This is a system I work with a great deal in my practice. Sometimes that work is subtle and directed at the organ systems associated with each element... or sometimes we work directly with these channels. I'd like to present a bit of an overview here of how this perspective works within my practice. This is not a complete or academic look at the Chinese Five Element System... but rather a sense of how it contributes information to inner landscape work in my experience.
This kind of healing art is always a path. It is not a single remedy for a single ailment. I find that, though sometimes useful, that type of healing tends to be short-term relief and a relatively surface look at the issue. While quick relief is often a prerequisite for long-term relief... which is to say that getting out of an intensity is what it takes to really grapple with a subject... if the underlying reason for the ailment is not addressed, it is likely to return in the same (or related) form.
The Chinese Five Element system can help us achieve that depth. Chinese medicine recognizes not only the physical, but the "chi" or energetic essence that flows within the physical body. Pathways of chi flow are called meridians. There are 12 primary pathways of chi flow which correspond to different organs. These 12 meridians are grouped into the five elements as shown below.
In recognizing the pattern of energy flow and knowing the physical symptoms, it is possible to look at the physical patterns as a metaphor for an energetic story, or vice versa. The metaphor is useful because it is one step removed from the actual tension, and thus is often easier to processes without stepping into all of the feelings, wrongs, and judgment that are part of the original tension. Thus, using this system allows us to translate back and forth between the emotional/mental body and the physical body.
I intend to cover each of the five elements in the next few weeks, to describe some of their characteristics. They are archetypal representations of possibilities of how each of us interacts with the world. Certainly each of us has all of these energies available to us... but I find... and my acupuncturist suggested to me that she also sees this in her practice... that the element(s) people struggle most with are often where their genius (or muse) lies. I'll tell you some stories about my muse when we get to metal and to fire.
I'm an explorer of inner realms, a pattern observer, and an invitation maker. I believe that healing the world starts within.
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