The Fire Element
We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog post. Thanks for allowing me to express my thoughts in my previous post. At the end of the day, we can’t remain forever in the cosmos. The real work of our training is done all around us in the world, and especially in the face of things one might find unfair and unjust. And in between those big exclamation points of life are the quieter ellipses, so without further ado, let’s talk about the Fire Element.
If you’ve been following these posts, you’re now starting to understand how each of these elements generate and give birth to one another. Water to wood, wood to fire, fire to earth, and earth to metal. Five Element theory exists to explain the five most dominant elements in the universe, their relationship to one another, how they create and control one another, keeping balance, or how they overact on each other, causing disharmony. Simply put, it’s a way to understand how the world and nature work. When we understand this framework, we can live in harmony with the energy of the changing seasons while nurturing our health and vitality.
Fire energy has the quality of flaring upward. This is reflected in the period of rapid growth going on all around us right now-flowers, vegetables, fruits, and the weeds that I am forever pulling out of my garden. Of course, we also know that fire is hot, and quite fittingly, the temperatures outside reflect this. While Chinese medicine generally frowns on eating cold foods, the warmth and energy of the Fire Element provides us a little room to enjoy more raw fruits, vegetables, and other favorite tasty summer treats. Fire energy naturally transmits to us in the abundance of energy we have during this season, and indeed the classical Chinese Medicine texts tell us to go to bed late, rise early, and “never get enough of the sun”.
As each element is associated with an organ, living in harmony with the dominant element of the season represents a way of protecting that organ associated with it. In Five Element Theory, the Fire element is associated with the heart, and the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine tells us to “let the mind have no anger, and things will blossom beautifully”. Indeed, this is the very reason why Chinese medicine views anger as something that damages the heart. We can even see how this bears out in Western medicine with angrier people showing higher markers for heart disease and even higher rates of heart attack. Interestingly enough, I spoke today with a nurse in a cardiac ICU of a local hospital who said that they’re seen a great deal of cardiac arrest this week. Truly, we are more wholly a part of nature than we realize.
Qigong provides us with a way to tap into that fundamental energy that flows through all of nature and our bodies, or Qi, to get rid of the blockages that stand between us and harmony. When our energy flourishes, health and happiness ensue. Head over to the classes page to see what’s in store for fall and give yourself the gift that gives back for a lifetime.