 

Steph Nosco: (17:16)

Yes, it's empowering, because once you start to know what's going on with your spirits, with your psyche, then you can say, "Maybe I can make that change." Or, "Maybe I need support right now." But there's that level of awareness.

 

Mason: (17:29)

So, for me, I can definitely ... I feel like I'm attracted to this and have talked about the fact that I like that this style of living is descending, especially when you've ... Especially I'm someone that's gone through, in the early days, through that new age community that comes with the implications. Perhaps it's good in short doses, I don't know. I definitely learnt a lot through it, you know? You need to aspire. Basically, you need to learn, you need to let go. And then, maybe you'll become pure enough. Maybe if you do all these things right, you can look through the eyes of God and be a good person. But until then, you keep practising , rather than easing back into the completeness and the wholeness in which you are.

 

Mason: (18:17)

So, for me, I'm going to take myself into that mentality of starting at the top of the mountain in my completeness. And then hand it over to you to take us on this journey.

 

Steph Nosco: (18:28)

Yeah, sure. Okay. I did write notes. So, just to keep me on track.

 

Mason: (18:34)

Beautiful. I love it. I just started standup comedy. And I had a phobia about-

 

Steph Nosco: (18:38)

That's awesome.

 

Mason: (18:39)

I was like, "I'm not ever allowed to write notes ever." And then I'm like, "You know what? I think it's not a bad thing to prepare. I think I should write some notes."

 

Steph Nosco: (18:48)

Yeah. I mean, there's just so much. Like, it's just, this information is just so rich. And yeah, I'm just really, really grateful for the elders that came before who mapped this out. It's just incredible. So yeah, definitely honouring those ancestors. Okay, so let's start at the top of the mountain. So, the Shen is the sun. The Shen is the light. So, we think of the Shen relates to the fire element. And this can be seen in the light in someone's eyes, okay?

 

Steph Nosco: (19:22)

So, it's said that the Shen comes in upon conception. And you can start to see it in the light in the baby's eyes or the smile in the baby, right? And so, I like to divide it. It's easier for me to understand the Shen when I divide it into two parts. So, the one Shen, which means, this is who we really are. This is our ultimate nature, awareness. And this is the part of us that's always going to be okay, even if we're not okay. This is the deathless aspect of our mind. And because it exists beyond time and space, it knows the truth at all times. So, that's the one thing about the Shen, it is the truth, the truth of who we are, okay?

 

Steph Nosco: (20:06)

But then we have what's called the Shen Zhi, what you were talking about earlier, which is like the rest of the spirits. So, it's the personality self. And the heart is like the capacity to be aware and to make contact with the truth, both personal truths, like our personality self, and ultimate truth. So, this is our willingness to hold both. And my teacher always says this to me, Sarah Powers, actually. She's like, "We have to have a willingness in our spiritual practise to wake up and grow up," you know? Both. And so, that's the Shen Zhi. That's the working with the Shen Zhi. It's the personality self. And then we have this like ultimate self, okay?

 

Steph Nosco: (20:51)

What else do I want to say about the Shen? So, the Shen gets disturbed when there's any kind of shock or trauma. So, when the heart is shocked with something, like say you just get in a car accident, what happens is, the Shen will actually leave the body, because it belongs to heaven. It takes any chance it gets to just kind of vacate. And so, when our Shen isn't in our body, we don't have access to truth and we can't really make decisions very well.

 

Steph Nosco: (21:19)

So, another example would be falling in love. When you fall in love, that also disturbs the Shen. And the Shen, the mind, the awareness will leave the body. And so, you often don't make the best decisions when you're in love. Or when you're over-excited. So, one of the-

 

Mason: (21:35)

That's probably the key distinction there.

 

Steph Nosco: (21:37)

Yeah. So, anyways. So, Shen disturbances will show up often if somebody is ... Kind of like they use inappropriate laughter. So, we can notice they're saying something really serious, but they're laughing. That can be an indication of a Shen disturbance. So, also this anxiety or being almost over-joyful would be like a Shen disturbance.

 

Steph Nosco: (22:06)

And another metaphor that I like to give is, it's kind of like, when our Shen is healthy, it's like looking into a clear pool of water, it reflects the truth. When we're really busy, when we're really agitated, it's like a wavy river or wavy pool and we can't see clearly. So, it's really important when we're working with the Shen, just giving ourselves basic space, you know? Like, spend time every day being quiet. And I think this is one of the problems in our modern life is that we aren't often quiet. We're constantly stimulated. And there's really not enough space for the Shen to reside. It's often out of our body.

 

Steph Nosco: (22:51)

Even when we close our eyes, the Shen will rest down into the heart. So, when we sleep, the Shen will go into the heart, but similarly when we meditate. So, when we meditate and close our eyes, it gets the Shen to actually drop down into the heart and for our energy to collect. So, something like a silent retreat, I used to lead them before COVID, I fricking love silent retreats. Even just taking an hour to not talk. Like, let things settle down. So, that's really the work of the Shen, because if we don't bring the Shen home, it's really hard to bring awareness into any of the other spirits.

 

Mason: (23:29)

Can I ask you there, with Shen, something I liked about your posts is, you've had the ... I'm always careful not to personify these energies and spirits too much, but also I love it.

 

Steph Nosco: (23:41)

Yeah, so do I. Yeah.

