There is a basic emotion for each of the five elements and five energetic seasons of Chinese medicine. Now that we are in energetic Winter running from November 8 to January 17, let’s explore the emotion associated with it and how we can best use this quieter, more introspective time of year to bring any out-of-balance emotion back to balance.
The emotion associated with energetic Winter is fear and the element is Water. How interesting that water has the potential to be a raging frightful destructive torrent, flood or tidal wave. It has the power to literally tear things apart, to wear down rocks and to take life away.
On the other hand, water is essential to life. It is used in feng shui as a calming element. Fountains and water walls bring the sound of gently trickling water to our senses to pacify and soothe us. When a person suddenly falls ill or becomes injured, if we can, we give the person a drink of water to nourish and heal her. When we want to relax and let go, we take a bath or a nice long shower.
Water has the potential to destroy and also to take us to a place we call zen. To be sure, it isn’t the only vehicle for achieving moments or periods of zen, but it provides us a most apropos metaphor for the discovery of the “zenitude” we all seek.
Zen is a method of rediscovering the experience of being alive… The aim of Zen is to bring about a transformation of consciousness, and to awaken us from the dream world of our endless thoughts so that we experience life as it is in the present moment. —Mark Watts, What Is Zen?
Zen is not a religion and is not centered on deity.
… Zen is a practice based entirely upon a certain kind of personal experience, and no complete idea of its truths can be given in words… it is a way of liberation that centers around the things that are basic to all mysticism: awakening to the unity or oneness of life, and the inward–as opposed to outward–existence of God… the word God can be misleading because … the idea of a deity in the Western religious sense is foreign to Zen. —Alan Watts, What Is Zen?
We have all had the experience of zen—those times when we lapse into the “zone” and everything just clicks without much effort at all. In those moments, we feel our innate mastery and both know and feel we can do no wrong. Everything just falls into place and we find ourselves in a place of ultimate serenity.
Zen is responsible for the moments we witness when an Olympic ice skater skates flawlessly, when an artist paints a masterpiece effortlessly and beyond the reason of time, and when we sit before a sunset spellbound and motionless.
It can occur when we give absolute attention and concentration to the most mundane aspects of everyday life: sweeping, washing dishes, writing a book, or practicing yoga.
In zen, nothing is separate and it is that absolute attention and concentration on the mundane as well as the auspicious that takes us to the realization that all is one. We realize this oneness either consciously or unconsciously, we lapse into zen.
It is embracing and understanding that all is one—that you and I are one, that we are one with all that we don’t enjoy or prefer in this world, that we are one with the flora and fauna, that we are one with the seen and the unseen—that we have peace at last.
In zen, there is no problem in the world to solve and there is no enemy to conquer because we are all of it. Life is a flowing process in which the mind and consciousness are intertwined. They are inside each other.
… there is behind the multiplicity of events and creatures in this universe simply one energy–and it appears as you, and everything is it. The practice of Zen is to understand that one energy so as to ‘feel it in your bones.’ –Alan Watts, What Is Zen?
We can begin by simply being open to the idea of zen, by intending it in our lives. We may be amazed to find ourselves lapsing into zen moments in which we find a real reprieve from the chaos of the world.
Let PHYTO5 assist you in your quest for the serenity of zen. Gift yourself the gift of the some or all of Water element skincare line. The Phyt’Ether serum and body gel will stimulate your olfactory system located so close to and working in conjunction with the pituitary and pineal glands and amygdala in the brain (involved with the experiencing of emotions). If you are presently fearful and agitated you may well notice a shift to serenity in your emotional state.
Along the trail’s edge
beside a sparkling river
in the willow shade,
I lingered to take a nap—
lingered, and I’m still here.
—A Japanese Zen Poem, translated by Sam Hamill
Watts, Alan. What Is Zen? New World Library, 2000.
Hamill, Sam, and Jerome P. Seaton. The Poetry of Zen. Shambhala, 2007.