House of your Spirit,
Throne of your Emporor
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), different meridians are defined, each with his own set of functions, both physical and mental. The meridians work closely together and form a strong network of pathways and functions. In Neijing Suwen – The Yellow Emperors Classic of medicine, the functions and relationships of the meridians are described very well and to the point. The human body is being compared here to the national system of a state in which the hart is the sovereign or the Emperor of all organs and represents the consciousness of a person.
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Each organ has its own function in this comparison, for example the lung is the prime minister, the small intestine the secretary of state, the kidneys the health minister et cetera.
In this text I would like to elaborate a bit about the hart. The House of Shen, your spirit and the throne from which your Emperor overlooks and reigns your body & mind.
As Sovereign the Hart* has to reign in calmness over his kingdom.
To be able to house your Spirit, the hart itself has to be calm and empty of disturbing emotions. A lot of the eastern practices like Thai Chi, Chi Quong and meditation are aimed at reaching this state, to feed the hart and root the Spirit.
The hart belongs to the element of fire in the theory of the Five Elements. Fire being the ultimate Yang and belonging to heaven and the sun. It warms our harts, cooks our food and makes plants grow. It is essential for any form of living and at the same time one of the most destructive powers there is. The power of fire is the capacity to transform.
The calm resting place for the Spirit that the hart is supposed to be, is made possible by the blood. Blood in TCM is more than just the red liquid in your veins, it is indeed the stuff that feeds your body and spreads nutrition throughout your body. But it also has a more spiritual and psychological component of giving us the feeling of content and satisfaction. With that feeling our hart can be calm and content as well.
When it comes to the blood, Spleen and Stomach energy are of great importance because they feed the blood. In the analogy of the human body as a national state, the spleen and stomach are the warehouses, the reservoirs of nutrition. They are also often called the post natal foundation of our being. They are responsible for the digestion of food and impressions and transforming them into energy and ideas. Beware, fire or heat is needed for this process. Spleen and Stomach themselves belong to the element of earth, that grounds us.
When there is a lot, difficult or indigestible stuff to digest, Stomach and spleen need a lot of energy to do their job. They need to work overtime and keep on chewing, overworking themselves doing so. This results in the blood being less nutritious and the Shen being less routed and us getting restless or emotional unstable.
Also the hart and small intestine energy form a close duo. The small intestine completes the work that is started by stomach and spleen. The food had been transformed into a sort of soup and now the small intestine has to assimilate those parts that are useful so the hart can integrate them. The small intestine has the important job to distinguish the useful stuff to be kept and the stuff that needs to be drained.
For the hart to be calm and sovereign, the other organs therefore have to function well. If that is the case you can feel “yourself” your Emperor is firmly seated on its throne. The other way around, a calm and content Sovereign and the Spirit in its proper place is of great importance for all the organs to function properly.
When you feel restless, anxious, nervous or depressed, the Emporor is not or not properly seated and therefor can not properly fulfil its task of calm leader. This can result in all kinds of physical complains. One of my clients that suffers from live long depressions told me she once bought a stethoscope to listen if she even has a hart. A shockingly recognisable need of someone with a volatile Spirit.
Treatment of the Hart meridian can be very calming. After a hart meridian treatment a client recently said to me it feels like having arrived home again! The Eagel has landed!
* when i talk about the hart or any other organ i am always talking about the energy of that organ, the meridian and all its functions, not just the physical organ itself.
Neijing Suwen – The Yellow Emperors Classic of medicine
Shiatsu theory and practice - Beresford-Cooke
My own notes from my education at Beroepsopleiding Iokai Shiatsu Amsterdam