 

Mason: (23:44)

And for you, I mean, for me when I'm relating to the Shen is ... And I appreciate kind of the variation that you're bringing in terms of that personality element of the Shen, which is almost, if we see the Shen as the heart as the emperor and the other organs serving the emperor and feeding in various ways of thinking and being and different ways of virtuous nature and various emotions. We see a personality come and get delivered through the heart or through the Shen, however informed by the other organs and other energies. Is that fair to say?

 

Steph Nosco: (24:19)

Yep, totally, 100%. Yeah. And the heart knows what's going on, right? Through the blood because the blood pumps through. And it's always going through the heart. It's kind of like the heart talking ... It's exactly like you said with the emperor. It's like, "Oh yeah, that's going on there, okay." So, it's kind of ruling the show. So, if the emperor isn't home, there's a problem, right? So, it's about bringing it down. And the Shen is easily scared. So, whenever we're anxious, it's like the Shen isn't in the body. So, doing anything as far as practicality, give yourself space, find time to be quiet. And anything that brings you into your body. Like, even massaging your feet or even putting your hands on your body while you're meditating. Or even if you just need a five minute timeout, you know? That helps bring the Shen home.

 

Mason: (25:13)

How do you relate to, if there is a personification or story around your own Shen, I'm interested how you relate to that and feel that, kinetically feel that story unravelling for yourself with that Zhi?

 

Steph Nosco: (25:28)

Yeah, I often think of the Shen as like a bird that gets scared really easily. And so, I tend to have like, even right now on this podcast, like before this podcast, I was like, "Oh no, my Shen is out of my body. I need to calm down," which of course that internal dialogue made it worse. But yeah, I often think of this little bird that gets scared and it flies away. And then, when I sit down and I calm down and I breathe, it's like that little bird can come back into the best of the heart. And then there's just more awareness.

 

Mason: (26:03)

Naturally, I can feel, although we're going to go nice and deep on this podcast, as we go through all of these various elements of who we are and the major organs, I can see already in you describing that, the interplay between the various Zhi, between the various spirits, and the roles that they play and the way they interact. Could possibly derail us, I'm not going to. But I could just ... You know? You even start to talk, bring that bird storytelling, I'm like, "Oh, wow. And I can see." It's much easier for me to see now how various other spirits would be playing a role in supporting the heart and the Shen now in a story, rather than a theory.

 

Steph Nosco: (26:45)

Yep, 100%. 100%. Okay, can we move on now? Any more-

 

Mason: (26:50)

No. Yeah, of course.

 

Steph Nosco: (26:52)

Yeah, okay. I mean, like each one of these, you can do like ... Like, I did a Yin series on each one. And I was like, "It's not enough time." But it is good to kind of get an overview because they do interact with one another. So, the Hun, for example, is a messenger of the Shen, okay? So, if you think of the Shen like a light, now you're coming down the mountain into the mist and into the clouds at the very top of the mountain. So, now the Shen is starting to take form through dreams and visions. And that is really the role of the Hun as a messenger of the Shen. And these are what's called the upper spirits. They both relate to the blood. And they both inform any kind of messages from heaven, from I guess the [Yan 00:27:41] energy.

 

Steph Nosco: (27:42)

Let me just grab my notes here. So yeah, it's called the cloud soul and it goes up and down in our sleep. So, when we sleep, the Shen moves from the eyes into the heart. And the Hun will also be in the eyes when we're awake, because remember the Hun follows the Shen. So, when we're awake, that's where the Hun is at our eyes, because the Hun really wants to learn. Think about the Hun like wood element, it wants to grow, okay?

 

Steph Nosco: (28:13)

So, the Hun comes down and it learns. It learns, it plans, it formulates our dreams and visions. And it's not all that refined when it first comes into the body. So, for example, a baby can't really plan. Its visions aren't really formulated yet. But as we start to get older, this is the kind of thing that the Hun learns. And sorry, going back to the closing the eyes thing. When we close our eyes or sleep, the Shen will rest in the heart. But the Hun will actually rest in the liver. And that's how it digests our experience through dreaming. So, the Hun is also related to dreams.

 

Steph Nosco: (28:53)

Yeah, and so it's really hard to live out our Dao, right? So, Shen is like, "Okay, now I know what my Dao is, sort of. Or I have some kind of idea." It's this insight, this light. And it's hard to really live that out if we can't make a plan, okay? So, it starts to kind of manifest down at the Hun.

 

Mason: (29:17)

Right, so I mean, I saw you talk about that in terms of the heart, the Shen having ... It's like, "Oh, here's our values." And that was really useful for me as an interpretation.

 

Steph Nosco: (29:32)

Values is a really good word. This is what I value, this is my truth, right? And so, how do we live that? Well, we're going to need some kind of plan because we don't live in heaven, we live on this plane. And so there's this ... I mean the Hun does have density. But it's not very dense. It still comes and goes, it's still fairly fleeting if that makes sense. So, somebody with a Hun disturbance, they often lose hope, you know? Hope is a Hun thing, having hope for the future, seeing possibilities.

 

Steph Nosco: (30:10)

Some people who don't have or have a Hun disturbance can also be like wandering aimlessly through their life, kind of like, "Oh, I'll do this now. Oh, I'll do this now," but they can't really direct it. So, it's, let's have a plan, let's have a vision. Let's take this light and actually start to manifest it. But it's the first point of manifestation, right? And so, this is all about the Hun.

