A hyperactive Spleen Meridian in Five Element Theory is characterized by over-thinking, brooding, worry, anxiety, obsessions, and obsessiveness. Chronic worry causes depletion of the body energy, physical weakness, and stagnation of the ch'i. With the Stomach as its yang partner meridian, Spleen meridian imbalance may present physical symptoms of indigestion, muscular tension, appetite imbalance, weight problems, abdominal pain, or menstrual difficulties. Worry can become an obsession or even a hobby for some.
"When we have a problem, one thing we can always do is worry about it.
Worrying is somehow comforting--perhaps because it feels like we are doing something about our problems when we worry about them.
Worry provides the ILLUSION of useful activity."
-Iona Teeguarden, The Joy of Feeling
In our most recent Five Element Theory blog Anxious Heart, Disturbed Shen, we discussed how anxiety and stage fright cause imbalance in the Heart Meridian. Here in the second series of Five Element Theory, we will be discussing the Earth Element, which corresponds with the Spleen-Pancreas meridian. Our focus will be on the hyperactive emotional state of over-thinking, worry, and obsession, its effects on our bodies, and how that translates in Chinese Medicine.
What if we had a map to our psyche that helped us guide our feelings and emotions? Taoist philosophy has one such map, as used in acupressure theory, consisting of five inner lands called Shen, I', P'o, Chih and Hun. These five aspects of the psyche represent how we interact with our lives. Each inner land corresponds to particular meridians, organs, body fluids, and certain body parts or tissues and is influenced by certain acupuncture points (acupoints). These acupoints release physical or emotional tension and help us connect to our innate self.
Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water Elements are each associated with a particular season, climatic condition, Zang (Yin organ) and partner Fu (Yang organ), color, taste, synergic feeling and extreme emotion in Five Element Theory. The Five Element Theory believes that the seasons and climatic conditions influence the related organs and their corresponding meridians. Interesting to note, strong likes or dislikes of a season, color, taste or emotion suggest imbalance in the related organ meridians. The element associated with Autumn is Metal. "Autumn is the time of harvesting, a reaping of the fruits of the rest of the year, a time to prepare for protection from the winter." Leaves change into vibrant colors and fall to the earth, symbolizing a cycle within ourselves when we begin to conserve and store nourishment within our bodies, approaching our own "harvest, perfection, and completion."
"The three months of Fall are called the period of tranquility of one's conduct; soul and spirit should be gathered together in order to make the
breath of Fall tranquil;
all of this is the method for the protection of one's harvest."
Elements, seasons, colors, emotions, times of day, cardinal directions, tastes, orifices, sense organs, sounds, smells, and dreams are all congruencies of the Five Elements relating to personal health according to Chinese Medicine. Based on observations of the natural world, ancient Chinese people recognized continuous patterns of transformation and change in the universe. The five elements theory evolved from the study of various processes, functions, and phenomena of nature.
The five element principle developed upon the concept that the Ch'i energy goes through cyclic transformations and health could be based on the harmonious balanced cyclic interaction of these Elements within the body and around us. The Chinese believe that everything in life is concordant with these five Elements.