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In Chinese Medicine and Taoist beliefs there are five elements that interact to create balance or imbalance. These five elements are named Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, and Wood.
They feed, nourish, and support each other on a loop that circles in a clockwise fashion from fire through the elements to wood, where the circle is completed from wood to fire. These elements also have a controlling action on the diagonal: so that water controls fire, fire controls metal, metal controls wood, wood controls earth, and earth controls water. In acupuncture a practitioner uses various points on specific meridians to return your body to balance.
To assist in balancing your body: Each of these elements are represented by tastes and smells, you can use these tastes and smells to strengthen an element (tastes) and to diagnose which element is in excess or deficiency (smells). The taste for fire is bitter, and the smell is ashy or burnt. The taste and smell for wood are both sour. For earth both are sweet. The metal element taste and smell are bland or pungent, and for water both are salty. You can use these tastes in the tonifying cycle to strengthen the element or to counteract on the controlling cycle with the specified pair combinations.
Each of these elements is represented by an emotion: Joy, Worry, Sadness, Fear, and Anger. A lack of balance in your life can be represented by one of these elements being too strong or too weak. All of these emotions in their right balance and right time serve to keep you in balance; too much or too little of these emotions leads to a disharmony in your attitude, spirit, action in life.
To cleanse and clarify an imbalance: You Can take these five steps to change your attitude, heal your spirit, and balance your life, working with the five element emotions.
1. Fire - Joy: Be Grateful, Embrace the attitude of gratitude, this will right your joyous emotional element.
2. Earth - Worry: Release worry. Know your strengths and weakness. Accept the things you cannot change. Live in the centered space between joy and sadness.
3. Metal - Sadness: Release perfectionism. Release non forgiveness. Forgive. Recognize the cycle of life, waxing and waning through all things. Have the wisdom to know the difference between the things you can change and those you cannot change.
4. Water - Fear: Recognize danger. Embrace courage. Act with grace to change the things you can. Act with love.
5. Wood - Anger: Adjust your attitude. Clarify your motives. Practice tolerance. Forgive yourself. Practice loving kindness and compassion.
These cleansing, releasing, and clarifying actions shift your perspective and bring you to live in the center of your integrated spirit, mind, and body being. These allow your loving heart to guide your way and creates resilience, balance, and strength, within and without.
Through balanced interaction of the five elements you create right relationship, right labor, right thinking, and right consciousness. It is from this balanced state that your best actions, interactions, and creations are accomplished and experienced.