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.” Expressions like “light hearted” or “heavy hearted” and even things like “you broke my heart.” All of those things, even though we think they’re a figure of speech, in Chinese medicine, are very true and they have a reason.
The energy of the first four Primary channels (Lung, Large Intestine, Stomach and Spleen) are about survival – breathing and eating. Breathing and eating are basic survival needs. but we haven’t been put on this planet just to survive. A plant breathes and eats but we, the human race, were put here for a different reason than plants, and that reason is rooted in the Heart.
Heart to Heart
The Heart is about interactions with other people in society. A person that has a big heart has a lot of friends and loves to make connections with other people. When you speak from your heart, you speak your truth. You’re honest, you say exactly what you want to say and it’s true to who you are. The way we interact with society is via speech. In Chinese medicine, the Heart connects with the tongue, and enables us to speak truly and connect to others.
If someone was raised in a restrictive environment, maybe an environment that dictates what they should believe and how they should conduct their life, in other words, being censored from expressing their true thoughts, they might develop linguistic issues. Let’s say you grew up in a religious household that is very, very strict where you don’t even get the chance to ask the questions that you’re curious about because you can’t question anything. That child’s curiosity is being censored because of strict rules. That child can develop issues such as dyslexia, stutter, or even a complete loss of speech.
Follow Your Emperor, Follow Your Heart
In the government that is our body’s energetic network, the Heart is the Emperor. The Emperor is above the government. It’s the ruler, which really means that everything you do in life should be dictated by the Emperor. So everything that you do in life really should be heart-centered and come from your true self.
In western medicine, we look at the heart as the pump that moves the blood. When we talk about the blood in Chinese medicine, we talk about the carrier of emotions, memories and daily experiences of your life – the blood carries those things. So when the Heart moves the blood, it means that the heart has the capability to move you emotionally. When something moves you, it moves the blood, it touches your heart.
Now, since the heart opens to the tongue, it is also about expressing those feelings and emotions that you have and talking about them, expressing what you really feel. If somebody has blood issues like blood clots, it literally means the blood is not moving. Metaphorically it means that they are not moving some aspects of emotions, memories or experiences.
So when somebody breaks your heart, it’s quite literal in Chinese medicine. It means that the feelings that you had that you never moved and never gotten rid of, or you never got over literally made your heart break.
What Brings You Joy?
The emotion most associated with the Heart is, naturally, joy.
When you live from your heart, that expression can only be joyous. Heart to Heart communication. Person to person communication is joyous. There should be celebration when we connect with other people. I spoke a lot about the experience over the past few years of being under restrictions and isolations, and one of the most obvious restrictions that has to do with the Heart is isolation and lack of joy – forcing people to be distanced from each other, not to stand next to each other, not to express love and connection.
Joy is the natural result of openness and connection with other people. The Heart is also associated with passions. Everything that you are passionate about also brings you joy. This is why they say that if you do what you love, and you work from your heart, you will never work a day in your life because it will come from the true expression of who you are. It will not feel like work. It will be an extension of yourself, the work of your Emperor.