Every day I receive confirmation that the elements do indeed imprint a personal stamp upon each one of us in the shape of one of the five elements. It is both exhilarating and humbling to receive these continuing proofs of the truth of what I practise. I received one such confirmation at a fellow acupuncturist’s practice a few days ago, when I was asked to help a patient of hers.
A few years ago this patient
had suddenly begun to experience severe pains down his body, accompanied by
strange involuntary jerking movements of his left leg. I asked him whether he had been suffering
from any particular stresses at the time the pains started, perhaps something
which he might experience as a shock to the system. “No“, he said, but then I noticed his eyes
suddenly filling with great sadness. “Is
his element Metal then?”, I began to ask myself, as I saw this look of
grief. We are always being given
pointers to the elements if we are sensitive enough to notice them, however
slight they may be, little gifts of help.
And then came another gift. He was
silent for quite a while as I took his pulses, and then, out of the silence, unexpectedly
said quietly, “I always wished I had had some relationship with my
father.” Aha, I thought, who but Metal
would say this? For of course Metal has
a particular association with the father.
Metal is the “if only”
element, the element that looks back into the past, and often thinks more about
this past than about the present. So
here was a double pointer to Metal, the grief in the eyes and the immediate connection
with a father who, though still living, is as though lost to him.
So I continued with my
questioning, guiding it now along a path that my experience tells me that Metal
will accept. It wants to be left alone
to make its own connections and assess for itself what is relevant or
irrelevant. So I suggested lightly that
maybe something had indeed happened around the time all this pain appeared.
“Maybe some stress at home or at work, perhaps?
But only you will know what that might be.” And I added, “Perhaps the involuntary jerking
of your leg is because you want to kick somebody!” We both laughed, and then he was given his
first treatment on Metal, just the source points, and he left with this
rather light, almost joking remark hanging in the air.
A few hours later he phoned, and wanted to tell us both something he had never told
anybody else before. Two years ago his
wife had had an affair with his best friend which had devastated him. They had worked through this now, but he
could not forgive his friend, and never wanted to see him again – another great
loss in his life. I suspect that now that
he has admitted to his anger, he will no longer unconsciously need to kick out,
either at his wife, or more likely at his friend, as good treatment focused on
his Metal element helps him gradually heal.
This was further evidence for
me that we need only lightly suggest something to Metal, and then stand back to
allow them space to work out their own solutions, since Metal is so acute and
quick at making connections for itself.
How much we achieved in such
a short time!
I’m sure five element
acupuncturists reading this will expect me to write about any other signs of
Metal I noticed in terms of CSOE. His
emotion I have talked about, his colour was not very clearly what I associate
with Metal. I couldn’t detect any smell
at all, but the sound of his voice was very flat, very yin, dragging me down
with it. This is the sound which I
associate with Metal’s weeping tone.