 

Steph Nosco: (30:34)

And then, some ways that we can work with the Hun, obviously dreamwork. Dreamwork is really great. Practising using your imagination. As a former Buddhist, I was like a strict Theravada Buddhist practitioner for many years. And I was like, "I'm not visualising anything." Like, just breathing or Dzogchen, you know? But this idea of practising , like let's go on a little journey here, like a guided visualisation journey. Anything to exercise the imagination is brilliant. And I think that this is one of the things that we've lost in our modern day is like, our imagination has been beaten out of us, you know? By the time we're in high school. So, visioning is really important, exercising your imagination. And then, also letting the sceptical part of you that's like, "Oh, that's not possible." Let that part kind of step back so that you can really let your imagination loose. And that will nourish your Hun as well.

 

Mason: (31:27)

That's a really, really important distinction. Like, I was just transported back to my university days and to my high school days. And I remember my first year of uni, where I could really feel it. Like, the final fatigue in having that imagination, that visioning, dreaming part of myself kind of like beaten out of me, within that context anyway. And it takes a long time to get that back. So, I mean, anything to be able to support that liver, wood energy, when you're going through that system, if you do find yourself dismayed around your lack of ability to be imaginative and dream anymore, that's huge.

 

Steph Nosco: (32:13)

Yeah, it is. And it's a practise. And I think people don't realise that. Like, I have so many students that come and say, "I can't visualise," or, "I can't. I'm not a visual person." Okay, neither was I, but you practise. And it becomes easier over time. And I mean, one of the things, I often relate the Hun, and I know some teachers don't. Some teachers relate compassion and loving kindness to the Shen spirit. But I actually really like it in the Hun. Like, I really feel compassion as a liver energy for me, because it's very active. And it's also like, when you do a loving kindness meditation, you're using your imagination. You're using the faculty of the Hun to imagine, how would I look and how would I be in that person's shoes? You know?

 

Steph Nosco: (32:58)

So, you're using that capacity to kind of take different perspectives. And being able to walk in another person's shoes or imagining what it would be like to be them is a large faculty, I think, of developing compassion and loving kindness. And so, that's also an aspect I feel of the Hun spirit. And that's just coming through my meditations, not necessarily maybe the classical way to describe it. Yeah.

 

Mason: (33:21)

Well, I mean, the classical way as well, I find the trump there is that, thankfully the classical texts have gone and systemized this especially so a Western civilization can interpret it, not that that was their intention.

 

Steph Nosco: (33:36)

Yep.

 

Mason: (33:36)

But if you go back to the nuance of the conversation, the organs are collaborating. There's no rule-

 

Steph Nosco: (33:45)

Totally.

 

Mason: (33:45)

You know? Like, I know you know this. But that was an important one for me to remember as well. Like, okay, hang on, courage. Courage comes from the ... That's right, it comes from the lung. But I also feel courage from the kidney. But that's wrong.

 

Steph Nosco: (33:56)

Courage comes from the ... Yeah, totally.

 

Mason: (33:58)

Like, that's wrong, isn't it? Because ...

 

Steph Nosco: (34:00)

Yeah, and actually, I was having this conversation about trust and faith, because I feel like trust is very much a Yi thing, but then some people think it's a kidney or a Zhi thing. So, it's like, but they're both, right? It's both. And anyway, so you're right. It kind of depends on which way you look at it. And it can be an open conversation, rather than a, this is right and that's wrong.

 

Mason: (34:21)

And again, it's like a village, you know? I know it's like a civilization in the way that it's described a lot of the time, the emperor of the heart and the general of the liver, you know? Like, we don't need to use that language necessarily. It can be a village on more of a small scale. It's always going to be a collaboration. The leader of the tribe isn't solely taking responsibility for feelings of infinite love and generosity for everyone.

 

Steph Nosco: (34:49)

That's right.

 

Mason: (34:50)

That's completely attributed to the whole tribe working together.

 

Steph Nosco: (34:53)

Totally, totally. Yeah. Yeah, so that's kind of the Han. Can I move on? Or do you have any more questions about the Han? Or comments?

 

Mason: (35:05)

Well yeah, I do have comments. I try and shut myself up sometimes.

 

Steph Nosco: (35:11)

No, I'm curious. I would love to be in dialogue. I mean, yeah. I'd love to know.

 

Mason: (35:14)

Just going along, it's interesting ... We talk about ... We talk, have the spirit and this awareness of the spirit of the various organs, so that if the liver wood ... The way you understand it, if our liver wood is flowing and transforming between its expression of Yin Yang Qi, then we see a healthy ... Basically a healthy spirit, a healthy expression, a healthy personality, a healthy function of the Hun. If we see a disturbance of that wood Qi, then we start seeing ... That's where personification or bringing it into more of an animalistic metaphor, we can start seeing that an aggravation can come about and a frustration can come about from the Hun.

 

Mason: (36:04)

If you have this very tactile, spirit based way of approaching it, then you can go, "All right, let's just see in the beginning how I can remedy this first of all." There's certain practises, a Yin Yoga, a Yin Yoga sequence, working with that liver meridian, perhaps some foods or herbs that are friendly. And so, is this the way that you relate to keeping us along? Or how do you relate to that healing element?

 

Steph Nosco: (36:32)

Yeah, definitely. I would say, again, like you were saying before, it's all in conversation, right? Because it's not like, okay, if I'm dealing with liver stuff, I don't just do liver because I know that water nourishes wood. So, if I'm feeling like a wood element thing, where I don't have any dreams and visions, then maybe I actually need to nourish ... Like, I need to be more in that dreamy space of water.

