TCM Looks at the Liver
1) strongly effects emotions
If Liver function is normal, people will have smooth flowing emotional states favoring happiness. If the flow of Qi is stagnated, frustration, depression, irritability, anger, hypochondriac pain, stuffiness in the chest, lumps in the throat, abdominal distension can occur. Various pre-menstrual syndrome symptoms will also arise, i.e. mood swings, & breast tenderness. Therefore emotions effect the smooth flow of Liver Qi, and stagnated Liver Qi effect the emotions adversely.
2) effects the digestion of food by the Spleen and Stomach
If the Qi is not flowing smoothly (i.e. from emotions), the Spleen and Stomach have trouble performing their digestive functions. If the Liver Qi is stagnated it can overact on the Stomach causing a reversal in the downward movement of Stomach Qi causing vomiting, belching, and nausea. If it overacts on the Spleen it will effects its natural upward flow of Qi and cause diarrhea. These digestive disturbances are referred to as ‘wood overacting on earth’ from the 5 element theory. Normally the smooth flow of Liver Qi aids the mid Jiao in digestion.
3) flow of bile
If Liver Qi is stagnated the flow of bile can get obstructed resulting in a bitter taste in the mouth, belching, or jaundice.
4) The Liver is the residence of the Ethereal Soul (Hun). This is most closely related to the spirit without form. The Ethereal soul does not die with the organic body. It is non-material, therefore Yang in nature. Its counterpart, the Corporeal soul (Po) which resides in the Lungs would be the Yin, or material aspect to our being. It dies with the body.
The Ethereal soul is said to influence the planning of our lives and the feeling of purpose. Lack of direction or purpose is due to a deficiency of the Liver, this causes the soul to be uprooted and float resulting in confusion, lack of visionary conclusions, and wandering. Some say that if Liver Yin and/or blood are deficient enough that the person will have a sensation of floating just before going to sleep (some also consider this to be a healthy state).
5) From Zhang Huang, A Compendium of Illustrated Texts (Tushu Bian), Ming Dynasty:
The liver is associated with wood. It stores the blood and is the home of the hun spirits. Among the seven human emotions, only anger is of an intense nature. It dries up the blood and dissipates the hun spirits. The person who understands the way of nourishing the liver, therefore, never throws fits of anger.
PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS & NATURAL LAWS:
The Intersection of Passing Lineage, Traditions & Learning
“From a Point, we draw a Line to affect an Area”…
Human Lineage Traditions are the cornerstone of all cultures. There is nothing more basic than knowing our selves, “rules of engagement” (with each other) and harmonizing with our ever-changing environments. No matter where we are born, where are ancestry is from or where and how we were raised, we share more things in common than are different about us. Perhaps this stems from the possibility that we are not “humans having a spiritual experience but rather spirits, having a human experience”. Not all questions need to be answered if we are focused on the present moment; suggesting that perhaps the answers are in fact in each moment and that sometimes there are no answers, just experiences. That said, each moment seems to be linked to discovery, discovery seems to be linked to experimental learning, experimental learning may have connection to experiences and rhythms/patterns, experiences/rhythms/patterns provide refinement possibilities, refinement provides a flexible knowledge base and flexible knowledge opens us up to the wisdom stage or connection to all things.
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The flow of fluid, especially blood, through the tissues of an organism to allow for the transport and exchange of blood gases, nutrients, and waste products. In vertebrates, the circulation of blood to the tissues and back to the heart is caused by the pumping action of the heart. Oxygen-rich blood is carried away from the heart by the arteries, and oxygen-poor blood is returned to the heart by the veins. The circulation of lymph occurs in a separate system of vessels (the lymphatic system). Lymph is pumped back to the heart by the contraction of skeletal muscles.
Flow through a blood vessel is determined by two factors: (1 ) the force that pushes the blood through the vessel, and (2) the resistance of the vessel to the blood flow. Ordinarily, the rate of blood flow is measured in milliliters or liters per minute (ml/min or l/min). The blood flow in the entire human circulation is about 5000 ml/min at rest in an average sized adult, but may be 5-6 times as great during heavy exercise when the body needs more oxygen to fuel that exercise. The amount of blood pumped by the heart in one minute is called the cardiac output.
