The Five Elements
The Five Elements: Acupuncture and How You Feel about Pretty Much Everything
One of the reasons I got into Acupuncture is that the language it uses to describe the human body, is the exact same language used to describe nature. It is perhaps best suited to describe the relationship between nature. I love that! The language I am talking about is the 5 Elements. Those five elements are Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, and Wood. Every thing you see out there and everything you feel inside can be described using these five terms. Seasons, weather, ailments, goals, worries, and even the desire to flip a table over and scream at the top of your lungs, can all relate back to these five elements.
I like this because it reminds us that EVERYTHING is natural. Everything. And if we have a good way of describing it, then we also have framework to which we can facilitate change. As mentioned, every scene you witness and every type of cell in your body can be put into these 5 categories. I’m going to use something else to describe the 5 elements: emotions. Emotions are a great place top start because we all have them and we most certainly relate to them viscerally in one way or another.
The elements and emotions relate as follows:
We all also have our own unique relationship amongst them. Sometimes we avoid one of them, sometimes we get fixated on one of them. Often one emotion will arise completely out of context to whatever present moment we find ourselves in. Using the language of the 5 Elements can help us understand it all as our emotions can make more sense by looking at how the elements relate to each other. Basically if we look at elements and not just the emotions we feel, a bigger and more helpful picture begin to emerge.
The 5 Elements relate to each other in a few different distinct cycles. One cycle is generation or growth, where one leads to another. For example Metal generates Water. Using our emotions theme, we can see how the Grief of losing a loved one can lead to the Fear of being alone. Another cycle is the control cycle. Without getting into all the permutations of the elements, an example of the control cycle is Fire controlling Metal. Makes sense? Fire can melt metal. What is also interesting is that Joy (the emotion of Fire) can help melt away grief (the emotion of Metal). Again, we are just using emotions as an example of how helpful the language of the 5 elements can be. ANYTHING can be described using this language
So what does all this mean? It means that no matter what is going on in your emotional world it’s natural. We can look for patterns and facilitate change, if change is something we are after. As acupuncturists we love this stuff because it exemplifies the notion that the relationship between the emotions is often more insightful than the emotions themselves. And what’s cool too is how much the themes of the 5 elements show up in what’s happening with our internal chemistry, nervous system, exercise recovery, you name it. So once we identify a pattern in one area (say emotions), we can use that pattern to make sense of another area. Fun!
So here’s some questions you can ask yourself today:
What if your emotions were telling you something?
Do you often feel a certain way, a certain time of year?
Does something ever irritate you, but you have no idea why?
Are there any emotions you try to avoid?
Whats an example of a time where one emotion quickly led to another for you?