Nature is always lovely, invincible, glad,
whatever is done and suffered by her creatures.
All scars she heals, whether in rocks or water or sky or hearts.
– John Muir, John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir.
Earth is the plant we live on, the ground we walk on, the soil we grow our plants to survive. It holds the shape of our seas. The shape of the earth is round, all encompassing,nurturing and giving.
The earth is often referred to as our mother someone with unconditional love. Our mothers carry the babies to the earth, nurture, and feed them until they are strong enough to be on our own. Always knowing there will be love from the mother gives us the base or a grounding to walk. The essence of unconditional love.
The earth holds the roots to all things that grow and nourish us physically, mentally and spiritually. Roots provide our stability and sense of grounding, giving us a firm foundation. This root system enriches us with a deep sense of abundance and greatness from within. These qualities of earth come to us in different forms that affect our body, mind and spirit.
The earth element with us provides these qualities through two officials: the spleen and the stomach. The stomach officials pathway has a downward movement. The Qi follows the path of heaven to earth. It also is like gravity holding us grounded and rooted to our home.
The digestive tract also follows this pattern as food is taken in and moves downward toward the earth. The stomach official is the official in charge of rotting and ripening is as its title states. Everything that is taken in must be digested. Properly mixed foods with the best ingredients provide adequate stores of energy for all the officials. The quality and quantity of what is taken in will affect the role of the stomach and ultimately the whole system.
This official provides us with the nourishment we need to have a sense of security, satisfaction and balance. A harvest for our soul or our daily bread. When there is a loss of the harvest anxiety, whining and apprehension can develop. Security comes with having plenty of food and nourishment to keep us living life at its fullest. Food provides energy and the storage of Qi. It produces our flesh and our muscle bulk.
If we take in toxic food or poor quality food we may not digest it properly. This may cause symptoms of fullness in the stomach, mucous build up, headache, gastric reflux, vomiting, and diarrhea. Someone may say, “I cannot stand this anymore” or “I’m full up to here with that…” When the stomach has nothing to nourish the soul and the body it weakens or stresses. The spiritual loss that develops when someone is unable to care for oneself can cause depression, insecurity, instability and poor self esteem. An overly dependent person may bring about an excessive need for sympathy . An unbalanced person may or may not be able to accept the help or the sympathy it receives or lash out when offered advice. The stomach takes in all things and breaks it down into such small particles so that the essences can be absorbed as they need to be.
The stomach and spleen work in conjunction with each other because the stomach is the storage space for the distributor and transporter: the spleen. These two officials have been known to represent the meeting place of heaven and earth. The stomach takes in all the substances from earth and transforms them into essences to be distributed within the body in the heavenly form of energy also known as Qi.
If these paired officials become ill, there is no energy being passed through the body. Nothing will be processed properly, if at all and nothing but trash is being distributed. This will affect every official and organ within at some level.
The spleen is the official in charge of transportation and distribution. If it becomes imbalanced, food from the stomach will not get transported to the small intestine properly to get sorted out. If things move to quickly diarrhea may develop, if to slow one may get constipation. This can happen on three levels-body, mind and spirit. For example, one may develop diarrhea of the mouth by always carrying on, unable to keep important information to oneself. Forward movement and distribution is off balance. If the things that have been taken in are not of quality the spleen will transport them anyway to where they need to go. It does not discern because it delivers what is brought to the table. The spleen has a very busy job.
All the other officials and organs depend on the stomach and spleen so they can perform optimally as they are nourished and cared for.
Distribution is a process of movement of goods. It’s like the trucking industry. This movement must keep flowing continuously or the system backs up. If a farmers delivery truck breaks down, the produce on the truck will spoil and bad produce will be delivered. Perhaps the delivery truck hits bumpy roads bruising all the produce in the truck and detours cause delays in the delivery potentiating spoiled goods. The timing of delivery is essential.
The energy of the body, mind and spirit are affected in variety of ways that may affect the earth element. At the physical level, if one purposely injures oneself, eats rotten food causing violent diarrhea and vomiting. The body will try to prevent the bad things from being transported through the body. At the mental level, we may hear or watch violent movies and try not to assimilate this behavior into our life. We may absorb this behavior into our life, swearing and threatening to hurt others which also affect our physical and spirit level by not being able to provide loving kindness unconditionally.
The security of a good harvest can sustain and feed the body, mind and spirit by keeping all the officials in contact with the earth. The spleens pathway ascends from the earth to heaven, connecting the paths of the liver, kidney, gallbladder, and the Heart. The pathway or meridian ends beneath the tongue leading us to the five flavors.
Everyone has a taste for food, a taste for life and an affinity for certain things. As we take these tastes in, the spleen transports these flavors to where we have an affinity for them in the body, the mind or the spirit. It goes to where it will bring us the most pleasure and joy providing we follow the Tao, our way.