It is important to note that the flow of blood in the body is directly influenced by gravity. When a person is standing, gravity helps pull the blood downward to the lower extremities. Without gravity, blood tends to remain closer to the heart. The force of gravity also makes it more difficult for the blood to flow upward to return to the heart and lungs for more oxygen. Our bodies have evolved to deal with the ever-present downward force of gravity; our leg muscles function as secondary pumps to help in the process of venous return which is blood flow back to the heart, also referred to as cardiac input). During walking or other leg movements, the muscles contract, forcing blood up through the veins of the calf toward the heart. The valves in the veins are arranged so that blood flows only in one direction (Figure 10). This mechanism effectively counteracts the force of gravity.
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Hsin Hsin Ming (Verses on the Faith of the Mind)
Sen T'san, 3rd Patriarch
We started this exposure to these old teaching last month. One month is a good start for contemplating each verse. This is the second verse, each month we will add one more until it is complete. Check the Newsletter Archive at transformationarts.org for past months.
"The way is perfect like vast space
where nothing is lacking and nothing is in excess.
Indeed, it is ue to our choosing to accept or reject
that we do not see the true nature of things.
Live neither in the entanglement of outer things,
nor in inner feelings of emptiness.
Be serene in the oneness of things
and such erroneous views will disappear by themselves.
When you try to stop activity to achieve passivity
your very efforts fill you with activity.
As long as you remain in one extreme or the other
you ill never know oneness."
An Alternate Definition of “Health Care Reform”
Many of us are following what the White House would call Health Care Reform Programs and the myopic perspective that leaves us arguing about what is deemed “fair treatment” by Insurance, Medical and Pharmaceutical companies. What we can expect to pay or have paid for if we become sick, injured or “are managing” on an on-going basis by Pharmaceutical drug dependency?
Is this really the question we should be asking? Perhaps there are other more suitable questions that really go to the heart of our concerns...Like re-educating ourselves in basic self-health care. When we are encouraged to only look at the narrow perspective of options & that “others know more about OUR HEALTH” or western medicine is the only view or most correct, we may take into account that there seems to be a more self-responsible approach- a “preventive & maintenance way”,that is in appropriate timing, and that we could know more about ourselves and how to shift with change to stay in balanced health.
TCM or Traditional Chinese Medicine is both “user-friendly & simple” as well as infinite in depth and rich with an Inner evolving structure. At the heart of TCM is a true relationship with ourselves, a basic sincerity that allows us to recognize the natural system intelligence that each Human is born with; our very own pre-birth knowledge base...complete with common ways of sensing or reading our own feelings and what they mean and a develop-able conscientious, a type of post-birth evolving learning ability, to unravel things we may not yet know about inside but can become known.
In the course of our lives, we face many changes/challenges and unknown situations, and with them come moments of imbalance, irregularities and “sometimes rough transitions”. Our innate “instinctual or pre-birth” knowing can merge with our post-birth “evolving learning conscientious” and forge a bridge to connect the changes/challenges of our lives.
Acupuncture is a form of health & healing that carries deep roots in patient/professional union; the patient needing help returning to balance and the professional needing the patients involvement in the healing process. Once the professional level of treatment is begun, the patient needs to participate in “adjusting” the conditions in which the the imbalance grew in, to help and understand what caused it and to do what is necessary to create an environment for change. This is often easier said than done but somehow defines the very basic “terms of the relationship between patient and professional”. To be said plainly, help, responsibility & the action to heal, are shared and supported, while every intention to follow change so as not to re-create the limitation is reviewed and viable options are explored.
And so, this is why the essence of Change & Balance become the foundational pillars to health and LifeStyle. Logically, the Internal Practices such as Tai Chi, Chi Gung, Hshing-I and Ba Gua and the root practice of Yoga are all recognized as timeless traditions that act as agents of change. TCM is the study of Human Inter-action; with the self, with our relations and with our shared changing environments. Each area relating to our commonalities becomes a “component of self study” revealing deeper ways to relate with life-force, rhythm, change and balance; how to eat with the seasons, relieve ourselves of illusions & fears, heal limitations, stagnation, bad relations etc. It is easy to understand why a physical practice that worked with the above mentioned qualities, could support healing transitions such as working with the process of an acupuncture treatment over an extended period of time, or act as a preventive antidote to daily imbalances as we reflect on word, actions & thoughts and help us balance and change those conditions we find ourselves at the mercy of ...or perhaps, unravel a past trauma that expresses itself in some form of limitation...All situations are workable, all challenges, just opportunities.