LIVE(R) LONG AND PROSPER
The concept of Qi, one's vital life force, runs through the foundation of many cultures, especially those cyclically based rather than linear based. In yoga it is called prana. The Iroquois tribe call it Orenda. This concept of a connective life force running through all energetic/living beings is not limited to TCM. It is as if we are all little knots on a single strand of yarn. We are separate, yet made of the same material and connected. Life is a yarn ball knotted to obscurity.
Qi is the source of the energetic flow and reigns over the proper function of all organs. When Qi flows unobstructed and free, our bodies are therefore healthy and happy. The organs are system of functions that are not limited to the Western anatomical functions. Each organ supports the healthy function of another.
The liver regulates the movement of Qi throughout the body and therefore blood as Qi moves blood. It also stores blood. When the liver Qi is stagnant, issues of circulation and metabolism arise.
The sensory organ associated to the liver are the eyes. Not only does it affect the eyes physically, but also with how we perceive the world. It grants us clear vision to reality and how we connect with it. Is our vision clouded with hurt and anger, or can we see things the way they are rather than how we perceive them? Physically, liver Qi stagnation manifests as red or dry eyes, myopia, blurry vision, floaters, and often accompanied with ringing in the ears, headaches, and a bitter taste in the mouth.
The liver also plays a major role in managing our emotions. It is associated with the emotions of anger and frustration. Frequent bouts of temper tantrums, irritability, outbursts of anger, being rigid, trouble letting go, or feelings of frustration can both stagnate liver Qi as well as be symptoms of stagnation. The liver nourishes the tendons and ligaments creating flexibility, both physically and mentally.
One can see there is a connection between all the functions of the liver both on a physical and metaphysical level. Clarity of vision, flexibility, and letting go. These are all qualities that unfortunately are scant in our modern age. The TCM belief of the bodily systems reminds me that we as individual human beings can be compared to the organs. We need to ensure that we are well regulated and well functioning in order to help the other members of our system - not limited to other human beings, but to the surrounding natural world. When other parts of the system dysfunction, we as individuals energetically dysfunction as well. The health of others is also our health. The health of ourselves is the health of others. Be kind. Take care. Slow down.