 

Steph Nosco: (36:55)

So, yes and no, I would say. Like, they all work in harmony. But definitely I would use practises like Qigong and Yin to like ... Maybe with more of a focus on liver stuff to work with the Hun. But then also we have to remember, it's like the things that we do every day. Like the little things that we do every day. I'm going to get into the Yi in a moment. But something that my partner does all the time is he just stands up in the kitchen and just eats food. And he's just like not even ... And I'm like, "It's not good for your Yi." Like, it's just little things like that, that can really help us along. Not giving yourself enough time to sleep. Like the ending, like the morning when we're dreaming, because that's when we vent, right? That's when we vent our emotions. Like, giving yourself enough time to sleep, that's going to make a big difference in the Hun spirit.

 

Steph Nosco: (37:47)

Even just enjoying beauty. Not giving yourself enough time to enjoy beauty. Go outside, look at things that are beautiful. The Hun loves beauty. So yeah, and even just especially the colour green. Like, get out in nature, breathe that in. And people don't think of that as a medicine, right? But it is. It's these little things. It's the little things that we do every day, our habits.

 

Mason: (38:13)

Beautiful. All right, Spleen.

 

Steph Nosco: (38:15)

Also one more thing I want to say about the Hun is that it can also show up, like we often think about the liver in anger. But it actually shows up in this context more in depression, which is something that I just kind of was really learning this year was that, again, if we don't have hope, if we can't dream of a future, there's this sense of, "Okay, well then what's the point?" So, that can also be a sign of a Hun disturbance.

 

Mason: (38:43)

I mean, just again, you feel the tactile nature of this alive way of seeing the body, rather than just a cog, you know? Bunch of cogs in a machine. You can see, there's depression, we can look at it as a whole as something that is emerging. We can go and look at the nuance of depression emerging from, it's got this kind of feeling to it, or maybe emerging from this kind of style of stagnation. Like, just different roads, I guess, to Rome, and getting back to the core issue, but not just going, "Bang, depression, that's diagnosed."

 

Steph Nosco: (39:15)

Totally. And I think one more thing I want to say, coming back to your point and our point earlier, we were talking about empowerment, is these things again can't be measured or seen. It's not like you're going to go to one magical Chinese doctor and they're going to be like, "You have depression because of a Hun imbalance." It's more about self-reflection, feeling into your patterns, feeling into your spirit, right? It's very much this kind of inner reflection, learning this information, feeling it in your body, sitting with metaphor and story, working with your dreams. And then, "Maybe something's going on with the Hun." Do you see what I mean? So, it's less of this diagnosis where we're putting ourselves in this box and we're handing our power over to someone else to tell us what's wrong with us.

 

Mason: (39:57)

Decentralised healing.

 

Steph Nosco: (39:59)

Exactly. Yeah. Okay. Shall we continue? Okay. So, we come down from the clouds. And now we're on earth. So, we were on the earth plane. And we are now at the centre, which is the Yi spirit. So, Yi is translated as intention or clear thought. So, this is now where the dreams and visions start to manifest. They start to manifest as what? As our specific intentions to do something. But it's not only the intention, it's the follow through. So, I often like to think, since we're doing story and metaphor, I often like to think of the Yi as a humble farmer, because a lot of the descriptions of the points in the body in the other organs are described as like the palace gate and the 10,000 halls or whatever. But the Yi is described as living in a hut.

 

Steph Nosco: (40:57)

And so, the Yi is like this little farmer who is like, "Okay, now I'm going to take the light of the Shen and the dreams and visions from the liver and I'm going to do something with it." So, this is the part of us that's showing up every day and getting our hands dirty. So, it's the ... And I also like to think of the Yi spirit, not only as intention, but as devotion and constancy. So, let's just give an example of, say you wanted to start a Qigong practise or a yoga practise. And you have this insight that this is my path, I'm going to start. You get these dreams and visions. Okay, I'm going to do it Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday at this studio.

 

Steph Nosco: (41:38)

Okay, so you have the dreams and visions. And then the Yi says, "Okay, now I'm going to set my alarm and actually going to go do it. I'm actually going to follow through on it day in and day out."

 

Mason: (41:50)

No wonder my acupuncturist tells me I constantly have a spleen deficiency.

 

Steph Nosco: (41:55)

Yeah. So, one of the things that tends to happen is, the classic disturbance is this rumination of thought. So, it's the thought that goes round and round and round and round without follow through, right? And so, then it's just stuck there. And it causes all kinds of ... Like, the knotting of the Qi and all of the things that ... And there's this feeling of like, I'm stuck, I doubt myself. Is this even good? It's just this sense of being frozen.

 

Mason: (42:24)

Get out of my body, you shaman witch.

 

Steph Nosco: (42:26)

Yeah. So, one of the things I-

 

Mason: (42:30)

I said witch, by the way everybody, with a W.

 

Steph Nosco: (42:36)

Okay, with a W. Yeah. And I think for a lot of people, this is where the work happens. This is where the rubber meets the road, you know? We can have all of these ideas, but unless we're going to actually do them, it just won't happen. And I think part of the problem is, to come back to this Yi metaphor, the Yi relating to the stomach and spleen organ, which is about digestion. So, sometimes we literally bite off more than we can chew. We have this grand idea. Okay, I'm going to do this now. I'm a wood type, so I have a lot of ideas. And then it just stays. All the ideas just stay, but there's no connection to the lower spirits, right?

