The Metal Element #1

The metal element manifests in our bodies as the lungs and colon. 

The lungs (being more solid) are the yin aspect and the colon (being more hollow) is the yang aspect of the metal element.

The lungs do not store a vital fluid.  However the lungs are in charge of qi.  There is one activity (or one type) of qi which is the responsibility of the lung alone.  This is called “defensive qi” – it is the qi that fights off those things from the environment which make us sick.  The lungs are said to rule the skin and this defensive qi is said to circulate just below the skin.  The qi that flows to the rest of our body (and which is usually manipulated by the acupuncture needles) is called “nutritive qi”.

Traditionally defensive qi is said to be “bold as a warrior”. 

Metal can be unyielding.  It can therefore (in some sorts of feng shui) be associated with counsel or divine guidance: our job is to adapt to spirit – the way of the divine.  In christian circles it is said that: you don’t break the ten commandments, you break yoursefl against them.  A secular equivalent would be: gravity is no respecter of persons, you fall far enough onto something hard enough: you die – end of story.

Think of the people you know who seem to never catch cold: most likely they have a quality of boldness about them.  These people have strong defensive qi.  If you picture the lungs position in relation to the other organs in our torso they form a sort of cover over them: this is a good picture of the role of defensive qi.

For another aspect of the metal element picture a sword, scythe or scissors.  Metal can cut through and is associated with letting go.  The colon lets go of the solid waste we no longer require and the lungs let go of the air that we breathe.  To experience this quality in your breathing pause for a moment and note how little effort it takes to breathe in.  Once you have experienced this for a few breaths notice that it takes no effort at all to breathe out.  This effortless letting go is the complement to the boldness of defense qi.

So how is your metal element?

  •     Is your immunity good or do you pick up whatever is going around?
  •     Any constipation?
  •     Are you able to mourn the losses you have had?

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