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 have been 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 in my recent articles I have been talking in a lot more detail about the emotions of the elements.
Now in the next five blog posts I am going to be talking about particular states of mind that derive from each element and which relate to a particular body organ. Today we talk about…
The Mental states of Wood
Wood brings forth the desire for movement and growth. Its nature is expansion, growing in all directions. It brings forth the creative processes of planning and decision-making. It gives us the desire to undertake a new project, to set sail for new horizons and new discoveries.
Wood is represented by the Liver (yin organ) and the Gall Bladder (yang organ).
The Liver represents the ability to make plans and to see life on a material level; it embodies the power of imagination and creative energy that results in growth. It is the inventor, the discoverer. It sees the meaning of life. It develops the vision, the plan. Every new idea that we take hold of, every new concept, broadens our horizons. We take risks and go into the unknown. We grow, and growth or expansion is the essence of Wood.
You might imagine that when this ability falters then some symptom would arise. For example, a migraine may appear when Liver energy is out of balance, and you could see this as frustration with the system because plans were not made or followed. So a person with a Wood imbalance might say that they felt ‘jammed up in the head so that I can’t think, or plan, or do anything’.
The Gall Bladder
Related to the Liver’s planning is the Gall Bladder‘s function in decision making: the ability to assert our needs in the outer world. If you see the Liver as an architect, then the Gall Bladder is the builder who makes the decisions and arrangements necessary for the blueprints to become a reality. Imagine a person who has difficulty in making decisions, even very little simple ones, and you are thinking of someone with a Gall Bladder imbalance.
The two functions of Liver and Gall Bladder are very closely connected. Without an all-encompassing concept, the decisions in day-to-day life are incoherent, and similarly the best plans and projects are worthless if they cannot be carried out. Depression and resignation may have their roots in a Wood disorder: the vision is missing, the plan is lacking, or a person may have many plans and ideas but cannot make them into reality.
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Picture credit: Shaggy Paul