Saturday, August 9, 2014

Summer is Heart season

and you know what that means... Some of the common descriptors of the Fire element include heat, fire, passion, parties, love. 

Some less known, or perhaps less desirable, attributes of this season are excessive heat, sunburn, dehydration, mania, miscommunication.

Wait, what? Mania? Miscommunication? In this post I'd like to shed some light on how this is a natural human tendency. Some of this information may not fit perfectly into life as you know it.

In the Chinese theory of health there are 5 spiritual essences that reside within our bodies. Shen is the one that inhabits the heart of all living beings, corresponds with Summer and is associated with the Fire element. This word that has several meaningsMy focus for this post is the primary reference: divine spirit or god. This is a universal, heavenly energy.

Through shen we are connected beyond the human experience with all livers of life! Humans find kinship with all creatures, insects and plants through this common bond. Those who focus on this innate connection communicate clearly and are enriched through this expression. Famous people in history are St. Francis of Assisi, Jane Goodall and "horse whisperers." 

Another way we use Shen is to convey our unique passion to others. Most commonly through the arts, shen is the source of inspiration for visual, performance and musical artist. Much to our delight food and drink creations "made from the Heart" are nourishing and delicious manifestations of shen. Artists who develop refined capacity for this expression become "household names," as with Ansel Adams, Meryl Streep and Julia Child.

In addition to the external,  creative expressions shen also manifests through internal expression. It may be called empathy, intuition or a psychic sense, this is an impression that calls one inward for deeper knowing. In a fantasy story this is the person who perceives the intention of the other group and diverts disaster. In ancient cultures this caliber of perception is more than a myth. The 8 Immortals are revered figures in Chinese history, human beings who achieved spiritual perfection and became guides for all who would follow them. In other cultures there are examples of seers retained by political leaders to advise them at crucial turning points. This type of intuitive was often cloistered or disguised for various reasons, thus their names are rarely seen in history. 

As with the expressive gifts of art, music and foods, the inner gifts of shen must be nurtured and grown. In modern cultures a powerful intuition is not the prized gift it once was, thus people endowed with a strong flow of shen must find some way to release the intensity of their knowing. Many make use of the expressive arts for this outlet. They paint, sculpt, write and compose with unique styles that touch our lives more deeply. Examples are seen in Salvador Dali, Emily Dickinson and Stephen King, artist who clearly have more than the average message to convey.

People who have no access to creative mediums may use suppressants or are medicated to keep their intuitive capacity under control. Many who are not addressed for their unique awareness through shen may develop patterns of manic depression (extreme highs of emotional energy followed by dramatic lows) or other "psychotic" behavior. The use of drugs, legal or not, is quite likely part of the "self-medicating" routine of these folks. In Chinese health care this may be called a "shen imbalance," meaning the spirit is not at home in the person's heart and produces erratic emotional expressions in an attempt to find peace.

But I have not addressed the point of miscommunication. Our hearts express themselves through our tongues, according to the Chinese theory. However, sometimes our hearts have something to say that our minds, cultures or relationships do not want to hear. This, too is a natural condition of humanity, and has no end of historic examples. 

On an individual level, we may all choose to slow down the flow of our lives to sort out the real truth of our hearts. This may be the most practical use of meditation and prayer. For those prepared to "take heart" and untangle communication, know that there is no need or desire of the human heart that does not have a place in life. Though it may bring us to deep humility, patience and change, our hearts are vessels of divine connection. In one way or another this reality is bound to bring our personal truth to fruition.

Wishing you joy, truth and love as the summer comes to a close.

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