Fusion of Five Elements Practice
Taoists talk and write about ‘becoming one with nature,’ and they also have methodical practices for making connections between the inner and outer universes. The Fusion of the Five Elements practice begins with understanding the how the five elements are represented in nature and the interaction of these five elements in our outer world.
For me, seeing the five elements and the seasons helped me understand the elements in my body. The energy in my liver or lungs, for instance, seemed abstract and confusing. But when I observed the wood element (or phase) and metal element (or phase) of energy in nature, I understood my body more. The connections between inner and outer can be described in this way:
- Kidneys, Water (oceans, rivers, lakes), Winter
- Liver, Wood (trees, grass, flowers), Wood
- Heart, Fire (fire in the earth, fire on the earth, the Sun), Summer
- Spleen, Earth (the Earth itself, mountains, fields), Harvest Season
- Lungs, Metal (clouds, waterfalls, rain), Autumn
So, when I feel cold, or my lower back feels tight, I think of what I might do in the depths of winter—which is warm up. So, I can use the back of my hand to massage my kidney area and it will warm my entire body. Similarly, if I am feeling ‘burned out,’ or stressed, I am being too much like fire and the summer season resolves itself by shifting into harvest season and then autumn. A literal fire resolves itself by calming down and sinking back to the earth. The low-level embers can burn much longer than a bright fire that reaches out in all directions.
The practice is called ‘fusion’ because we want to bring the energies of all five elements into the center. In this meditation, one can focus on their navel center and, one-by-one, bring the energy of each organ listed above to the navel center. I place one hand on my kidneys and one on my navel—then breathe back and forth many times, visualizing the energy from the organ flowing into the center. Then, proceed with each organ listed. There is much more to the Fusion practice and it is the doorway to the Taoist system of internal alchemy—but this can be a good start!
The Alchemist’s Tao Te Ching:
Transforming Your Lead Into Gold