The Devil Didn’t Make Me Do It… My Liver Did!

What energy lurks in yonder liver?

What energy lurks in yonder liver?

Some years ago the daughter of a friend of mine observed that the difference between her dad and me was that I thought before I spoke.

This struck me as odd, since I knew there was nothing rational going on in my head between something happening and my responding to it. It was true that I rarely let loose with a torrent of words, but I thought I was just slow.

Still, I doubt that my friend’s daughter would say the same thing today.

I find I have become more spontaneous, and quicker to say what I think. I don’t know why this is. Perhaps age is causing me to become Lucy Loose-Lips. But I suspect it is due in larger measure to my qigong practice.

I find I am more confident, more creative, and just generally a bit less constricted in many areas—all of which are things you’d expect from a practice that aims to help you relax the grip of your intellectual mind so that your body’s knowing can be expressed. Indeed, I have a qigong friend who has noticed similar things happening in herself.

Mostly I think being more spontaneous is good; certainly it’s more real. But sometimes I realize that there’s an edge to what has just popped out of my mouth, or that I’ve sounded harsher or more vehement than I thought I felt, or that I’ve said something I simply shouldn’t have said at all and have no idea why I said it. Several recent incidents have made me want to know where in my unconscious being my edge is coming from.

My qigong training tells me I should look to my organs to understand my unconscious emotions—something I really don’t want to do because communicating with my organs is at the outer edge of my belief system and way beyond my ability.

But according to Traditional Chinese Medicine and the theories underlying qigong, each organ has particular energetic responsibilities and positive attributes, or virtues, and each organ tends to hold on to particular emotions that can block or drain the body’s energy.

Take the liver, for example. According to Yi Ren Qigong, the liver is energetically responsible for self-refinement and self-fulfillment. Its virtues are integrity, loyalty and happiness. Emotionally, it’s related to such things as expectation, satisfaction and feelings of success, on the one hand, as well as anger, frustration, disappointment and feelings of failure on the other.

I’m trying to remain open to the possibility that my organs are connected to my emotions; after all, it’s no more weird than some of the other things I now believe to be true.

But although I took a weekend seminar devoted to the energetic life of the liver and its partner, the gall bladder, and although I took weekend seminars devoted to five other organ pairs, the teachings pretty much washed over me. Maybe something happened as I did the exercises to strengthen the various organs and release negative energies from them, but I didn’t feel it. I simply wasn’t ready for those seminars and—sigh—I may need to take all of them again one of these days.

But as I ponder what to do about the hidden emotions that sometimes slip into my words and deeds—hmmm, maybe this has always happened, only practicing qigong, like practicing Buddhist meditation, is giving me the ability to step back and recognize it—I’m thinking that taking an organ approach might be my best shot. I’ve done too much talk therapy to think more words could be the answer.

I do feel energy in the vicinity of my various organs when I’m practicing qigong, and perhaps I can stretch a bit to consider that some of that energy might be energy that I’d be better off without. Maybe, for example, there’s some anger lurking in my liver that’s manifesting itself in words I later wish I hadn’t said.

I guess I need to dig into my notes from those organ seminars to see which exercises I should do.

That’s daunting, but it couldn’t hurt….

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