 

Steph Nosco: (43:14)

And so, one of the things I always suggest to people and my students is, take small bites. So, things like, okay, I want to start this podcast, or I want to lead this yoga retreat, or whatever it is. Maybe you make the phone call to rent the space. You know? Like, one thing. Write it down, do it, check it off a list. And take a moment to feel grateful. So, bask in that. Bask in your accomplishment of doing something. That really helps the Yi, because the Yi is also about nourishment. So, if we're spinning round and round and round and not actually following through on our dreams and aspirations, we don't feel nourished by life. So, even if it's that one little thing that you can check off on your to-do list, it really helps the Yi spirit. If you say you're going to do something and you don't do it, that creates that imbalance. So, it's better just not to say that you're going to do it.

 

Mason: (44:12)

Huge. Yeah. I'm having a really big moment.

 

Steph Nosco: (44:16)

Okay. I can see the gears turning a little bit. Yeah.

 

Mason: (44:20)

Well, I feel, again, I have known this about myself theoretically. I've talked about it in therapy. And of course, bringing the real ... The storytelling and bringing it to live and animating it, it brings me into the reality of feeling actually what's going on. And it's always these moments when rubber does hit the road and distinction becomes something that I can embody as a knowing of myself and start possibly offering respect to that element of myself that can't digest these huge ideas that I just throw down, you know? Down the oesophagus and into the stomach.

 

Steph Nosco: (45:05)

Right. Right.

 

Mason: (45:06)

Yeah, it's a really beautiful ... It's a really transformational and practical way of having actual perception occur of who you are.

 

Steph Nosco: (45:21)

Yeah. Yeah. And I've often, when I teach programmes, it's often like, "Oh, that's me." Or, "I have that one." Or one girl in my last training was like, "I think all of them are out of balance." And she was freaking out. I was like, "Don't worry about it. It's fine." It's like, we start where we are, right? And we just ... Yeah, again, compassion. Compassion for where we are and we just start where we are.

 

Mason: (45:43)

Yeah, it's also nice starting at the place where you don't have to do a lot. And you talk about devotion. And it's nice having devotion for something that isn't aspiring to be given something by some entity, you know? That's going to ... Or given something by some ... I don't know, beam of light or whatever it is that you ... Yeah, it's different ... It's a very different energy.

 

Steph Nosco: (46:06)

Yeah. And I think that some people think of devotion as like singing to a goddess, which it can be. Like, I do. I have a Guan Yin Dharma practise and I love singing to Guan Yin. So, it can be that. And singing is really good for the Yi, like physically singing. The character for the Yi is the symbol for the heart. And then on top, the Chinese character for a music note. So, this idea that we're singing our heart's song. We're singing our life into being. But again, we're not just singing one time, we're singing constantly. It's like in that constant.

 

Steph Nosco: (46:38)

But you don't have to be devoted to a deity. You could be devoted to ... Like, for me, one of my friends, because I was really wanting to get this information out there, and I was struggling. And she's like, "Think of your Instagram posts or your media posts," because of COVID, everything's locked down. Like, I need to teach. She's like, "Think of it like devotion. This is your devotion practise. Like, you post. You don't post for yourself. You post for other people. But it could be anything. It could be your garden. It could be your work or whatever. It doesn't have to be ..." Your relationship, that's also devotion. So yeah.

 

Mason: (47:10)

Beautiful.

 

Steph Nosco: (47:11)

One thing I will say, one more thing about the Yi spirit that's important to mention is it can often show up as an imbalance as excess sympathy. And so, this is when someone isn't quite ready to take responsibility for their own life and starts to help someone else. So, they're taking a bunch of actions for someone else's life, rather than their own. So, an important thing when working with the Yi spirit, taking bite sized chunks of tasks, but then also saying no to other people is really important for the Yi spirit.

 

Mason: (47:45)

I mean, one thing I love and have a soft spot for is the activist community. And there's a part of myself that loves being expressed within activism. I do not choose to be identified completely in that realm. But just that advice that you just gave, whether it's maybe a practitioner, maybe an activist, someone who's just going out and fighting for the earth.

 

Steph Nosco: (48:12)

Right.

 

Mason: (48:12)

I feel like that distinction's just very important.

 

Steph Nosco: (48:14)

Right.

 

Mason: (48:14)

Don't need to go much further down there. But if you want to, go for it. But yeah, just wanted to point that out.

 

Steph Nosco: (48:19)

And I think that if that's somebody's Dao, then it's good, because this is the thing is, we can't say that ... Like, if that is their life, if that's what the heart is saying is true, then it's true. If that's not what your heart is saying is true, then it's not true. And this is something we'll get through when we get to the Zhi, if we ever get there. Is-

 

Mason: (48:40)

Another hour, let's see. Fingers crossed.

 

Steph Nosco: (48:41)

Yeah. But the Zhi, again when we're doing work that's in alignment with our purpose, it actually is energy giving, right? So, it's just kind of something to note. Okay, let's move on.

 

Mason: (48:54)

Let's.

 

Steph Nosco: (48:55)

Okay, so now we're going into the lower spirits. So, the Yi is actually not an upper spirit and it's not a lower spirit, it's at the centre, okay? So, we have upper spirits, Shen and Han. We have the Yi in the centre. And then we have the lower spirits, which are the Po and the Zhi. And these relate to our body. So, we say ... Sorry, not our body, related to the earth. So, they belong to earth. Upper spirits belong to heaven, the lower spirits belong to the earth.

