(Five elements – 4)
Metal Element in our bodies is represented by the skin tissue on the surface. Around us there is this layer of Guardian Qi or Wei Qi that surrounds us as Auric/Golden layer. This is also classified as being Metal element according to some sources which don’t ignore this part of our existence. And of course there are the stars of the Traditional Chinese Medicine and Qigong, Lungs and Large intestine. 🙂
Season of Metal Element is autumn. It is the time when we are more sensitive for catching cold, getting some sort of inflammation in our respiratory system. It is the time when we tend to be melancholic or sad, the weather and shorter days just accelerate this. Some sadness is welcomed, it can be purifying, you can let the emotions out and cry, relieve some emotional pain and burden, but it is not O.K. if it lasts too long.
You might get depressed, without even knowing it. You might get frozen in the realm of Metal Element. You can close yourself for receiving and giving emotionally and finally get numbed. This happens after a long grieving or a long enough shock/traumatic experience. Why?
Well, Metal represents our boundaries, our guide, a shield with the largest organ that builds us – our Skin. And so the Lungs and Large intestine represent the boundaries of our physical existence.
The first thing that we have put in us when we came to this world was the air. We don’t stop this process until we die. Our Lungs not only provide us oxygen, but they are also Air Qi extractor, supplying us with the energy Qi from air. If we close ourselves in the deep grief, we stop breathing properly and we shut off from the correct and sufficient supply of Air Qi. This leads to insufficiency and lack of energy to move, think, take action, excretion of positive hormones…and voila, you might have depression.
The last thing that gets out of our bodies through the Large intestine is excrete of the digested food. And this way the Metal represents our boundaries on a physical level.
More Characteristics of Metal element
As we mentioned in the previous posts, every element has its own qualities, colour, vibration, density…
Element associations: value, conductivity, strength, precision
When Chinese think of metal they think of gold. Gold is precious, doesn’t oxidize, reflects the light in yellow hue (remember, after the Earth element comes Metal) 🙂 which is calming, relaxing. On majority of people have some emotional influence, like urge to have it, own it… but this is another topic, let’s go back to Metal element.
Receiving and letting go
Metal can be melted into a liquid and condensed back into a crystalline form. While it is melted it is like a quicksilver, ready for the interchange with surrounding. While when it’s hard it is in non exchanging form. In this way we are able to communicate and to absorb information, emotions… But on the other side when our Metal hardens we know who we are and where is our place in this life and this gives our existence a meaning. This way we change and adapt to new situations, without disturbing our surrounding. We feel secure, when we can go back and forward and change through this process of melting and hardening (when we return to ourselves, our nature).
But if Metal is out of balance we feel lack of security and we cling on that little that is left of our valued things or concepts in order to avoid further loss that is the consequence of change. This can be seen in our capacity for taking in and eliminating (like depriving yourself physically and mentally, and in constipation). One might also search for the outer source of perfection, because of lack of inner worthiness and emptiness.
Metal rules Po
Metal rules our corporeal soul or Po. It is polar to Ethereal soul or Hun, which resides in the Wood element. Our ability to respond to environment and the exchange of Qi with universe through breath is the gift of the Po.
Smell and touch is the experience that Po receives and these feelings are the basis for our connection with our inner Qi and with universal Qi. If we think of how touch can communicate with our inner feelings and how a smell can call up our past experiences, this gives us an example of how Po acts.
Inwards and downwards
Metal moves inwards and downwards. This phase of energy cycle is sometimes called Decline. When the Yang of the summer starts to cease, energy starts to move inward, leaves starts to fall, fruits have been collected and now the Qi starts moving downward towards the roots. Towards the center, towards the source as it begins with the Yin phase and starts gathering for regeneration. This phase insists that we allow and accept seeming decline. This is the movement of the energy Qi downward when we inhale. It moves towards Lower Dantien and Kidneys where it can be redistributed to other organs.
Sadness and grief
Sadness is emotion associated with Metal element. Deep sadness that lasts too long can lead to depression, which is the cause of imbalanced Metal in the first place, since healthy Metal will not prevent us from feeling sad, but will prevent us from being trapped in this emotion by letting us be opened for new possibilities.
Inability to grieve is also imbalance. The discharge of tension with sadness and crying is essential for our normal existence and it can be shut off by non acceptance of society or situation which can seem overwhelming to individual. Cry can release, free, regenerate, clean and heal one’s soul. It opens us for acceptance and change. Don’t avoid crying, it’s good for you, and nobody will dare to call you Crybaby ever again, like they used to when your Metal wasn’t strong enough to protect you, when you were just a small child! 🙂
You can hear people who avoid expressing grief that their voice sounds like weeping or complaining all the time.
Sense organ: the nose
Lungs open into the nose but energetically Large intestine is connected with it directly. Nose and a sense of smell connect us with our environment in direct, non rational way with inclusion of deepest emotions and our instincts. We smell and we react instinctively.
Colour of Metal is White…
Colour of Metal is white. Colour worn in times of mourning in Asia is traditionally white colour, but white also symbolizes a shining light of Metal. Physical sign of Metal deficiency is when the white hue glows from a person’s face and from the area around eyes.
Smell, taste, climate
Smell of Metal is rotten. Taste is piquant. Climate that injures Lungs is dryness. Lungs and nose passages need moisture to function properly. Central heating and air conditioning can dry them so they become sensible for infection.
Metal element time is from 3-7 a.m. Lungs time is from 3-5 a.m. and Large intestine is from 5-7 a.m.. It is said that this is the best time for meditation and Qigong, following the time for excretion.
Lungs, is said, are a ”tender organ” which means that they are the most vulnerable.
Lungs are responsible for the intake of Qi through breathing and for dispersing it downwards and outwards. Any fatigue, anywhere in the body can be due to a Lung imbalance. Lungs generate our protective Qi which traditionally resides in the space between the skin and muscles.
Regulating the water
Lungs receive refined fluids from Spleen and send them throughout the body. The Lungs regulate the water passages and will oftentimes influence urination or sweating if Lungs are out of balance. Deficiency in Lungs might lead to dry skin, dry hair, dry lips as Lungs are inefficient to send fluids to the surface.
Throat is considered a “gateway to the Lungs” and it is also a source of our voice. Healthy and Strong voice is a sign of a strong Lung Qi.
Large intestine is a Yang meridian of Metal element. Its function is elimination as is the organ’s. On the energy level we eliminate ideas, concepts, impressions, emotions, memories…On the physical level we excrete and eliminate waste products, gas…
Lungs are the first entrance and Large intestine is the last exit. They represent two passages and two landmarks of our being.
May the Qi be with you!
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