The Lung Official is the receiver of Pure Qi from the Heavens. We have three lungs, two in the chest and the third is considered the skin. We need to breathe through the skin in order to live. We breathe in freshness, purity and quality. The pure clear energy of the Father gives richness to life and purpose to the Spirit. The skin offers early warnings to imbalance or sickness within the being. Things show on the skin lung before they show up in the lungs. Dry skin, skin irritation, excema, or psoriasis maybe a sign of the Lungs out of balance, physically. Wei Qi is associated with the Lung. It wards off insults and toxins and resides just below the skin. Its connection to the skin is made by the way of the Lung. The Lung help moisten the skin and regulate opening and closing of pores, where the skin breathes. The Nei Jing states, “The Lungs are the essence of energy. It is them that are found in the souls. They're expressed at the epidermis.”
The nose is the sensory organ associated with the Lungs. It has a physiological connection to the lungs and aids in our sense of smell. The color associated with the Lungs is white, the ancient Chinese believed this color was representative of a connection to the Heavens, as well as the cycle of birth and death. Grief is the emotion associated with the Lung Official. Grief is very often the product of not letting go and making room for the new to come into our being, we repress the grief and it remains unprocessed within our being, leading to the heaviness and pain being carried around as a burden. The time of day associated with the Lung is 3-5am, the most common time for waking and meditating. This is the time, when we are closest and most connected to the Heavenly Qi.
The ancient Chinese believe metal comes from the air. At birth the Father, the heavens, plant the seed of what we could become, the essence and the quality of us and our self-worth. Self-worth is associated with the Metal Element while self esteem is associated with the Wood Element. Metal lends itself toward being worthy, while wood lends itself toward integrating and accepting. JR reminds us, The Lung’s role “is to invest our physical energy with the quality which gives it the vitality we need.”
The Chinese saw us as children and the air as the Father. The lungs and the skin breathe in from the Universe filling us with rich, fresh energy on all levels of body, mind and spirit. Breathing in and letting go keep the conduit free and allows for growth of the Spirit. As we receive inspiration, clarity and spiritual connection from the heavens, we release impurities in a cycle of continuous renewal. This is the inhale and exhale within the lungs. Each task is completed with our quality and each is let go of when finished. We are put here between Heaven and Earth to link the flow of energy between the two. That is our purpose. The Father gives self-worth to the child. The element stands for quality, richness, essence and purity; all the things the father provides. Loss of contact with the father in Chinese medicine was considered a grievance. Life became barren and void without the father.
The Lungs are associated with inspiration, quality, richness, guidance, worth and receptivity. Within the Metal Element, the Lung, the yin organ, takes in and the Large Intestine, the yang organ, lets go. The Lung supplies us with the constant inhalation of pure qi and the continuous exhalations of dirty qi and the release of toxins. Qi from foods is brought together from the heavenly father. Heavenly qi and food qi are combined to form gathering qi or Zhong qi. The Lung disperses Qi all over the body to nourish it. Inspiration of mind and spirit from the heavenly father are also distributed by the lung. The Lung assists with circulation of qi within the blood vessels. The Lungs are the intermediary between man and his environment. The Lung and the Large Intestine are together, it takes both to take in and eliminate. The whole of the Lungs and the Large Intestine is a function. It's the function that explains our purpose. This is the meaning to the 10,000 things.
Autumn is a season of balance in alignment with the natural rhythm of nature. Balance offers a lightness in the spirit spirit. Balance is the power of the Metal Element. The lungs reflect this as there are two balanced within the physical body. Both take in air and let go of unneeded carbons. There is joy in the fall, a deep exhilaration however it is more internal than the joy of summer. There's communication within the being about taking in and letting go just as the leaves fall off the trees. The autumn is the season of surrender. There is great trust in letting go to make space to take in. Balance occurs by restraint, guiding just as a father would. Without guidance we become lost. True guidance comes from showing the way and then allowing us to make our own choices and our own decisions. The father's job is to guide inspire and gives wisdom. Inspiration and wisdom come from learning all that has come before us. This ancestral connection can inspire us on all levels.
The Lung gives meaning to the quality-of-life. We need to heavenly father to connect us to the ultimate source of nourishment. The Heavenly Father provides safety connection security a sense of importance and worthiness. The Lung is the Father providing for all of the officials. The Lung gives meaning pride and a sense of belonging. The Lung offers answers to questions about the meaning of life what gifts we have to offer a sense of the Heavens and the greatness outside of ourselves.
