Everyone Needs a Good Advisor – The Small Intestine


Every Emperor needs a good advisor. Our Heart, the Emperor of the body, can sometimes pursue passions at the expense of the benefit of the body. Because of that, every emperor really needs a good advisor that can keep the benefit of the body in mind.

In the last post about the Heart, I talked about how the Heart is the energetic Emperor of the body. Chinese history is full of Emperors with a lot of dynasties and many rulers leading them. Like rulers everywhere, some are great because they care about the people and do their job, while some lose their way. They mainly lose their way as a result of pursuing power and passions at the expense of the people, instead of serving the people to their benefit. With this in mind, every emperor really needs a good advisor that puts the benefit of the empire in mind first because the Emperor is in service of the people, not of  themselves. 

In our body, the Heart has an advisor and that advisor is the Small Intestine. That might sound like a weird combination, the Heart and the Small Intestine. But the Small Intestine, if you think about food, is the part of the digestive system that sorts things out. 

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Sorting It Out

After you eat, the food goes to the stomach and the stomach churns and breaks it down. The next stop in the food’s progression is the small intestine. This is the point where the body keeps what it needs and sends it to the cells. Everything it does not need is sent down to the large intestine and out of the body. The role of the Small Intestine is to sort out what benefits you, and what belongs in the toilet. 

We can say that this process is not different from information we take-in and events that happen in life. The Small Intestine’s energy is the one that tells you:  “This thing is good for you. You should keep that. You can benefit from that and it will help you grow.” 

The Small Intestine can also tell you: “No, this is not for you. It’s interesting. The Heart was passionate about it, but really it doesn’t serve you, it really doesn’t help your growth. It doesn’t nourish you. So just let it go.”

When it comes to food, we associate what we eat with something – we associate it with memories, or with mom, or with comfort, or with bad experiences you had around it – that information comes in with the food. (I mentioned this on the post about Stomach energetics.) 

We live in a time where we can search for anything on the internet – the benefits of coffee, the benefits of wine, the benefits of kale, anything really – if you Google any of these things, you will get so many opinions. You can easily find articles that glorify the benefits in wine or in coffee while just as easily you can find articles that say never touch them. So when we research our food and decide to eat that food, the information of the value of that food comes in and sits with us. But if we get conflicting information and we take that food anyway, the Small Intestine’s energy is confused. 

To Eat or Not To Eat?

Let’s give an example of a holiday meal. You know, one of those holiday meals where there are five desserts to choose from? You stand there looking at a cake or a pie and think “Oh my god, I so want to eat this pie. It looks so good. How can I not? Who can resist this pie? I really want it.” And then the following thought is “Oh, but I shouldn’t. You know, the calories and the fat and it’s not really healthy and it’s full of sugar…” all the things that your body says “No, don’t.” 

But then you eat the cake anyway because everyone around you does and you might tell yourself a story in your head. “Oh, I’m going to go to the gym tomorrow” or “Man, I just talked to Uncle Ben for four hours and that was torture. I deserve that cake!” or something like that. 

Right? So you tell yourself a story about why you need to eat this cake, and then you eat it. When it reaches your gut, your Small Intestine is very confused, because right when you looked at the cake, you said “I shouldn’t eat it” because of all the reasons you listed and then you ate it anyway. So the energetics of the Small Intestine looks at this and says: 

“I don’t know what to do with it. Do you want to keep it or do you want to send it out? I don’t know. Are we benefiting from it? Should we eat it? Should we have not eaten it?” 

So now you have this very, very confused gut that doesn’t know what to do with the food. The result is confusion in the gut which can look like bloating or IBS, weird signs that sometimes you go to the bathroom and sometimes you can’t go to the bathroom, sometimes there’s constipation and sometimes there’s diarrhea. All it says is that your body really did not know what to do with what you just took in and it didn’t know what to do with what you took in, not because the thing by itself is bad,  but really because it was more confused by your double messaging. It didn’t know what to do with it, because you didn’t know what to do with it and if you hear yourself saying I shouldn’t do something, why would you do it anyway?

That’s something that we need to look at. If we hear the word “shouldn’t” and we do it anyway, what is that? Is that self destruction? Is that because we don’t know what’s good for us and what’s bad for us?

Guilt in the Gut

Food is just one example, of course, but anything in life can take its place. You might go around with friends and they want to do something and you hear in your mind say “No, I shouldn’t be doing that.” But then you do it anyway. You don’t do it because you want to, but you do it anyway. You know what then follows? Guilt. So after you ate that cake, at the family dinner, you get guilt. 

Guilt doesn’t sit well in your gut.

The reason they call it gut feeling is because it’s really just yours. You’re the only one that can look at something and say, I think this is good for me. And then do it without guilt. If you hear your internal advisor say “No, that doesn’t serve me. I don’t want this. This is bad for me. It’s not useful” then just let it go, don’t do it and don’t engage. Be it food, be it a habit, a passion, something your friends like.

That’s why dietary advice cannot be given en masse. It cannot be given to everybody. There is no blanket statement of “This is good for everyone. This is bad for everyone.” At the end of the day. Your gut is only yours, not the experts. Not Google’s – the gut is yours.

So help your Emperor by listening to your gut, your advisor, pursue everything you want to do. But really stop and pause and if you hear “shouldn’t” then maybe don’t.


from the heart

From the Heart 

We have a lot of sayings about the heart. We say that a person can have a big heart, or to “speak from the heart.”

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