Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Autumn Energy: The Pivoting Point

The passage from summer to autumn and winter is not an easy one for many people. Cooler weather and the diminution of daylight create physical and psychological changes which though subtle require adaptation of habits and mind set. The Yellow Emperor,  Huang Di, (3rd Century BCE)  left us this advice about how to adjust comfortably as summer turns into fall:

"In the three months of autumn all things in nature reach their full maturity. The grains ripen and harvesting occurs. The heavenly energy cools, as does the weather. The wind begins to stir. This is the changing or pivoting point when the yang, or active, phase turns to its opposite, the yin, or passive, phase.

One should retire with the sunset and arise with the dawn. Just as the weather in autumn turns harsh, so does the emotional climate. It is therefore important to remain calm and peaceful, refraining from depression so that one can make the transition to winter smoothly. This is the time to gather one's spirit and energy, be more focused, and not allow desires to run wild.

One must keep the lung energy full, clean and quiet. This means practicing breathing exercises to enhance lung qi [energy]. Also, one should refrain from smoking and grief, the emotion of the lung. This will prevent kidney and lung problems in winter. If this natural order is violated, damage will occur to the lungs..."

- From The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Medicine: A New Translation of the Neijing Suwen with Commentary by Maoshing Ni, Ph. D. (Shambahla Publications)