Discovery: the purpose of the interview
Engaging in a meaningful dialogue is sometimes called a meeting of the minds. The term Mind refers to the primary organ (and organizer) of perception. Mind, or Shen, is one of three vital substances. It is the treasure that we do not share with other animals and is associated with speech. Shen/ Mind interacts with the physical and social environments. It is in constant communication with all the faculties of the body, though it does not sense directly. In the absence of a structural abnormality, the quality of the senses is dependent on the energy from their associated Organs. For example, the Liver is the primary visual organ and is said to "open" in the eyes. The Kidney is associated with auditory functioning and opens in the ears. These sayings illustrating the relationship between the health of the organ and the flexibility of the instrument that it commands. When the Kidney is in decline: the sex drive is low; there is pain in the back; sore knees; the hair whitens like snow; we do not hear so well. Fears arise. Kidney is associated with resolution; retracting; winter; and the decline of life force. When the Liver is in disharmony: our dreams are disturbed; there are feelings of frustration; the eyes are dry; vision (literal and metaphorical) is difficult. The Liver belongs to the wood phase: growth; raw energy; spring; and suppleness. All of the vital organs connect to Mind. Pain can arise anywhere in the body, but it is the Mind that feels it. If there is a decline or upsurge in the energy in any of these, it will soon affect Mind. Disharmony in an organ system for a prolonged period of time, necessitates treatment for the Mind as well.
The healthy Mind assembles information and forms a cohesive understanding. A healthy Mind navigates the environment with appropriate confidence. Each Mind is unique in its abilities and sensitivities due to variable factors in the environment and constitution. A patient's stories and preferences give information about the state of the Mind and the body. The Mind directs the body to perform tasks and can therefore help create solutions.
What makes sense: healthy connections
Sounds resonate in the body and induce an emotional response. The sight of something turns a person's hair white. An emotional response, intangible as it seems, translates into a hormonal (physical) reaction. If a random baby cries, sometimes the new mother's milk surges forward. Sounds and images signify and initiate physical and emotional event. The primary senses anchor people to Earth and to each other. They are the bridges between the inner and outer environment. Bringing awareness to the quality of our receptiveness is a good practice that promotes sensory/ emotional hygiene- keeping those bridges in good repair. There is a Chinese medical adage that states " where there is obstruction there is pain". Unblocking the senses can re-establish connection in areas that are unresponsive or stuck, helping to regain clarity. When a psychological pain is relieved, this clarity frees the Mind to direct the proper functioning of the body.
Listening to learn
One way to nourish the Mind is by consciously revitalizing the Organs through the use of sound meditations and imagery. A practice of listening internally builds a relationship with the Organs. Mind / Shen needs relationships and mentors to be expressive. The idea that life is a spiral of experiences woven through the five phases further elucidates the dynamic between microcosm and macrocosm as it pertains to health. Health is the maintenance of flexibility and receptivity to these large cycles. Good health allows one to live and create. The Mind/Shen as the facilitator of perception and imagination, is said to reside in the Heart which is associated with the emotion of joy. Subjectively speaking, one of the virtues of being human is derived from this ability to manifest and assist joy.
The TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) practitioner's opinions and treatments are based on an image that emerges during the consult. These signs help locate the disharmony- close to the surface, in the more superficial energy pipeline- or more internal. Internal issues usually have an emotional component associated with it. The diagnosis is supported by sounds; facial expressions; the feel of the pulse wave under the finger; the topography of the tongue. All of these images and signs tell a story. Dialogue may touch upon emotions that arise, even if the complaint is a physical one. Balancing the organ associated with the emotion should have an impact on the individual's sense perception and emotional viewpoint. This allows for confirmation of which Organ is imbalanced , as well. Positive changes in perception reveal to the patient alternatives and possibilities (enabling them to change their stories) through the expansion of awareness. Joy and authenticity has been found (anecdotally) to cure many physical and emotional ailments.