 

Steph Nosco: (49:19)

So, the Po is our animal spirit. So, it's, like I was saying, the Hun learns. The Po doesn't learn, it knows what to do. The baby is born, it takes its first breath. We don't teach a baby how to breathe, it just breathes, okay? So, this is what the Po does for us day in and day out, it keeps us alive. It's our automatic processes. But it does learn through trauma. So, when the body goes through some sort of trauma, the Po spirit will hold onto that as a semantic memory. And so, this is where our demons live, this is where the shadow lives. And this is what happens. So, we have the vision of the Hun and the Shen. And we have our intention. And we're like, "Yeah, I'm going to get up to go to that yoga class." And then the Po spirit comes in.

 

Steph Nosco: (50:07)

Then the lower spirit says, "Oh, but you should just sleep. Oh, but X, Y, Z." And this is often these unconscious forces that get in the way of living out our highest intention. So, this is where we get into the downward descent. It is our job to take the higher spirits and witness. This is why we go to therapy, it's because we have to witness these kinds of patterns that have been inlaid into our soma.

 

Steph Nosco: (50:41)

So, chronic pain is like a classic Po disturbance, having kind of a chronic issue, chronic pain. And then, any kind of rigid thinking, this inability to let go, the inability to change, right? If you think about the Po spirit relating to metal element, relating to the season of fall, it's all about death. It's about letting transformation happen, transformation occurring. And so, people who have this Po disturbance, it's really hard to move forward. There's this big resistance to change.

 

Mason: (51:12)

Quick question.

 

Steph Nosco: (51:14)

Yeah, so this is really ... Like, when I say the Yi is where the rubber hits the road, kind of. But it's actually when we start to interact with the Po, because it takes a lot of intention to bring the light of the Hun and the Shen down to meet the Po. So, the problem, this is where oftentimes our spiritual practise stops because it's all rainbows and butterflies until we meet our shadow. And then we tend to just abandon ourselves. We abandon our anger, we abandon our anxiety, we abandon blah, blah, blah.

 

Mason: (51:46)

Could you clarify soma quickly?

 

Steph Nosco: (51:48)

Yeah, so the soma, the body. So, all sensations, any time you feel something, that's Po spirit. And someone with some kind of extreme Po disturbance might not be able to even feel their hand. They'll have complete dissociation, or opposite, too much pain. So, too much sensation, not enough sensation. And again, it's not like if you get in a car accident and you have a broken leg, yes you're going to feel pain, but that's not really Po disturbance. The Po disturbance I'm talking about is this kind of chronic pain that tends to show up that's unexplainable.

 

Mason: (52:26)

Unexplainable, right. I was going to ask. And is that simply there from the rigidity, due to our lack of ability to go into the shadow, fear, grief.

 

Steph Nosco: (52:37)

Yes.

 

Mason: (52:38)

Fear of death, whatever it is, and actually bring it.

 

Steph Nosco: (52:41)

Yeah, so Lorie talks about it being like it starts to sink. So, the Po spirit starts to drop down and kind of harden. But it's the upper spirits that will kind of elevate it and keep it from that entropy. I guess we could call it entropy.

 

Mason: (52:57)

Huge. No wonder the association of transformation is like all ... I know alchemy and alchemist is kind of always what I think of when I think of that part of myself. It's like a warrior alchemist.

 

Steph Nosco: (53:07)

Yeah. And kind of you have to be. I mean, and a compassionate one too. I keep on saying this word compassion. But it's like, we need it. And that's why we want the Hun and the Po to exist together, right? The Han is going to come down and support the Po. And the Po will inform the Han and all that. But let's not get into that because we got to make our way down the mountain.

 

Steph Nosco: (53:28)

But just really quick, just some ways that we can start working with the Po, breath work. So, this is the thing is that, yes, the lungs give us our demons or provide us with these shadows. But they also provide the exact thing that we need to kind of work through those shadows. So, breath work is incredible, absolutely incredible. Cold therapy, super good. Movement, any kind of somatic psychotherapy. I've been really into internal family systems therapy recently.

 

Mason: (54:00)

Huge, yeah. Great.

 

Steph Nosco: (54:04)

Yeah, so then being with your emotions. Like, just being with them. Like, rather than saying, classic spiritual bypass, "I'm angry, that's not good." We say, "What is my anger here to tell me?" Right? Way different. Right.

 

Mason: (54:23)

I guess the metal there. I mean, we talked about that descending, packing in, getting hard. I think about a calcification, I think about all of a sudden a metal element that's not pliable at all, that just becomes like super rigid as this shield.

 

Steph Nosco: (54:37)

Yes, inflexibility. And Lorie even says, things like unexplained lumps and bumps, like benin tumours and stuff, that's all Po stuff. Yeah, it's interesting.

 

Mason: (54:50)

Yeah.

 

Steph Nosco: (54:51)

Okay. Any questions on the Po?

 

Mason: (54:55)

So many. Let's move on.

 

Steph Nosco: (54:57)

Okay. So many. Maybe another time. Okay, then we get to the Zhi. So, the Zhi is at the bottom of the mountain. We are now below, deep into the caves. And the Zhi relates to the water elements. And it's all about our power. So, this is where our energy comes from. And it's about our aligned will or our willpower. Zhi means will. Now there's a difference between having the ego's will and working with the aligned will. So, ego's will would be like, "I want to make a million bucks just because." Okay? So, that's going to take a lot of energy because again, we're going against the stream. Maybe not, if our purpose in life is to make a million dollars, then maybe. But if we're going against the stream of our purpose, which is called ... Well, I'll just go into this now because I find it super interesting. Have you ever heard of a [Ming Man 00:55:56]?

 

Mason: (55:57)

Yeah.

