Embody the Metal Element to persevere and let go of what’s holding you back
Greetings Qigong and Five Element Enthusiasts!
The seasons are changing as we move into Autumn with the Metal Element here to greet us. We’re one week away from the equinox so it serves us well to be ahead of the ball and begin inquiring into the unique energies that metal brings to the forefront.
If you’ve been joining my monthly Five Element Sync, you know how quickly the elements transform and at the same time manage to express themselves completely in their own season. Make sure to join us for the next Sync on Saturday, September 30th. Hearing every participant’s experience (whether during the live session, or by email) of navigating through the ever-changing cycle of the elements helps to inform us all as to how we may well adapt, keep our energy high, and stay in flow with our highest path.
Essential characteristics of the Metal Element
- Governs the lungs and large intestine.
- Responsible for respiration and elimination.
- Pertains to the negative emotions of sorrow, hopelessness, and apathy.
- The virtue associated with metal (in five element theory) is courage.
- The paramita (life-practices from Tibetan Buddhism) is perseverance.
- Positive physical characteristics are strength and stability.
- The joy of metal is living a life infused with a sense of purpose.
- Metal is kept in check by the Fire Element.
I always like to start with the good stuff, so in this first post for the Autumn season I begin with the paramita related to the Metal Element. If you don’t recall, the paramitas are life-practices prescribed to the bodhisattva and other adherents of Tibetan Buddhism. The connection between the five elements of Chinese philosophy and the paramitas of Tibetan Buddhism is self-evident, but little has been shared with the world about this powerful relationship. To learn more about this connection and how to apply it in your qigong practice, make sure to check out my online course, Five Element Mastery.
The paramita for the Metal Element is perseverance! Let me share a couple of lines from a summary of this paramita, Virya, by a Buddhist non-profit organization, The Heart of Dharma Collection:
“The word virya means persistence and perseverance in the face of disillusionment, energetically striving to attain the supreme goal of enlightenment. We practice with persistent effort and enthusiasm because we realize the tremendous value and benefit of our practice.”
“This paramita is the enlightened quality of energy, vigor, vitality, endurance, diligence, enthusiasm, continuous and persistent effort.”
“With joyous effort and enthusiastic perseverance, we regard failure as simply another step toward success, danger as an inspiration for courage, and affliction as another opportunity to practice wisdom and compassion.”
“Without developing Virya Paramita, we can become easily disillusioned and drop our practice when we meet with adverse conditions.”– The Heart of Dharma Collection
Where’s the Emphasis?
What I love most about this paramita is the way it frames “perseverance.” This term typically brings to mind images of struggle and hardship, but what the paramita emphasizes is joy and enthusiasm! Developing these characteristics is certainly what is needed most to overcome the challenging negative emotions of sorrow and apathy, and to sustain the energy to fulfill your life purpose!
The joy and enthusiasm of a healthy Metal Element stem from a strong connection to your purpose and higher calling in life. When you are sure of your life purpose and keep it in mind at all times you are continuously energized and inspired to carry on in your endeavors, despite any adversity.
There is a unique freedom that comes from knowing your purpose. When you know why you are here and what you’re here to do you can creatively arrange your life (career, relationships, health, hobbies, etc) in ways that make it all fit, and infuse every area of your life with greater joy and meaning. Knowing your purpose and integrating it into every facet of your life is the greatest way to keep your heart uplifted and most effectively support those around you in an optimum way.
Do you have a strong sense of your purpose in life? Does it come and go? Can you feel it at times but then get distracted with other things?
These questions and more are what we’ll explore as we continue the Five Element Sync through the Autumn season:
- How do you find your purpose?
- What are the best tools to overcome sorrow, hopelessness, and apathy?
- How do you identify what needs to be “let go” from your life to live with more vitality, joy, and meaning?
- What’s the ideal process for “letting go” (physically, emotionally, and spiritually)?
- How do you connect with your higher self for sustained inspiration and energy?
We’ll discuss these topics as we move through Autumn and stay in sync with the Metal Element. And, as always, you’ll be practicing lots of qigong, meditation, visualization, and other exercises that apply specifically to the energy present in this season. Plus, you’ll hear wisdom from other authors and practitioners who have information to utilize in staying well adapted as you move through the five element cycle.
Between now and my next post, I recommend practicing the qigong exercises I shared in our last Sync. The second brocade, the Archer Stance, is a great one to begin working with the energy of the Metal Element. The lungs are big when it comes to your natural immunity, so keep up your practice as we begin heading into the cold season.
Here’s a video link to the segment of our most recent Sync where I share the first five movements of the Eight Brocades.
Remember to subscribe to my email list! I’ll send you the full video of the most recent Sync and make sure to let you know when we go live for our next meeting!
– Adam Holtey