Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Dao of Spring- Time to Sprout, Grow and Blossom

Today is the first day of Spring where I live in the Northern Hemisphere (New Jersey, the Garden State) and to tell you the truth, this day usually slips right past me.  I either find myself absorbed in the "moment" of the day, enjoying the warmer and more sunny elements of nature, or our weather is such that it is cold and dreary and we are often in middle of a snow or rain storm. 

According to Daoist belief, the season of Spring lasts for three months.  During this time there is a blossoming and sprouting both within nature and within ourselves, arising from the dormancy of the winter months where our qi has rested and hopefully recouped.  Our daily life slowly changes from more yin (quiet) activities to becoming much more yang (outward) oriented.  Instead of sitting and reading or spending our extra time hunched over the computer, instead we find ourselves biking, walking, running... often digging in our gardens too.

In regards to The Five Elements, springtime is the season for the element wood.  Sturdy - yet strong,  supple and willing to bend, the flexibility and strength  properties of wood not only applies to our physical body but our thoughts, viewpoints, moods and mental clarity as well.

For our physical health and our internal organs, the Daoist believe we need to take extra care of our liver and gall bladder during the spring months.  The liver stores and cleans the toxins out of our blood and it is very important to do a "spring cleaning" of this vital organ so that unwanted impurities do not build up and impinge upon or physical and mental health.  The food that we eat during this time can also move from being cooked to integrating more raw vegetables and salads into our daily diet.

Below is a wonderful description of the sprouting of Spring from Neijing Chapter 2.
Enjoy your Spring!

The three months of spring are called
putting forth and displaying.
Heaven and Earth all sprout.
Ten thousand things become lush.
At night to bed, early to rise.
Briskly walk around the courtyard.
Let your hair down and relax the body in 
order to make that which is of the heart/mind sprout.
Sprout but do not kill.  Give but do not take.
Reward but do not punish.
This is the Spring of compliance of qi.
(and) the cultivation of the Dao of sprouting.
To oppose these principles injures the liver.
(Consequently) Summer will bring cold changes,
 (and) there will be little to offer one's growth.

   ~ diane fergurson

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