: Lungs/Large Intestines
A person with well balanced Metal energy is well organized, self disciplined, and conscientious. They like structure in their life. They are most comfortable in situations when they know the rules and can succeed by following them. Metal Qi bestows a deep inner strength, like ore mined from the mountains.
A person with Metal Qi imbalance may be grief-stricken, steeped in sadness. They may be overly critical. They may have trouble letting go. When the Metal energy is weak, there can be illnesses of the lungs – asthma, allergies, frequent colds. The Lung meridian rules the skin, so rashes, eczema, and problems with sweating can be related to Metal imbalance. The Large Intestine meridian can be affected by chronic constipation or diarrhea, or other bowel diseases.
The Metal energy peaks in the fall. In the cool, crisp, clean air of autumn, metal people feel they can accomplish anything. The color of Metal is white, and people strongly influenced by the Metal Qi may have pale complexions.
Metal — Autumn – the Lungs – the Bodily Soul
The Metal element represents both the interchange and synthesis of Qi energy. The functions of the leaf of the plant provide a good example of this activity, incorporating, as they do, the processes of transpiration and photosynthesis, the exchange of vital gases, and the transmutation of solar into nutritive energy. As the element of dynamic exchange and interaction, and of the extraction of energy from the environment, Metal is also linked to the concept of boundary. It is the physical and metaphorical “skin” through which we take in and let go.
The principal organ of the Metal element is the Lungs. “The Lungs are the origin of breath and the up welling of the animal spirits or inferior soul. The Lungs influence the body hair and have their effect upon the skin. The Lungs act as the great yin which permeates the climate in autumn” (The Yellow Emperor’s Classic Internal Medicine).
As the central organ of respiration, the Lungs are said to govern the Qi, inhaling the “pure Qi” of air and exhaling “dirty Qi”. They are responsible, in addition, for the synthesis of the nutritive- and defensive-Qi, formed from the fusion of Air- and Food-Qi. The role of the nutritive-Qi is to sustain
and nourish, and is distributed by the Lungs to all bodily organs (via the meridians); the defensive- Qi is dispersed round the periphery of the body to protect it from pathogenic invasion.
The Lungs are crucial, therefore, for ensuring the vitality of both body and mind. If Lung function is impaired, there will be tiredness, shortness of breath, sadness and grief. Poor defensive-Qi can lead to acute infections such as colds and flu.
If there is both deficiency of Lung-Qi and a weakness of the Spleen-Pancreas, the production of phlegm, or mucus, is common. Whether nasal or bronchial, phlegm can take a clear, white and copious form, indicative of cold phlegm, or a sticky, yellow form, characteristic of hot phlegm.
While the Liver is said to house the Ethereal Soul (Hun), the Lungs provide the residence of the Bodily Soul (P’o). The P’o is the bodily aspect of the human soul and forms the physical, more yin counterpart of the Hun. The bodily soul is the aspect of soul that comes from the earth and ultimately returns to the earth at death. It relates to us as spiritual beings in our current life. When we are strongly connected to P’o we will feel like spirit is embodied in our life.
The process of breathing can be viewed as the pulsating of the Bodily Soul (P’o), which relies for its inherent vibrancy on the vitality of the Qi. Living as it does in the moment, P’o is affected, in particular, by feelings of loss and grief. These emotions, in turn, can obstruct the orderly rhythmic function of the lungs as they “take in” and “let go”, reflecting an inability psychologically to fully let go and move on. P’o that is constricted by a persistent feeling of grief can therefore result in chronic fatigue and breathing difficulties. Metal types often feel separate from others and in disharmony feel disconnected from spirit. They seek to establish value through their actions and by wearing a mask that they think other people will acknowledge.
The highest expression of the Metal element is a sense of Reverence for their spirit and for life. In valuing their spirit they recognise that they have inherent value and do not need a mask to be valued. This comes when we embody spirit and recognise that all creation is linked to the one source. We regain a true perspective of our place in the Universe and see birth and death as part of the natural order of things.
The leaf of a plant is symbolic of metal in that it “breathes” for the plant, taking in sunlight and air and letting go of oxygen.
Motivations-Metal (Heaven and Lake)
Metal is about the animal self. Is it valuable? They are separated from it because they believe humanity/ masculinity/ femininity is not valuable – only spirit (outside of their bodies) is valuable.
Sometimes this needs to be addressed head on – their difficulty enjoying sex and other physical pleasures producing strong emotional responses that relate directly to the motivating feeling – sometimes they use the words “dirty”, “slutty” or something denoting fundamentally wrong.
Another key aspect of metal is that they want to ensure people don't see what is inside. What is usually underneath this is a sense of emptiness/ nothingness. This generates the search for value external to themselves (doing patterns or hoarding patterns). Once they connect with the emptiness just sit them in that feeling. Its driven by their own separation and goes when they have a sense of themselves being part of something bigger than themselves.
The need for belonging is very strong and often drives their dysfunctional power issues. They often give up their power to belong. Usually they are not blind to this need to belong and it can be a good felt sense to work with. Obviously the root of this is their inability to accept being a human.
They need to be acknowledged/ valued/ respected/ honoured. Sometimes this is the motivating force behind their pattern. Usually they will connect with one of these words more than another so use whatever word they connect with the most. Acknowledgement starts from within – they need to acknowledge their own self. This does not happen when they are constantly focusing on what others will value.