The Lungs take in everything that the heavens represent. Being within the breath is very much a part of our energetic connection. JR states, “By taking in the pure Qi energy from the Heavens, it brings the guidance and authority which our lives need.” The Lungs of afford us quality of reverence, inspiration and awe. The Lungs take us on a journey to the peak of the mountain. When we look to the sky we widen our horizons. The Lung provides us with that inner strength of spirit. They gift us the richness of the whole being. The Lungs are responsible for giving us life, from the very first breath we take to our very last breath. The Lungs grant us inspiration, greater than ourselves. Their function is to assist us in taking in the new and eliminating the old within our daily cycle, our yearly cycle and our lifecycle. The Lungs grant us a way of life.
The PO is our corporeal soul. It really resigns in the lungs it is directly affected by sadness And grief. Sadness and grief restrict and obstruct the pole. This can be exhibited by shallow breathing and constriction when we hold our grief in.
When the Lungs are out of balance, we may be unwilling to let go. We maybe dirty, unkempt or trashy on all levels. We may become judgmental. We may display signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder or excessive cleansing. We may have difficulty accepting guidance. We may become apathetic. When there is nothing to draw inspiration from we may experience grief. This may lead us to search around trying to draw inspiration from religions spiritual paths or gurus, even fanatically. We may even reject inspiration or cut ourselves off from any source of wisdom. We may become obsessed with practices that try to connect us with something outside of ourselves, but the true connection is within ourselves. we may feel completely unworthy. We may feel like we do not belong. We may be unable to give value to results to others. According to Neil Gumenick, when the Lungs are out of balance, “its functions of drawing breath, dispersing and descending of energy and body fluids may be impaired. Thus, we may find symptoms such as coughing, accumulation of phlegm, asthma, bronchitis, wheezing, and emphysema to name a few.” Further, pleurisy, mucous, congestion, dry throat and lungs and upper respiratory infection can also result.
When we think of metal, we liken it to sharpness. Within the body this can be seen as the edge of the weeping voice, the razor sharp mind or wit, the penetrating desire to get to the depths seeking every detail, and an excessively high standard of quality. A positive quality associated with the long and the metal elements is malleability. One may where many precious metals or gemstones to compensate for the lack of quality within themselves. Metal may shine too brightly and be blinding. We may increase our worth outwardly due to a lack of connection to the Heavenly qi. We may also complicate with rigidity and our behavior such as excessive neatness, excessive order, and inflexible routines. We may also have difficulty accepting and receiving from others. We may be cut off or entirely blank, words and emotions may never really enter the mind. The eyes of someone who is a Lung CF may focus blankly into the distance where they search for the answers or slightly upward, above the physical realm of our existence. Due to this inability to take in, we can present with a great void and thus, great despair.
The Lung Official in practice, reminds me of the energy of meditation. On a personal level, I spent a lot of time in meditation, with crystals and minerals, and breathing in the Heavenly Qi. I feel immense renewal when in this place of connection. It serves my spirit in immense ways. I have felt times of stress in my own life, when I can’t quite catch my breath, especially, when not allowing time for renewal and balance. The only method of recovery for me from this state of unease is to return to the breath. Returning to the breath also helps me to release grief that lies within and sits under the surface. It seems a natural tendency to busy oneself, rather than feeling grief, but in the long run, this produces extreme imbalances. Spending time with the grieving process through breath and intentional connection with the Heavens is extremely powerful and beneficial to me.
The Lung Official also brings me to think of the concept of conscious breathing. I’ve had a unique opportunity in my life to provide craniosacral therapy to clients while working in the water with dolphins as co-facilitors of healing. I have found immense power in getting to know the species and am particularly fascinated by the conscious breath. Every single breath a dolphin takes is conscious, meaning they must intentionally rise to the surface of the water and take a breath. When a dolphin is not well, members of the pod will carry it to the surface to breathe. As humans, we take few conscious breaths and mostly allow the process to go on without our attention to it. With attention and intention to the breath, we can certainly play a more active and engaged role in engaging and welcoming the Heavenly Qi. Without this attention, it seems we become disconnected from the very source that we are. JR says, When we “…transcend the limits of our daily routine.. we are witnessing within ourselves the work of this Official in our spirits, and the depth and power of its inspiration.”
The correspondences of the Metal Element and hence the Lung and Large Intestine Officials are:
Fortification: Skin and Hair
Classical Five Element Acupuncture, Volume 3 by JR Worsley
Personal Class Notes ITEA 2019
The Lung Official by Neil Gumenick