Chi Energy transformation within the Five Phases or Elements is central to Chinese tradition.
Five tastes of pungent, salty, sour, bitter and sweet are used in everyday cooking to affect the flavour of food, and five tones in music make music sound truly Chinese.
Melting and mixing of colours white, dark blue or black, green, red and yellow are used in chi energy transformation if something disagreeable is sensed in the environment.
The Five Phases or Elements of Metal, Water, Wood, Fire and Earth are regarded as five features inherent in all living things and should be understood as processes or tendencies in chi energy transformation rather than concrete physical manifestations.
The processes express the interdependence and restraint that is evident even in tiniest particles of life. The Five Phases are one with the natural progression toward balancing Yin and Yang, while each phase simultaneously represents its own related functions and qualities.
Nature is intelligent beyond our comprehension through its constant chi energy transformations. We can only fathom that within every cell of each living organism is a ‘Tao code’, which determines the form, function and quality of the cell’s unique expression of life.
And that expression, when not interfered with from its alignment with Tao, is always life-giving and harmonious, even in time of decay as the beauty ‘burns’ to ashes and nourishing continues in a new way.
The Interaction of Five Phases within the Body
The cyclic interaction within the body mirrors that of the Five Phases in greater nature. In the practice of Chinese Medicine, they are used in diagnosis and treatment.
Metal – Lung/Large intestine – represents autumn, decline but also substance, strength and structure. The colour is white, the flavour pungent and the negative emotions are grief and sadness; positive courage, dignity, appropriateness.
Water – Kidney/Urinary bladder. The associated season is Winter when nature is at rest before starting another cycle of growth. The colour is black or dark blue, the flavour is salty and the emotion fear or fright, which through the chi energy transformation becomes alert stillness and gentleness.
Wood – Liver/Gall Bladder – is associated with spring and activity, constantly growing and rapidly changing. The colour is green, the flavour sour and the negative emotions, when Chi is not flowing naturally, are anger, resentment, jealousy; positive are kindness, forgiveness and assertiveness.
Fire – Heart/Small Intestine and Pericardium/Triple Warmer – is associated with summer. It represents a function which has reached its maximum stage before it begins to decline – Fire is dynamic and moving, brilliant in its activity. The colour is red, the flavour bitter and the negative emotions are hate, impatience; when transformed they are love, joy, gratitude, creative enthusiasm, honour, etc.