On regulating the spirit in accordance with the Qi of autumn

Grimshaw-John-Autumn-Sun

“The three months of autumn,

they denote taking in and balance

The Qi of heaven becomes tense *

The Qi of the earth becomes bright.

Go to rest early and rise early,

get up together with the chicken.

Let the mind be peaceful and tranquil, so as

to temper the punishment carried out in autumn**.

Collect the spirit Qi and

cause the autumn Qi to be balanced.

Do not direct your mind to the outside and

cause the lung Qi to be clear.

This is the correspondence with the Qi of autumn and

it is the way to nourish gathering.

Opposing it harms the lung.

In winter this causes outflow of undigested food and

there is little to support storage. ***”

*Wang Bing: Wind blows with a cutting sound

** Violent storms in autumn appeared like a punishment. This was also the season, in ancient China, to perform executions of criminals sentenced to capital punishment. Wang Bing: When the mental Qi is hectic, one is not careful in their activities. If one is not careful in their activities, one accentuate the severity of autumn punishments, goes along with killing, and destroys life. Hence, one establishes a peaceful and tranquil mind to soften the punishments carried out in autumn.

*** Wang Bing: It is to say: to carry out the orders of summer in contrast [to the requirements of autumn]. The lung corresponds to metal and flourishes in autumn. Hence, to carry out [in autumn] the orders of summer, this harms the Qi. In winter the water flourishes and the metal perishes. Hence, the disease develops in winter. If one opposes the [orders of] autumn and harms the lung, this results in diminished Qi [with a reduced ability] to receive the storage in winter.

Comprehensive discourse on regulating the spirit in accordance with the Qi of the four seasons,  in Huang Di nei jing su wen, annotated translation, by Paul U. Unschuld and Hermann Tessenow, University of California

Painting: John Grimshaw, Autumn Sun

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