In today’s post, I will talk about the Metal Element, the fourth element of the Five Elements system. For practicality’s sake, I will explain it from a practical viewpoint – rather than from a philosophical viewpoint – as I did in my previous posts on the Five Elements. Please note that the below content is for informational purposes only and is in no way is intended to be medical advice.
The Metal Element promotes order and organization
While reading about the Five Elements, you may have wondered, “Where is the air element? Why is air missing in these Five Elements?”
Well, it is the Metal Element that may correspond to this missing air element. Like air, the Metal Element embodies our connection to the Universe. Its Yin organ is the lungs and its Yang organ is the large intestines. Its sensory organ is the nose. The Metal Element also governs our skin, body hair and respiratory system.
According to Taoist cosmology, the season of Metal is autumn, which marks the beginning of the Yin phase. Leaves turn color and fall down, the luminosity of the light decreases and plants withdraw their energy inward from their leaves. The essence of autumn is condensation, letting go and turning inward. Letting go is an important aspect of the Metal Element that teaches us an essential lesson of life.
The Metal Element expresses itself in condensation, contraction, reduction, organization and order. In our lives, the Metal Element corresponds to our third age. Therefore, the qualities of Metal manifest in our old age when our bodies become smaller in size and we seek to organize our surroundings by disposing of extraneous belongings or moving into smaller dwellings. Given that this element is Yin, some of the Yin qualities are also manifested in our old days as we become more conservative, inactive, contemplative and slow.
When we are old, our energy is directed inward and consequently, we lose the bursting vitality of our heydays. Our outer beauty is concealed when we reach this phase, as wrinkles become increasingly visible and the physical glow begins to leave our bodies. Our physical decline is not very different from the wilting and withering of plants in autumn, the season of Metal. Given that the skin is assigned to the Metal Element, interestingly it is also our skin that usually gives away our age.
In our old age, some of us could be susceptible to sorrow, grief, or sadness, which are the emotion of Metal. In extreme cases, some of us could exhibit characteristics that are cold, domineering, cynical, pessimistic, uncooperative or extremely inflexible, all of which are negative expressions of the Metal Element.
Symptoms of an unhealthy Metal Element
If your Metal Element is unhealthy, you may have a tendency to cleave to your opinions, values, possessions, objects or emotions. Because of your proclivity to reject what is new and opposing to your value system, you tend to withdraw yourself and may foster a pessimistic view on life. You could be obsessed with organization and hygiene. Others could also find you cold and domineering. An imbalance in the Metal Element often manifests in excessive sorrow and grievance.
Physically, an imbalance in the Metal Element often leads to problems in the nose and sinuses, such as empyema, rhinitis or sinus infections and various skin problems such as moles, warts and excessively dry skin conditions. Its physical symptoms also include asthma, chronic cough, shortness of breath, constipation, hemorrhoids, anal fistula, colitis and large intestine cancer.
Toxic emotion for the Metal Element – excessive and prolonged sorrow
Sorrow undermines the health of the lungs and the Metal Element. Excessive and prolonged sorrow damages the lungs, organ of Metal. When you are inflicted with grief or sadness, the emotion impedes the flow of life energy in the lungs. When you feel sad, your life energy withdraws inward and is contracted in the chest area. Have you seen a person pounding her chest when she cries in extreme sadness? Have you also seen a person crouching his shoulders when he succumbed to sadness?
Sure, sorrow is a necessary ingredient of life, given that it allows us to come to terms with pain and loss. Once experienced thoroughly, we must let go and move ahead with our lives. When the sorrow persists and continues to wring our hearts, it could create a lot of problems in our lives.
Things to remember
If you want to keep your Metal Element healthy and in balance, learn to let go, don’t look back, and don’t to hold on your sorrow. In addition to damaging the Metal Element in the body, sorrow also tends to create more negative experiences. Keep in mind that we attract what we focus on. We receive what we send out. Your thoughts are magnetic. If you continue to dwell on sad memories, you will continue to create experiences that reflect your sadness. If you are trapped in sorrow, you will find more reasons to grieve in your heart. As the outer world continues to reflect your inner sorrow, you will find more reasons to feel sad about your life.