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When existence is born forth from the Dao, the first plane of vibration exists within the spiritual frequency. As the vibration changes, the energetic realm comes into existence and further change brings about the physical realm from the mass of information stored within the previous two states of being.

At the heart of the Dao lies the potential for Yin and Yang, born forth via the spiralling force of Taiji. Further division of Yin and Yang within the spiritual realm brings about the formation of the four powers known as Tai Yang, Xiao Yin, Tai Yin and Xiao Yang. Known as the ‘four gross elements’ within Buddhism, they are the foundation of the five energies of Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water.

Wu Xing ChartThese five powers manifest within the spiritual plane as five lights whilst within the energetic realm they are five movements of Qi which are housed within five main bodily organs. In Traditional Chinese Medicine and Nei Gong theory we associate these five movements of Qi as five deviations from our emotional centre which we strive to attain through living in accordance with the Dao.

The emotional swings of the five elements or ‘Wu Xing’ can cause the energies of the bodily organs to shift into either a Yin or Yang state. A yang state would be considered a state of ‘excess’ whilst a Yin state would be considered a state of ‘deficiency’. This forms the basis for constitutional diagnosis within TCM and the psychological state from which we begin the emotional transformation process in Nei Gong.

Depending on whether each of the elemental energies is in a Yin or Yang state we will experience various ‘tendencies’ towards different emotions.

The Wood element is a straight forward energetic movement which shoots up our body when in a Yang state. It is projected out from the liver and causes us to experience external outbursts of anger or rage which we project onto our external environment or the people around us. The excess of Liver Qi is explosive and destructive. When in a Yin state the energetic movement of Qi from within the Liver is directed down into our seed consciousness and this causes an inner hatred and self dislike which is easily as destructive as a Wood Qi excess. Instead of directing our anger onto the external environment, it is focused on our own worthlessness. Extreme cases of Yin Wood energy can result in self abuse and mutilation.

The Fire elemental Qi is housed within the Heart and radiates outwards into our Wei Qi layer. A balanced state of Fire energy will result in perpetual contentment and is the first power we must settle in order to unlock the De contained within us. An excess of Fire energy results in an erratic and ‘sputtering’ expansion of Heart Qi which causes hysteria and manic behaviour. Inappropriate laughter and wild staring eyes, coupled with a flushed complexion are the result of an excess of Heart fire. Yin Heart energy is weak and results in little if any energetic expansion, the body becomes unable to heat itself and circulation is poor. Our happiness is low and the Heart cannot hold back the sadness which is an inevitable part of life, painful emotions are heightened and we can end up ‘wallowing’ in our own self pity as the Heart Qi is drowned within the Metal energy of the Lungs.

The Earth element is the power of change and is housed primarily within the Spleen. An excess of Earth Qi can cause us to think excessively and worry about every external factor within our lives. Over consideration of every outcome is unhealthy and spontaneity is buried beneath our worries. Our Qi begins to stagnate and this can cause the body to swell as Jing conversion is reduced. The Yang manifestation of Earth energy creates a ‘stodgy’ quality to your Wei Qi layer. A Yin Earth state is self directed, we become unhappy with the natural process of change which our inner nature wishes to go through. The Spleen is weakened and we begin to experience self doubt and worry. Overly strong introspection is a result of Yin Earth Qi.

The Metal element lives within the Lungs and manifests as a contraction of Qi which when healthy and balanced is reassuring, kind of like an ‘inner hug’. When in excess, the Metal Qi leads us to experience heightened feelings of sadness and grief, a sense of depression directed outwards into the world. Often a person will seek to bring others into their mental state and this is a very draining experience for those around them as the strong contraction of Qi serves to suck energy from the environment. Yin Metal elemental energy contracts, but only internally creating a black hole of emptiness as the Qi is not replaced by external energy being drawn in. The result is a strong feeling of hopelessness and despair; an inner emptiness which serves to separate us from the outer realm of senses. The Po is drawn in towards the centre of our body and hidden away from the physical realm.

The final energy of the five elements is Water Qi. The energy of our Kidneys. This energy is directly related to our energy levels and our constitution. Yang Kidney Qi spirals upwards like a natural spring forcing its way out of a mountainside. A person with this excess of Qi will experience a sense of panic and paranoia, their nervous system is always running on maximum and they are extremely ‘highly strung’. Every day they are slowly draining their Qi until they end up with a major energetic problem such as the common disorder of ME. A Yin Metal state will result in a feeling of inner fear and shyness. Everything will be frightening and as the Water Qi sinks down within us we find that we feel incredibly small and inferior compared to the wide world which we find ourselves in.

Within Daoism we are trying to find the centre point within these emotional swings. It is here that the seat of De lies and the opening known simply as ‘the mysterious pass’. Within alchemical texts they often talk of reuniting the Wu Xing so that we may begin to move back towards the source of creation. We first have to accomplish this within the energetic realm by balancing the emotions and altering them to produce the five virtues of courage, empathy, wisdom, patience and contentment. The next stage is within the spiritual realm and involves refining these five Qi into Shen within the upper Dan Tien. If we can accomplish then we will experience the merging of the five lights of the Wu Xing into a single ‘golden light’ known as the emergence of ‘the alchemical pill’ within Daoism.

How many can achieve this lofty stage of practice? Everybody. Contained within each of us is the potential and drive for this state if we can only tap into it. Spiritual evolution is the natural pursuit for human beings if only they can do away with the various distractions of the sensual world. Although that being said, I find it much easier said than done!