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 Metal…
If we follow the analogy of the seasons, and remember Metal’s association with autumn, then we can imagine the state of mind in simple agricultural communities: wondering how they are going to last the winter as the cold dark days approach. There would be worries about the future, and Metal imbalance can display itself in just such a worry, but in an exaggerated form, with perhaps a pessimistic attitude, a hopelessness. By contrast, a healthy Metal would display trust in life, optimism and a positive view of the future.
The feeling autumn is sadness, a sadness that fills us when we have to leave something that has be come precious and dear to us. This feeling is exaggerated in people who are unable to let go of something that they can never get back. Thus the emotion of Metal is grief. An imbalance in Metal will show itself as being unable to grieve, suppressing grief, or in feeling a sense of loss continually, perhaps a sadness about things that have not yet happened, when we realise that we have not taken advantage of our opportunities.
Grief is a natural and a healthy process, of course, but a person who is overwhelmed by sorrow is likely to be displaying a Metal imbalance. Someone who is going through grief may experience breathing difficulties or bowel problems for a while, and sometimes these problems may persist; we will see later that the Lungs and the Large Intestine are the ‘organs’ of Metal.
Our Lungs hold the emotion of Grief, and they are directly involved in the expression of this emotion: a normal and healthy expression of grief and sadness is sobbing that originates in the depths of our lungs, deep breaths and the expulsion of air with the sob. Sadness that remains and becomes chronic can create a disharmony in the Lungs, weakening Lung chi, and this will interfere with the Lungs’ many functions and energetic processes.
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Picture credit: Sarah Gath