The synergistic state of P'o, or the Lungs, is openness, receptivity, and non-attachment. The deficient, or hypoactive, state of P'o is hypersensitivity, deprivation, self-pity, dejection, despondency, and oppression. The excessive, or hyperactive state of P'o is stoicism, defensive pride, selfishness, greed, jealousy, and envy. Let's look at how these chronic emotional states create imbalances in these meridians according to Chinese medicine.
- difficulty breathing, asthma
- chest congestion, distension
- dry mouth, excessive thirst
- sore throat
- voice loss
"In this psychic realm, the Self is refined through contact with the material plane, or with worldly desires." One general type of desire is to possess things. When we are healthy, these desires generate energy and lead us on to explore life. In a deficient, hypoactive state characterized by hypersensitivity, deprivation, self-pity, and oppression, however, we are blinded by our desires and caught up in their snare.
"Thinking we have been deprived of something we need to possess, we feel oppressed and sorry for ourselves." We sink into self-pity and have envy for others who "seem to have what we are denied." The Taoist philosophy is to take all things in moderation, to travel light, and to live simply. Being in touch with our true desires through our innate self rather than being burdened by "a thousand cares about a hundred possessions" would be the essence of effortless living according to Chinese Medicine.
-Iona Teeguarden, The Joy of Feeling
Difficulty in letting go can manifest in depressed breathing and respiratory problems, or in problems of the colon (Lung's partner meridian). "Constipation, literally, is holding onto old shit; it can correlate with abdominal tensions designed to hold back hurtful feelings." Even a cold, sore throat and mucus (traditional Lung meridian associations) build-up could be a signal for us to stop, slow down, and take the time to feel.
When we suppress our breathing, we may be defending ourselves against threatening emotions, like anxiety or grief. "It is also the most basic form of the most basic defense mechanism: denial. We learn to limit our breathing to defend against our feelings long before we learn to use the verbal form of denial, and well before we learn sophisticated defenses like rationalization and sublimation. Limiting the breathing is a bodily form of denial. It is a way of disappearing, a way of shrinking, by not revealing who we are and what we feel. Acupressure release helps us go through grief, partly by freeing the respiratory system so that we can breathe through the pain and tension."
In relationship to Five Element Theory, Lung meridian imbalance may show up as "an internal feeling of heaviness, or of being oppressed and weighed down. This feeling is symptomatic of a grief reaction; other indications are fatigue, hollow or empty feelings in the chest or abdomen, and feeling like there is a lump in the throat. There may be anxiety symptoms like agitation, insomnia and autonomic nervous system hyperactivity. Depression is likely and anorexia is possible in extreme cases."
Anxiety may also stem from loss or the fear of loss and from an inability to accept the flow of change. Change feels like a hindrance, rather than a rebirth. Anxiety shows up in different ways in different meridians. Anxiety of the Lungs would show up as fear of the unknown and the inability to respond appropriately to change. "Anxiety is a response to the threat of change." In relation to P'o, anxiety has to do with the basic insecurity of life--the fact that everything changes. Anxiety of the Heart and Lung meridians are part of a vicious cycle that is created by anxiety about symptoms of anxiety. These may lead to "difficulty breathing, choking or smothering sensations, chest pain or discomfort, tingling in the hands or feet, feelings of unreality, sweating, hot and cold flashes, dizziness or unsteadiness, faintness, trembling or shaking."
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Teeguarden, Iona Marsaa. (2009). Jin Shin Do® Bodymind Acupressure® Advanced Supplement. Idyllwild, CA: Iona Marsaa Trust.
“Lu-1 Central Residence XHONGFU - Acupuncture Points." Acupuncture School Online: Developing Acupuncture Culture. Retrieved from http://acupunctureschoolonline.com/lu-1-central-residence-zhongfu-acupuncture-points.html
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