Autumn corresponds to the Metal Phase in the Five Phase Doctrine of Chinese philosophy. Traditional Oriental Medicine (TOM) theory, having been influenced by these ideas at least a century before the birth of Christ, ascribes the Organ Systems of the Lung and Large Intestine to the Metal Phase.
To get mildly geeky on the subject, each Phase has a pair of Organ systems associated with it. The pair is composed of a Yin solid organ, or zang, and a Yang hollow organ, fu. Lung is Yin, Large Intestine is Yang. Since Yin and Yang in the living being are mutually transforming and never not woven together (there is no summer without winter, no midnight without midday, no full moon without the new), the disposition of the Lung affects the Large Intestine and vice versa
[Side note:the intentional capitalization of certain terms indicates their use in a technical sense within TOM theory/practice, the details of which are way too nerdy for this post]
A company’s janitorial department is vital to its successful daily operations; likewise, the proper functioning of the Large Intestine–the Official in charge of conveyance and transformation–is vital to our health.
Some minds are content to think of health only when sickness arises; other minds are concerned about health before sickness arises. Of the two, which is more noble?
On the physical level, the large intestine can become diseased when its walls become caked with fecal matter over time. But since all our systems exist in a rich web of interconnectivity, disease in one place can negatively affect the health of other systems in our body. Indeed, some within the field of medicine have theorized, not unreasonably, that bacteria thriving in this toxic environment can eventually “translocate” or make their way out of the colon and into the bloodstream and lymphatic system and contribute to disease states, including depression. Additionally, it is known that advanced cases of colorectal cancer can metastasize, or spread, to the liver.
As above, so below. Mind is upstream, above; body is downstream, below. If such dysfunction can exist on the physical level, it must have its reflection (and arguably its origin), therefore, on the mental-emotional levels of human experience.
Points to ponder:
* It is known that anxiety (mental-emotional, yin) states cause changes in the nervous system that inhibit normal wave-like movements, or peristalsis, in the stomach and intestines (physical, yang).
* Disconnection from Life gives rise to anxiety. Anxiety gives rise to tension, clenching. Where there is tension and clenching, the qi does not flow properly. Where the qi does not flow properly, nerve function is dysregulated. Nerve function being dysregulated, myriad disease states arise. Sorrow.
* The mind is cured of anxiety when sufficiently exposed to a greater wisdom. The mind is not cured of anxiety when not sufficiently exposed to a greater wisdom. The mind entangled in anxiety is not the source of that wisdom. The lost child does not find itself.
* Connection with Life gives rise to calmness. Calmness gives rise to non-tension, non-clenching. Where there is non-tension and non-clenching, the qi flows properly. Where the qi flows properly, nerve function is regulated. Nerve function being regulated, myriad disease states do not arise. Happiness.
* Just as a house can have rooms in order and rooms in disorder under a single roof, we can be connected with Life on some self-levels and disconnected from Life on other self-levels. How do we know clearly and correctly where we are connected or disconnected? What is the yardstick by which we measure, what is the standard to which we compare?
* A messy room does not clean itself. A mind oriented to right order–flexible, discerning, well-trained–puts a disordered room in order.
* Frequent intake of processed foods–including meats and grains–is associated with increased risk of colorectal cancer (but remember, the dose makes the poison). Processed food, stagnant energy, sluggish, dull, devoid of vital nutrition–let’s take a leap for a moment and ask ourselves whether there might be some counterpart in the mental-emotional realm; that is, are there thoughts and feelings which 1) are removed from an originally living, vital, natural, truthful state and have leveled-down to decomposed, devitalized, unnatural, untruthful state and 2) give rise to mental-emotional dis-ease reflecting in a physical dis-ease?
* Let us say that there may indeed be such things as dull, sluggish, stagnant, vitality-devoid thoughts and feelings. What might such thoughts and feelings be? Perhaps those that consonate with:
- low self-worth
- fixation on what’s wrong with me/things/Life
- numbness toward feelings
- “it’s OK to harm others to advance my agenda”
- lies, deception
- “the world would be OK if people followed my way”
- gossip, shit-talking behind someone’s back
Anything else come to mind? What are the noble antitheses of the above (e.g., caring as the noble antithesis of uncaring)? And what are the standards we hold ourselves to as we analyze our own processes; that is, how do we know what’s right and what’s not-right?
* Like attracts like. Therefore, can we entertain the idea that the mind which thinks thusly will seek out foods that consonate therewith? Sluggish mind seeks out sluggish food. Vibrant mind seeks out vibrant foods. Analyze with a concern for well-being what you’ve eaten over the past 24 hours. What consonates with devitalized? What consonates with freshness and vitality? Given this analysis, what is the right thing to do?
* Dousing myself with cologne does not resolve the stench emanating from my swampy, unwashed ass-crack (southern terminal of the colon). Dousing myself with positivity does not resolve the stench emanating from a dull, stagnant mind.
* Taking a properly trained mind (rooted in self-love), water, and soap to a swampy ass-crack leads to cleanliness and eliminates the need to douse oneself with perfume. Taking a properly-trained mind (rooted in self-love), energy, and right method to a dull, stagnant mind leads to clarity and eliminates the need to douse oneself with positivity.
* When the breath is properly trained (Lung), its energy expands down into the lower abdomen (Large Intestine + neighbors); the organs residing here are subjected to life-rhythm–a picture of harmonious contact. When the breath is not properly trained, its energy does not expand down into the lower abdomen; the organs residing here are not subjected to life-rhythm–a picture of disharmonious non-contact. One can breathe shallowly, or not at all, in times of anxiety. Sound familiar? If so, what is the right thing to do?
*unskillful, rigid, self-centered, fearful holding on is an immature form of control (anal-retentive personality, Yin); unskillful, rigid, self-centered, fearful outbursts are another immature form of control (anal-expulsive personality, Yang). The same air tank (force of mental-emotional energy) inflates both the red (fire, outward, Yang) and blue (water, inward, Yin) balloon.
* The unskillful, rigid, self-centered, fearful mind does not uplift itself; such a mind must surrender, render itself teachable, and commit itself to One Greater (there are different ways up the mountain; there are different ways to contact that One Greater).
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Hope this helps you in your quest for greater health, wholeness, and fulfillment. See you down the road, J*
Copyright (c) 2018, Justin Jaucian