I’m a huge fan of acupuncture and have been receiving it for years. But it’s not enough for me to get needles stuck in me that make me feel like I’m zoning out on Mars. I also need to know a little about how those needles are manipulating my chi. So I am always picking my lovely acupuncturist’s brain to explain things to me at a lay person’s level.
This week’s lesson centered on the function of the General, for in Chinese medicine various roles are attributed to our body organs. And unlike in Western culture, where the mind is thought of as Lord of everything, in the Chinese system the heart reigns supreme. Referred to as the Emperor, everybody else is subservient to the heart. This is my kind of kingdom…
Anyway, the General oversees the liver and is in charge of decision making. However, these decisions are not made rationally in the same manner that the brain functions. Instead, the liver operates more on intuition or “gut” instinct. Once the liver knows the order, it then passes this command on to the gall bladder who is in charge of operations, or the execution of that order. Thus, if a decision is made to do something specific, the gall bladder then stimulates the energy required to put that activity into motion.
Because few of us in Western society trust our instincts and gut decisions, I asked my acupuncturist what happens when we question the logic of the General. “Then that’s anarchy,” he replied with a smile. “This wrecks havoc on the system.” (i.e. the body and mind become at war with one another).
“It takes courage to follow the General,” my acupuncturist said. “That is why when we say he or she had the ‘gall’ to do something, we mean courage is entailed.”
Personally, I find all of this fascinating and have come to learn over the years that the body has its own unique wisdom. Let’s make sure we allow it to have a voice in our primary decisions for it typically knows exactly what we need.