• Color of White
• Sound of Weeping (or lack of )
• Odor of Rotten
• Emotion of Grief (or lack of )
• Taste of Pungent
• Sensory organ – Nose
• Manifests in the Skin Hair
• Tissue – Skin
• Season of Autumn
• Power of Balance
• Direction of the West
• The Climate of Dry
• Time of Day – 3am – 7am
The list above.. is just that, a list. Though what lies in commonality within it, are some of the different manifestations of qi embodying the Earth Element. They can be observed in all things, because ‘the 10,000 things’ are all just different forms of qi that came from an expression of the Tao millions of years ago. We can observe it in nature, people, music, animals, and even ‘seemingly’ inanimate objects. For the sake of this essay – in terms of discussing the Element itself, my spirit is drawn to discuss these observations through a particular microcosm – within the heavens and the season of Autumn. When it comes time to discuss the Officials, I will refer to the very same observations, though how we see them manifest in people.
After the harvest, the time of bringing in nourishment and filling our storehouses, Nature continues its decline and starts to let go… into the season of Autumn. The air is cool and crisp accompanied by misty rains falling from the Heavens. The leaves turn from greens… to fiery yellows, oranges, and reds… giving us their final spark of fire and inspiration. Then they let go from the branch from which they came and make room for the new growth in the Spring, insuring continuity and abundance. The fruits, flowers, and leaves that have fallen continue their rotting and decomposition, and simultaneously – pour precious nutrients, minerals, and essence back into the soil to contribute towards a vigorous Spring. For the Earth (Mother) cannot sustain herself indefinitely on her own; she needs the decomposed trace elements and minerals brought from the Father – his guidance, wisdom, and sense of value gained from the year before… to allow the year ahead to flourish.
Like with the other Elements… that which occurs in Nature, occurs within us. A process of inspiration and letting go, fueled by a connection to the Heavenly Father, to Spirit… with every breath we take. Just as the nutrients and essence of the previous growth is taken in and passed on to give birth to a new Spring… the Father passes on his experiences and knowledge to the son, so he may flourish on his new path. In contrast to the nourishment, warmth, and compassion of the Mother… the gifts of the Father (and of the Heavens) are that of support, guidance, respect, self-worth, and a keen sense of quality. He is one of our first figures of authority, a source of wisdom, a mentor, a guide… someone’s advice we can always trust and follow without hesitation.
In Nature, one example of the Metal Element that comes to my mind is the mountain. A mountain (to me) demands respect – it has existed for centuries (or more), symbolizing incomparable structure and support; throughout his existence has seen and experienced moments and events beyond our comprehension, giving him great wisdom and a sense of value; he is rooted, nurtured, and loved by the Earth below… yet stretched out and in constant communication with the Heavens, giving and receiving inspiration. And within these incredible gifts, we can than see and feel as we stand there in awe of its magnificence, an incredible sense of self-worth. Not as a braggart, but of someone who is truly connected to Spirit, and is able to mindfully see their own value, acknowledge his achievements, and than just as important… let them go, so as to make room for the next breath, the next spark, the next moment to talk to God.
THE LUNG OFFICIAL –
Official in Charge of Receiving Pure Heavenly Qi
The Lung, like the Stomach, is an official of Receiving. However, rather than taking in food and nourishment, we are receiving air as pure qi and inspiration. This word “inspiration” is key to the Lung Official. At its most basic physiological level, we are talking about the role of inhaling the air from our external environment.
This oxygen though, is the spark that catalyzes and fuels a majority of the physiological processes that keep our heart beating, blood flowing, muscles moving, brain functioning, and the digesting and assimilating of our food. On a deeper level, inspiration comes in the form of connection to Spirit, to the Heavens, and our ability to bring that energy into us. Many religious practices talk about various practices that allow for this connection on more extreme levels – but for the majority of us, they are merely moments of enlightenment. Glimpses that seem to transcend time and space… we are filled with elation and illumination that can only come as a result of being made aware of a world beyond our everyday existence and the completion of mundane tasks. This is inspiration to go beyond our perceived limits and reach our fullest potential.
And while the process of breathing usually goes overlooked… with every breath we are bringing in the new – air, qi, heavenly mandates, the spark of life that provides a catalyst for ideas, value, worth, acknowledgement – to replace the emptiness that is left after what is no longer useful to us has been thrown away. While the elimination part of the process is mostly handled by the Colon Official, the Lung also does this in a small way via its exhalation of carbon dioxide and other assorted malnourishment.
When talking about the Earth element, it is the energetic of the Mother which we are receiving; in contrast, with the Metal element (and specifically the Lung Official), it is our ability to receive the Father. The Father – providing guidance, direction, support, acknowledgement, and a feeling of being recognized for our true inherent value. Having a sense of our own value gives us the ability to communicate with Spirit… because this place within us IS our spirit. And as a result, it allows us to experience the richest qualities of life.
THE COLON OFFICIAL –
Official in Charge of Transportation and Distribution
When talking about the Metal element, as important as the receiving and ‘taking in’ function of the Lung Official is… it then must be accompanied by a ‘letting go’. They go hand in hand – it is difficult to let go without there being something new to take in and in order to take in the new, we must make room and let go of the old. This ‘letting go’ is the essence of the Official of Drainage and Dregs.
The Colon, also referred to as the drainage ditch, is responsible for the elimination of waste, toxins, general rubbish for all the Officials; we can see this being done on a physiological level, but also on the levels of mind and spirit. Likened to a garbage collector, he is responsible for emptying all the rubbish bins of the other Officials, and if he is not able to (for whatever reason) than these bins start to accumulate, overflow, rot, and eventually become hazardously toxic. The important note here is that the build-up is not only happening in the Colon, but in all the Officials.