 

Steph Nosco: (55:57)

Yeah, so the Ming Man, it's said that our destiny, which is like our soul's purpose, comes into the body and it's stored in the Ming Man, which is the space just right in between the kidneys on GV4.

 

Mason: (56:10)

The gate of life, right?

 

Steph Nosco: (56:12)

Yeah. Yeah. And so, it's said that there is this knowledge of why we're really here. But it's completely unconscious. Remember, lower spirits are the subconscious mind. So, when we start to work down the mountain, there's this deep listening that happens when we work through the Po spirit, when we bring the light of heaven down, there's this deep listening that starts to happen. And we start to actually touch this lower light, which is like why we're really here.

 

Steph Nosco: (56:44)

And once we align ourselves with why we're really here, it's effortless. We're in that Wu Wei, we're in that flow of our life. And it's like, we don't ... And this is really important, we don't have a choice. It's not like I decide what I'm going to do. It's like, "No, no, no. I'm listening. What is the earth telling me to do?" This is a very different thing, because in our Western analytical mind, we want to control and joystick our way through life. But it's not like that.

 

Steph Nosco: (57:17)

One of the things with Po is that we start to surrender to the mystery. And when we surrender to the mystery, we have this deep listening. And then it's like, that's what I need to do and there's no choice. It will take so much energy not to do that thing once you hear that call. And then there's this wellspring of energy and longevity that starts to arise from these kind of deeper waters.

 

Steph Nosco: (57:41)

So, again, what's interesting is again that paradox is, yes there's the light from heaven, but there's also this light from below. But we can't access that light from below unless we're willing to go down. Yeah.

 

Mason: (57:52)

Beautiful.

 

Steph Nosco: (57:59)

Yeah, so I guess that's all I have to say about the Zhi, other than if we have an imbalance, there's this forgetfulness, lack of will, wanting to cut corners in our life, kind of like a con artist would be like a Zhi disturbance. And then there's tumidity and addictions, sex addiction, being addicted to things like that. And yeah. Made it.

 

Mason: (58:22)

That external ... Like, that ... There's something beautiful, just bringing up that ... And again, the Zhi describing the spirit of all of the organs, while also Zhi being used as the name for the spirit, the will expressed for the kidneys, a little distinction there, just in case, I remember [crosstalk 00:58:41].

 

Steph Nosco: (58:40)

Yeah, I know, it's confusing because you've got the Shen Zhi, and then the Zhi itself, which is like the Zhi. I know. It's really ... It's really confusing. One more thing I want to say about the Zhi is, that's where wisdom is. So again, this is kind of the problem I find with these ascension traditions. If we aren't willing to go into the mud and to do our work and to go through that fire of transformation, wisdom and knowledge are two very different things. Wisdom arises, right? True creativity, true inspiration, our true work arises from the light of that deep listening.

 

Mason: (59:22)

Thank you very much for taking us down the mountain.

 

Steph Nosco: (59:24)

Yeah, you're welcome.

 

Mason: (59:25)

That was really beautiful.

 

Steph Nosco: (59:26)

It was a long journey.

 

Mason: (59:28)

Not really, put so succinctly. And I mean, delivered with ... Again, the storytelling is something I feel Western thinking and science has been trying to belittle and just rub on the top of the head of animism and these stories and scrub, "Oh, how naïve," you know? "Oh, off you pop."

 

Steph Nosco: (59:51)

Yeah, "Oh, that's cute."

 

Mason: (59:52)

"That's very cute of you. Off you go. Leave it to the big boys and girls though to actually do the real healing." Whereas, going just very simply telling the story and taking us through that journey like that, all of a sudden, it gives me this invisible access once again of accessibility, decentralised, non-theoretical. It gives me an ease that I don't have all this stuff to remember. And if I don't remember, I'm bad and naughty. It's just a terrain in order to explore. I really appreciate the way you did it.

 

Steph Nosco: (01:00:26)

Yeah. Well, thank you for listening. It's such a pleasure to talk about quite an obscure topic that does take time to explain. So yeah, I really appreciate having the platform to share.

 

Mason: (01:00:40)

Just quickly, through bringing this in, you know? Like, we love Sarah Power. Again, Tahnee's studied with her. I've had her. I think I was a Yin yoga teacher in another life before I started SuperFeast. And had her books. But through the Yin yoga, through bringing it into the teaching, what have you seen as being ... And maybe not obvious ones, but major benefits to yourself, students, maybe just people in their everyday life who are turning into your Instagram? Like, what has been the main benefit of engaging with this way, this medicine?

 

Steph Nosco: (01:01:21)

Yeah. That's a really great question. One of the biggest things I've seen, and this happens to me a lot is people will change, often, not always. But there's many people who change the entire course of their life, because again, when we work our way down the mountain, any kind of life misalignments that are highlighted are brought to the surface. And so, I just had a girl the other day saying, "Hey, I'm leaving my job to go to acupuncture school." Or, "I've signed up ..." This often happens, "I've signed up for X, Y, Z course. I'm now ..." Or, "I've divorced my partner." That's happened to me too.

 

Steph Nosco: (01:01:56)

So, it's like these things where it's like, okay, I see it, and I can't not see it. And I have to take action. And then, after that change happens, this girl's like, "Oh, my frozen shoulder is gone. That's weird." Or, "My irritable bowel syndrome is gone. That's weird." So, it's that, as we start to make those life alignments or those life changes, as we start to live out our Dao, it just flows, health flows, right?

