Of the four sensory signatures of colour, sound, smell and emotion I always think the most accessible initially are the emotional signs. The others are likely to be more difficult for us to detect, since our senses tend to become blunted as we grow. Our emotional sensitivity, however, has to continue to be sufficiently acute throughout life to guide us through the intricacies of human relationships, and this is why we may often concentrate our diagnostic antennae more upon how a patient makes us feel emotionally than upon whether we can detect a specific smell or colour. With time, of course, our other senses grow sharp enough to help us with our diagnosis, but even now, after 40 years of practice, I find that my first impression of a patient is based upon their emotional impact upon me. Subsequently, I will draw upon information my other senses give me to add to this.
At least that is true for me, but may not of course be the same for other five element practitioners. One of my fellow students at our
Here, too, though, we must beware of relying too heavily upon boxing the elements into too rigid categories. Something like this is always likely to happen as a result of being told that a particular emotion is assigned to each element. If we take Wood, for example, whose emotion is described as anger, it becomes all too easy to think that any expression of anger must point to this element, whereas experience will gradually help us understand that each element can express anger in its own way, since every person, whatever their element, has a liver and a gall-bladder, which are Wood’s organs within us. For example, I am of the Fire element, but can all too often explode with anger, but for very different reasons from those which my Wood or Water friends will express. Earth’s sense of fear differs from that of Water, Wood, Metal or Fire, just as Metal’s expression of joy differs from that of each of the other elements.
These thoughts have been stimulated by another email from my very “curious” French acupuncture friend, Pierre. Here are his latest questions to me:
“Which element is the most connected with curiosity? And particularly in the sense of discovery and novelty?