I mentioned in my earlier post “An Introduction to Traditional Chinese Medicine” that I have created a Reiki healing system based on working with the “Five Elements” of Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). In a series of articles I’m going to be talking about different aspects of the Five Elements and how they impinge on people’s lives: how imbalances in the five elements can show themselves as physical conditions and particular emotions and states of mind.
I have written about how the elements support and control each other through the nourishment and control cycles, I’ve spoken about the meridians and body organs that relate to each element, and outlined the main emotions that derive from Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water.
Today we are going to focus in more detail on the emotion of Earth…
Earth expresses itself through compassion, recognition, sympathy and a feeling of love and unity with one’s environment, through a basic feeling that one is welcome and at home where one is at that moment. There is a self-assurance that does not need to be proven, an inner security and calmness.
So people with a deficiency in Earth feel insecure, sometimes begging for attention and affection. Beneath this behaviour lies the belief that warmth and affection could be taken away or denied. Childhood experiences can lead to this belief becoming established in a person. In fact, the search for missing security is the driving force and main occupation of people with a ‘weak’ Earth. They look for this security in eating or smoking, they might be overly affectionate – grasping for love – and constantly looking for the security of motherly love in their relationships. They can hide their fear of abandonment behind a romantic ideal of love and partnership.
The basic emotion of Earth is sympathy or compassion, so an imbalance in Earth can show itself in a person who lacks compassion, or who does not seem to enter into relationships with others. The affairs of others do not seem to touch them very much, and a critical stance towards others can go hand in hand with this, with harsh judgements and low tolerance masking an underlying insecurity. Voicing criticisms helps to build up the person’s sense of superiority.
An imbalance could show itself as self-pity and constant whining about one’s own problems, in martyrdom. An example that I read was that of a woman who sacrifices herself for her husband and children, not treating herself to anything; she can moan and point to her destiny as the reason for this. Maybe the person would seek sympathy continually, obsessively, and perhaps even make up symptoms to attract more compassion towards them. By contrast, they might be unable to receive sympathy themselves. Whether someone asks for sympathy all the time, or cannot receive it, they are ‘stuck’ and aren’t able to move easily in and out of the emotion. In a balanced person, the emotions can flow freely.
So a person with a healthy Earth has an ‘inner abundance’ from which to give and care for others, rather like the fullness and abundance that nature displays in late summer. When this element is deficient, this ‘sweetness’ can turn into a constant overflow of ‘sticky’ emotional outbursts, or over-exaggerated generosity which serves to make others dependent; think of a mother who prevents her children from becoming adults by limiting their responsibilities and not allowing them to make decisions. Perhaps the person would be far too sympathetic, to the point of being obsequious.
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Picture credit: IdeasAlchemist