The Heart Official is known as the supreme controller, the root of life itself. There's a simplicity to the Heart, which the Chinese saw as the Emperor of the Kingdom, indicated by ruling wisely and fairly. Wisdom is important to an Emperor because it means that they rule from self-assurance and knowledge rather than arrogance. Humility, acceptance and service for the highest and best of all are characteristics associated with the Heart in balance. The Heart is the Emperor within our Kingdom of body, mind and spirit. It controls and coordinates all of the other Officials. It does so, without dictator-like control, without ignorance, without arrogance, without tyranny and without narcissism. The Heart promotes harmony, peace and equanimity. The Heart delegates to and depends upon the other Officials, filling the role of the wise coordinator or figurehead. The Heart considers what can be done to help every single constituent. Because of it’s role in the Kingdom, everything must be done to protect the Heart so that it cannot be harmed. The Kingdom cannot exist without the Heart and the Heart cannot exist without the Kingdom.
The Chinese radical for heart is the only without flesh. The heart is signified by Xin in Chinese. The upper part is associated with reaching up to ascending influences. The middle part is associated with the heart as an entity. And, the lower part is associated with the aorta which communicates with all the other organs as a result of the blood circulation. The ancients didn't talk about the heart physically but rather spoke of the Spirit which resides in the heart, the Shen. The Chinese talk about the hearts as an empty vessel, a space for spirit to be housed. Spirit is nothing but pure love. The Heart forms early in development, after only about six weeks after conception. It does its job, just as the Lung, from the moment we are birthed until the moment we die. The Heart beats all the time. There's an evenness and silence to the heart beating and doing its work. When a problem arises, the evenness and silence go away and this is all consuming for our being physiologically and the effect it has on all the other officials. The whole of the kingdom can become shaky.
The deep pathway of the heart meridian is underneath the throat leading up to the tongue. The heart makes proclamations and declarations. Humans possess a unique quality, sharing love through speech which is something other mammals cannot do. This speaks to the Heart’s ability to lead.
The Heart is the source of warmth for the body. The physical heart produces the blood and controls the force and power with which it is distributed throughout the body through the veins and arteries. The Heart is a presence within us that radiates, just as a fire radiates. Fire, is the Element associated with the Heart. Fire gives way to may of the other associations including the red color, scorched scent, bitter taste and hot temperature. This radiant presence lends itself to compassion, benevolence, selflessness, unconditional love, generosity, assurance of love, remembrance, light and expansion. The Heart is innately representative of the divine essence within. It is our internal sun. Love is the most powerful emotion. It overcomes everything including hate. The quality of fire energy gives Love a gentle force. Joy, which is the emotion associated with the Fire Element appears to be directly linked to love, as without love for oneself, there can be no joy. The Heart is in constant rhythm and radiance. The Heart pumps blood and blood is life. Blood feeds love, warmth and connection to every cell of our being. Heart disease may be a sign that there's not enough love. We may not be living life with abundance, sharing gratitude, compassion and selflessness. We may not be living the way the ancients did, in accordance with nature. The radiant presence of the Heart effects others as we allow joy and love to radiate outward.
A good Emperor or leader believes in teamwork and coordination. It does not take over anyone else's job. It rules by the grace of the other officials. The Heart is there supporting all the officials. The Heart holds the concept of the big picture, but doesn't do all of the things for the big picture. It rules by divine presence, not control. The Heart lets the team get on with its individual jobs. The Heart steps in only when needed and takes control only to keep function. Without order and control our body mind and spirit would be a mess, leading to chaos, everyone and everything going off in its own direction. The maturity and wisdom of the heart help rule the body mind and spirit. Maturity is the power associated with the Fire Element. Peace comes from our spirit residing in our Heart when the Supreme Controller is functioning properly. Despair and depression can occur when the Supreme Controller is not radiating love. A wise Emperor may not do much but presents its wisdom and is always there when needed. The Heart facilitates a mutual respect among the officials. The Heart can serve as an impartial mediator.
There're deep feelings that reside within the Heart. They're exhibited by particular phrases, ‘being heartfelt’, ‘holding one's heart on their sleeve’, ‘being openhearted’, and ‘being heart driven’. Because of the Heart’s role it can be open to abuse. The unconditional love of the heart leaves it vulnerable to pain. This is why we have three other Officials within the fire element to protect the heart on different levels, the Heart Protector, the Small Intestine and the Triple Heater.
It is rare to have a Heart Causative Factor. This is because it does have the other three officials of the fire element protecting it. They will absorb the brunt of the imbalance. The Heart protects its wisdom by giving others responsibilities. The Supreme Controller can act freely because it can rely on the others. It looks to the Heavens and embodies the Spirit. Then observes the way it should be. Having protectors, allows the Heart to extend love and compassion to everyone and everything openly. The Heart reflects the truth. Its connection to the Divine leads the Heart to focus its energy upon the Spirit and understands, deeply, the impermanence of the material, physical experience. This gives the Heart insight into our great purpose and enlightenment. The Heart’s primary role is seeing the flow of the Heavens go to Earth and the flow of the Earth go to the Heavens. The Tao is written in the Heavens.
When out of balance we experience no internal fire, leading to no joy and no spark. We may go about our lives, day to day without engaging the spark and life within ourselves. This is characterized by the daily routines we have and complete every though they do not bring us joy. We could ask ourselves, “what is the point of living this life, without engagement?’ This can even make us act with manic behavior. We may shutdown, become listless or idle and lose the connection to the divine within. If the Heart becomes sick there's a major disruption in the system, accompanied by a lack of the ease and a lack of control. We may see over-control or control being used in unhelpful ways. We may exhibit insomnia. The Heart can be associated with the great fear, apprehension, panic and even hysteria of the Heart Official itself losing control. We may become self-centered or self minded or unaware of the other Officials and their problems, letting our boundaries and limits disintegrate. We may developed palpitations or other physiological conditions of the Heart. The very worst, of course, is a heart attack, cardiac arrest or myocardial infarction, which all indicate the Heart stopping in a dead halt.
JR writes, “Our Heart is where we feel our passions, our greatest love, and most profound feelings develop, and when we want to emphasize the extent of our connections at the level of emotion or at the level of spirit itself we describe it as coming from the Heart.” The greatest connection I make with the Heart Official is the presence of being I consciously access within myself during my treatment sessions. Very often, I refer to myself as an empty vessel and see myself as a facilitator of empowering the body’s own healing mechanism. I find myself sitting with the client, as a direct link between the Earth and the Heavens. I act as a conduit for the flow of energy and allow the work to flow and unfold in the highest and best. I find this to be the easiest time for my body to be connected to the Supreme Controller. In my personal life, I seek to share this type of love, but sometimes fall short, succumbing to the human condition and expectation within myself. Neil Gumenick writes, ”Being connected to the Divine means recognizing that the Divine exists in all beings, whether those beings realize it or not, agree with us or not, are sick or well. When we are in the awareness of the one consciousness that unites us all, we are in a state of love. The Heart Official enables us to open to such love.” This is something I desire to experience in every facet of my life.
The correspondences of the Fire Element and hence the Heart, Small Intestine, Triple Heater and Heart Protector Officials are:
Emotion: Joy or Lack of Joy
Classical Five Element Acupuncture, Volume 3 by JR Worsley
Personal Class Notes ITEA 2019
The Heart Official by Neil Gumenick