Chinese Medical theories place the mind within the governance of the Heart System. It is a place where expansion of thought, ideas, creativity and passion gives rise to action and fruition. The counterbalance to that highly valued energy is the practice of quietness, introspection, restfulness and stillness.
A keen execution of the two energies brings clarity, productivity and peace of mind. Here is where we all like to function. Here is where our days are spent restoring our mental resourcefulness while preparing to discover and create new joys, be they in careers, relationships or something totally new.
In Sleep, We Turn Off Our Mind
The burdens of the day are laid to rest as maintenance and reparation of our internal viscera is executed. The Fire of our pursuits gives way to the letting go of what is. And through this mental surrendering we heal and refuel.
But what if that Fire continues to rage? What if it doesn’t diminish to a low simmer either because we are rebelling against our best intentions or because we are ignoring our visceral need for downtime?
In the Chinese theory, this imbalance often presents as symptoms such as anxiety, nervousness, insomnia, agitation, depression, emotional outbursts, and even mental illness. On a more somatic level, symptoms such as headaches, neck pain, hypertension, chest and gastric distention may surface.
This sampling of signs and symptoms is a picture of what may happen when the element of Fire drives us to an imbalance which is deeply in need of correction. But there are other pictures that may present as well.
In today’s world many of us feel the weighty pressure of simply sustaining ourselves and our families. Our hopes and dreams haven’t come to fruition in the ways we’d prefer, whether driven by discrepancies in our relationships, careers, finances, or simply wishing that a stop light would turn green already! The conditions of our lives are often inconsistent with what we imagine they should be.
So we operate at a low grade panic. Chronically.
This is immensely taxing to the adrenal system. Operating at this low-grade stress response (otherwise known as the fight-or-flight response) compromises our thinking, our immunity, our sexual life, our digestive health, our mental and physical resourcefulness. Small challenges appear bigger, and mentally a whole different story comes to our mind that is not based in reality.
If we can learn to mediate our perspective, and fundamentally shift our thinking (as in Free your Mind and the rest will follow!), we can make better decisions to take better care of ourselves, adjust our view from isolation to inclusion, find sources of pleasure, develop purpose and subsequently, joy.
Maybe even use that red light as a time to take a deep breath and force a smile.