This is the second of a series of blogs and newsletters on Wei Chi (see our immediately preceding blog post) providing us a deeper understanding of vital energy. Today we explore the role of emotions that can so deeply not only affects our well-being and vitality but the very quality of our interpersonal relationships.
The 5 emotions are: anger, joy, worry, grief, and fear. We will focus on these as it should be possible for each one of us to exercise a degree of control over them. It is one of the conditions to increase the fourth source of Wei Chi where our relationships with others assist us to derive various emotions.
It is linked to the relatively recent recognition of “emotional intelligence” that we can and should develop both for our own benefit and for those with whom we interact.
All five emotions have the potential to become destructive and to affect our natural balance, making ways for pathogens to enter the physical body, and/or mind.
Anger is the emotion associated with the Wood element that controls the energies of liver and gallbladder. The energy of anger can be controlled and useful to provide a venting response to frustrating situations we have little to no control over. But when out of balance, i.e. out of control, it is damaging whether expressed (yang)—which might generate outer violence—or repressed (yin) which engenders internal damage, physical and psychological.
Joy is the emotion of the Fire element that controls the energies of heart and small intestine. “Balanced” joy is a source of wellness and a makes a positive contribution to all our relationships. Excessive or unrestrained joy creates an overexcited state that is physically and psychologically consuming. It is also unnerving for others.
Worry is the emotion of the Earth element that controls the energy of spleen and stomach. “Balanced” worry is limited to a compassionate concern for self and others that reminds us of our role as caregiver or comforter. But worry can fast escalate out of control. It takes us out of the now moment to anticipate often imagined future dangers to ourselves and others. It maintains a state of anxiety that weakens our natural defenses–energetic, physical, and psychological.
Grief is the emotion of the Metal element that controls the energies of lungs and large intestine. There are times in life when it is normal to feel and express grief such as when a loved one passes away. There is a needed emotional purging that will allow one to regain balance and resume a normal life again. But when grief is uncontrolled, there is a loss of emotional balance with deeper consequences including physical ones. Controlling grief is learning to let go.
Fear is the emotion of the Water element that controls the energies of kidneys and bladder. It is normal and preferable to fear certain things that could be dangerous such as fire, poisonous snakes, or hurricanes. But when fear is out of control, it can easily turn into paranoia. It can be paralyzing as all our thoughts and energies can become focused on imagined things that might never happen. There is no peace and no energy left to live a normal and productive life.
This brief outline is a reminder that all major emotions have a positive influence when “balanced” or in control, but they may also have a negative aspect when “unbalanced” or out of control.
Any emotions in an excessive state, for an extended period of time, either internally contained or externally expressed, become barriers both to our health, both physical and mental, to our happiness, and to how we relate to others.
Our understanding of the nature, range, and effect of emotions is at the core of what emotional intelligence is about as we consider its consequences on ourselves and on others. That understanding will motivate us to exercise more mastery over our emotions as a means to enhance our sense of wellness.
But we probably cannot do it all alone. We will need help. We will explore these subjects in future blogs and newsletters with the words Wei Chi in their headline.
In closing, we wish to remind you of our earlier definition of wellness. Ultimately, it is “a state of contentment.” Indeed, we need to feel physically, mentally, and emotionally well as a sine qua non condition. But, in addition, we need the sweet inner feeling that all is well even when outer appearances do not testify to that feeling.
We are inspired by many authors when writing on the vital energy subject but, in particular, by:
- Haas, Elson M. Staying Healthy with the Seasons =. Place of Publication Not Identified: Celestial Arts, 2003. Print.
- Beinfield, Harriet, and Efrem Korngold. Between Heaven and Earth: A Guide to Chinese Medicine. New York: Ballantine, 1992. Print.
- Elias, Jason, and Katherine Ketcham. The Five Elements of Self-healing: Using Chinese Medicine for Maximum Immunity, Wellness, and Health. New York: Harmony, 1998. Print.
- Gerber, Richard. Vibrational Medicine: New Choices for Healing Ourselves. Santa Fe, NM: Bear, 1996. Print.
- The abundant writings of Deepak Chopra, M.D.