Metal & Vata

In Chinese medicine and 5 element theory the energy most dominate in autumn is an expression of Metal energy.  Metal energy describes the part of the energetic cycle that occurs in the space between expansion transforming into contraction.  It is the energy that drives transformation by letting go, deconstructing, releasing boundaries and surrendering. It is also the energy of quality, sharpness, judgement, purity and grief.  In Chinese theory Metal energy manifests our lungs and colon and is home of the Po, the part of our soul that is specific to this lifetime.  The power of Metal has a radical and radiant beauty that can take us deep into our core penetrating every cell, thought and emotion with the profundity of our Humanness.  Metal energy and the way of the Heart are very closely linked and often described as spiritual. 

There are also 5 elements in Ayurveda.  These elements are understood to be the energetic building blocks for life.  These building blocks are understood slightly differently than the Chinese five elements.  They are Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth, whereas in Chinese theory the five elements are Water, Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal.   We might be tempted to say that Space and Air are the same as Wood and Metal, but that is not the case.  While these two worldviews- Ayurveda and Chinese theory- describe the philosophy and science of life, they do so in languages and ways that are resonate yet distinctly different. 

 In Ayurveda, the dynamic of how the elements manifest is due to which dosha most dominate.  There are 3 doshas:  Pitta, Vata, and Kapha.  The energy dynamic most dominate in autumn is Vata.  Vata is described like the wind; it is the energy of movement, it can be turbulent, changing, and swift.  It is the energy that gives us a swift thinking and flexible mind.  And, like the wind, it can also leave us feeling ungrounded, difficult to make commitments, and dizzy over many thoughts, tasks, or possibilities.

Both systems of medicine understand the benefit of first observing what is arising and then responding to it.  Both systems of medicine begin this way, with a pause and observation of what is arising.  Whether it be looking at the experience someone is having as they resonate with the dominate Metal and Vata energy present in nature, or whether there is a deeper imbalance of Metal or Vata in the physiology or constitution, first we watch to see how things are unfolding then we can begin to inquire as to why.  From there we can take actions to inspire more harmony and health.   

We can do the same for ourselves.  Begin by observing what is happening and how you are experiencing your thoughts, your body and your emotions.  Use your intuition.  If Vata describes what you are feeling, you want to look at your routine.  If you don’t have a daily routine, try to create one.  Routine, warm foods and drinks (tea and water) and time sprinkled throughout your day to be still are good ways to balance an out of balance Vata energy.  Receiving oil massage or applying oil to your body is another remedy that is deeply nourishing for a Vata imbalance. 

 You can also apply these practices to balancing Metal energy.  However, if Metal energy is resonating most with you, you may wish to more directly address the emotional or spiritual expression of Metal.  This kind of inner work can take many forms.  In general, you want to focus on practices to help you soften, expand and ground. 

chasing the cosmic fire

Sometimes it's in the most unexpected moment when Stillness captivates me. It could come through in the middle of washing the dishes, or listening to music, or being with people.  Or it can happen in meditation, yoga, or other spiritual practices.   No matter the conditions that allow it to arise, the kind of Stillness I'm talking about is Transcendent.  It moves me beyond my identification with my body, emotions, and thoughts.  Sometimes it lasts quite some time, but sometimes it's just a flash.  Regardless the duration, when it is experienced there is no question where it comes from.  There is an inherent knowing that it is of the Heart.  I bet you've had experiences like this too.

The question I sometimes hear is, "what do I do with it?"  What does it mean to have these kind of experiences?  I am not a spiritual teacher, but I do enjoy experiencing, witnessing and spiritually discussing about the relationship between Transcendent experiences and energy.  

These kind of experiences are opportunities.  Openings.  Offerings.  In the moment of Stillness our energy field is refined, we become aware of what we were not before.  Sometimes this comes with certain "Aha!" insights.  Sometimes this comes with Nothingness.  But regardless of what the mind distills from it, energetic experiences like these are like downloads of new information.  What we do with that information (energy is information) is up to us. 

If we are moved to chase it, we will find ourselves naturally Lightening up.  This can, and often does include, having a natural desire to eat whole, organic, unprocessed foods.  Eliminating toxins in our life.  Our thoughts, conversations, perspectives will move toward lightness, optimism, joy and love.  And making changes in our day to day to allow for inner  self cultivation.

This is part of our self work that take us beyond our habits and  refines our energetic body.  As this happens there is a natural arising of kundalini.  When this happens naturally, consciousness expands.  If kundalini is forced, complications usually arise.  Many great healers and spiritual people become very ill or have great difficulties as a result of forced kundalini.  The refining of the pathways to allow kundalini to rise naturally is a journey that is better to take with patience then to short cut it.  When kundalini arises through the very central layer of the sushumna nadi we have the opportunity for it to jump the esoteric synapse and connect into our higher chakra centers, or fields of consciousness.  In Chinese Medicine this is the receiving of Celestial Fullness.  Here our Inner Fire refines into Cosmic Fire.

"When the leaves turn green I'll be comin home."

In Chinese Medicine there is an understanding of energetic phases that govern life. Spring is a reflection of Wood energy, it manifests as profound new growth, rebirth, creativity, courage, planning, and visioning. Physically Wood energy manifests through the Liver & Gallbladder systems. When these energies are blocked in our mind or emotions, frustration or even anger can arise until a new path through is discovered. Sometimes we hold onto frustration even after a new way is discovered. These irritations can get buried under months or years of our rational mind moving beyond them. But at some point these irritations remind us they are there and give us an opportunity for new growth within our minds and hearts.

The spiritual saying, "When the leaves turn green I'll be coming home" was coined by Dr. MIkio Sankey, and reflects that when there is a balanced relationship between the energies of Wood (frustration) and the energies of Fire (Love), the opportunity for our personal plans and self agendas can release and become agents of our Hearts, giving service and support to our Inner journey and spiritual process. Here, we have the opportunity to integrate our day to day tasks and goals with our deeper purpose.