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FIRE ELEMENT-THE HEART


We are wrapping up our Spring Curriculum of Meditative Exercise. In June we begin slowly transitioning to the Heart, the Fire Element. Summer shifts our environment into full bloom and eventually maximal heat-stress. Within our body and mind we must meet the evolving demands. This requires more from our hearts than the other organs in our bodies. Heat, perspiration, a major function of the heart and one which reveals dysfunction. In addition to the familiar concerns of vascular disease and rhythm problems, night sweats, inability to perspire and cold or sweaty palms and feet are within the province of the heart in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).


While preparing for the stresses of Summer we address the transition between seasons. Each season has an unstable interval between the apogees of the seasons. These transitions destabilize our stomach and spleen-pancreas. In TCM this is the Earth Element. Between each season we will cushion the transition with some Meditative Exercise centered on stomach.



Updated: Apr 18


The spirit of spring is renewal. It is the Wood Phase of the 5-Element theory of traditional Chinese philosophy. This is the natural time for cleansing and reassessment in the light of life reasserting itself around us. The principles of our practice in spring involves dredging, draining and cooling to combat stagnation of our energy. Stagnation leads to heat in the acupuncture channels. It is the time to be aware of the liver and gall bladder and their relationship to the heart, kidney, stomach, and spleen/pancreas. Developing, refining and balancing the Wood Phase energy involves taking care of the liver, gall bladder, and the tendons and eyes upon whose health they depend.

The liver is many things, from the sea of emotions to the gatekeeper and reservoir of blood. It moves our energy. When obstructed we feel tight. The gall bladder is an important organ. It ‘decides’ where the blood is distributed and filters the outside world to our internal experience. Work in this way to secure physical health. Then your focus can shift to the spiritual dimension, renewal.


TOOLS FOR SPRING



MASTERY OF THE WOOD PHASE



A SENSE OF RENEWAL

The answer is in your hand! Palms down, connect to the earth. Earth has the qualities of greatness and compassion, nurturing all things without thought of reward. Now imagine you are holding a balls of light. Turn your palms heavenward and connect to the sun, moon and stars. This imagery is very powerful. Use the mind to exercise the body and energetic conduits. “Squeeze” earth and then heaven, coordinating with your breathing. Inhale, squeeze and hold. Exhale and relax. Finish by bathing in imagery of green light. A sense of renewal will be yours. You are undertaking a great journey of self-exploration. As your sensitivity increases you will first learn to avoid trouble, later turning weaknesses into strengths.


BE PATIENT WITH YOURSELF

We spend most of lives bouncing from one thing to the next. For this activity we must take a different tack. As with learning any complex task we slow down, generating space to learn.


Multitasking gives way to cultivation of singular focus. This alone provides the rich rewards of changing bodies, minds and the way others perceive you. You will appreciate Meditative Exercise as the highlight of your day. In stillness we can gain control of how we feel, rejuvenate, recover and gain insight. With perseverance we can become balanced, centered, and stronger, as well as more compassionate and inclusive. Insight and clarity naturally follow. The slow way IS the fast way, in learning to take care of oneself or others.






Something that comes up on a regular basis is whether to participate in class if you are injured or sick. According to the masters there is no more important time to practice. They say that the best medicine is that within our own bodies. These medicines are called jing, qi and shen. They represent different frequencies of our human energy spectrum.


Jing is considered our essence, closest to the physical and resides or emanates from our pelvis. Jung is closely associated with our kidneys and inherited energy from our parents. When activated, our jing manifests heat. In the internal martial arts, it feels like a spring when touched. The process of personal evolutionary change is initiated by the heat of activated essence.


Our qi is the vital energy emanating from our chest that vibrates at a higher frequency than jing. It manifests as movement and force when activated. In the martial arts, it feels like a concealed force moves you when you touch your opponent. The higher frequencies are also involved in the awareness that predicts the opponent’s movement and knows aspects of your life and medical problems without asking. Qi provides a mechanism for intuitive diagnosis. Those with knowledge and ability working with qi can effect great change in their lives, and the lives of others.


Shen is the highest frequency of human energy. It emanates from the head and is associated with our spirit. As our vision becomes more sensitive, we can see this energy as a halo around the head. Look at religious paintings from the renaissance. The Christ and apostles are represented with golden light around their heads. First, we feel something like this in ourselves. Activation of our shen coordinates our body with our brain. When we experience movement and touch of one using this frequency it is completely mysterious. There is no way to trace the path or origin of the forces. Moving from spirit it is painless, effortless, precise, and powerful.


We all experience moments of clarity, ability and skill that transcend our usual performance. At these times, we encounter what the Chinese call the Three Treasures of Man. Knowledge of their framework for these phenomena is at once very interesting and very helpful. Let us explore these human potentialities together.