 

Steph Nosco: (01:02:24)

And so, yeah, that's one of those things, if people come to by Yin yoga teacher training, they're like, "Oh, I'm going to be a great Yin teacher." And sometimes they are. But sometimes they change the whole course of their direction of where they're going in their life. And that's what matters, right? I mean, I want people to be good teachers. But really, we're practising Yin yoga as a tool to be better people.

 

Mason: (01:02:45)

That's really beautiful, especially the way you're teaching it. You can't just go and live this on the surface. This needs to be embodied if you're going to be an effective teacher or human.

 

Steph Nosco: (01:03:01)

Yeah. And I mean, my Yin classes, I tell stories. Like, I tell tonnes of stories, like very intricate stories, metaphor. And so, what I do is, I get people to come to my class and then I give them a practise. Okay, so this week, you're working on X, Y, Z. Like, I don't teach drop-in classes anymore, just registered programmes and series because I want this information to land and then actually be integrated. And so, that's kind of where I'm going right now in my work.

 

Mason: (01:03:31)

So good. Your work is amazing. In the nature-

 

Steph Nosco: (01:03:34)

Thank you.

 

Mason: (01:03:35)

Yeah, no, absolute pleasure. In the nature of the Yi, the spleen, let's let everyone digest what's been-

 

Steph Nosco: (01:03:48)

Yeah, totally. Totally.

 

Mason: (01:03:50)

What's been delivered today. Do you have a website as well? Or is it mainly through your Instagram?

 

Steph Nosco: (01:03:55)

Yeah. I have ... My website, it's noscoyoga.com. And I just recently started a Mighty Networks community page, and it's free to sign up. And I have one free class on there right now. And I'm going to have another Qigong couple of free classes, so you can check out the community. And then, my registered programmes are all on there as well.

 

Mason: (01:04:15)

Beautiful. What a great resource.

 

Steph Nosco: (01:04:17)

Yeah. Yeah.

 

Mason: (01:04:18)

Definitely encourage everyone to check it out. Go get some Yin yoga going on, some medicinal Qigong going on. Beautiful, beautiful place to deepen your studies. But as I've been saying, whether it's your website, but also your Instagram is just a really great place to further get in touch very kind of simply. But you go deep on your posts as well to these Zhi. And yeah, definitely encourage everyone to check it out. And hopefully we can tune in again on the podcast. I think it would be great to do some lives as well.

 

Steph Nosco: (01:04:50)

Yeah, I feel like we have so much to talk about.

 

Mason: (01:04:53)

Yeah, I think so too. And thankfully there's a lot to talk about, because-

 

Steph Nosco: (01:04:58)

Yeah.

 

Mason: (01:05:00)

... It shows that there is something being accessed in the gate of life right now in the [inaudible 01:05:08], that feels effortless. And hopefully we can bring back some life to this mountain over in the west of China as we go along and be healed. Perhaps there's a lot of healing and a lot of rest. I was thinking about, you brought that up and I go, wow, that's the animism, somewhat being removed, you know? The spiritual reality being removed from our world. And I was thinking about that this morning. And I was also thinking about, have you read Jitterbug Perfume?

 

Steph Nosco: (01:05:41)

No.

 

Mason: (01:05:42)

Beautiful book.

 

Steph Nosco: (01:05:47)

I'll read it.

 

Mason: (01:05:47)

The author's eluding me. And everyone's going to be ... There's going to be a few people. Tom Robbins. There's going to be a few people listening to this going, "Tom Robbins. How dare you forget the master?" But I won't talk about it too much. But there is a great story there as what happens as the earth spirits begin to diminish. And I'll just ... I'll leave it there. But it brings some really great insights into what we're talking about here in this beautiful-

 

Steph Nosco: (01:06:22)

Yeah.

 

Mason: (01:06:22)

Yeah, this beautiful battle between full reductionism analysis and then the capacity to feel the aliveness of everything around you.

 

Steph Nosco: (01:06:31)

Right.

 

Mason: (01:06:32)

Yeah.

 

Steph Nosco: (01:06:32)

And one more thing I want to say that I forgot to say about the Zhi and it relates to this conversation in the Kumoon Mountain, is that as we plant our seeds where the rubber meets the road, as we do our work, there's this element of faith. And I don't ... I talk about faith a lot and people kind of roll their eyes. And it's not this blind faith. But it's this faith that if we keep planting the seeds, we keep showing up, if we keep having this devotion, there's this sense of faith in the mystery. And we don't know if there's going to be a change. Maybe there won't be, maybe there will, but we do it anyway. And this is really ... Yeah, faith is really important as we continue along this crazy journey.

 

Mason: (01:07:15)

Beautiful. Thank you so much for coming and sharing your faith with us.

 

Steph Nosco: (01:07:20)

Yeah, you're welcome.

 

Mason: (01:07:21)

And I'm really looking forward to tuning in again. I'm going to recommend everyone to go and check out your work. Have a beautiful evening.

 

Steph Nosco: (01:07:27)

Thanks, you too.

Alexandra Anttilla
Alexandra Anttilla

Alexandra is our SuperFeast podcast queen, making the magic happen behind the scenes in production. An ethereal creature, talented wordsmith and absolutely exquisite human, Alex is privy to the unseen, unheard and unfelt subtitles that swirl around us. A dreamer, creative, entrepreneur and baby mumma to the beautiful Zella, Alexandra carries a depth of presence and a wisdom beyond words. Alexandra holds a special place in the hearts of many, her gentle, yet soulful words offering nourishment and insight to our SuperFeast community as she shares them weekly in the SuperFeast podcast blog and newsletter.



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