The Spleen is the Yin duo to the Stomach channel whose role is to give meaning to the feeling that we received from the Stomach.
Let’s say something happened and you get a gut feeling, you can’t just be with that feeling and say “Okay, well, I have this bad feeling. I’m gonna just listen to it.” The Spleen immediately comes in to try and give meaning as to why you got that gut feeling. The Spleen is the meaning-making energetics that is individual to every person, just like the gut feeling is.
The meaning and rationalization you put on events in the world are actually not reality.
They’re subjective and solely yours. The emotional reactivity is solely yours and the rationalization and explanation is also solely yours.
Meaning is not reality
The Daoists who came up with this medicine made a very strong statement. What they were saying is that things in life, things that happen, even the food that you look at or the events in the world, they really have no meaning. They are “empty”, and the meaning comes from the interaction with you. Every single person extracts their own meaning from the same event.
Now, it doesn’t look that way sometimes, because let’s say we get a spooky feeling from a person, and we look to a friend next to us and say “Hey, look at that guy over there. Doesn’t he look creepy?” And then your friend next to you says “Yeah, kinda. I agree with you there. He does look a bit creepy.” So then you gather evidence together, you and your friend, about why that person over there is creepy looking, and in your world, in your friends world – that is the reality. That person over there has a quality that you assign to them.
Same goes to everything – food, news, events, things, dynamics between people, etc. Your body creates the meaning, feeling and rationalization of that thing that is happening. Externally, it has no meaning, but you, as the observer, creates the meaning.
That meaning is not reality. It differs from person to person.
It may be that the people that surround you are your friends because they tend to agree with your meanings and feelings.
T&T – Transformation and Transportation
The duo Stomach-Spleen is in charge of transformation and transportation in the body. Transformation and transportation means that something comes from the outside and we break it down into something that we can use. After we break it down, it is taken to wherever it’s needed in the body. This process is called: Digestion.
Without the ability to break down and without the ability to distribute, we won’t be able to extract nutrients. You can eat the best food in the world and say “This is so healthy, I got it from the organic market and all the experts say that this is the best food that you can eat!” However, if your body, inside, can’t make meaning out of it, you can’t break it down. It’s hard for you to digest, it just sits there and it doesn’t actually go to where it needs to go in the body. So it doesn’t nourish your muscles, it doesn’t build your blood and it doesn’t grow your hair because it just doesn’t have the ability to do that.
Transformation means to take something that outside of the body looks completely different, like a carrot, and break it down so that when it enters the cell, it no longer looks like a carrot. It will be unrecognizable because it is transformed into small particles of sugar and fiber that are moving around in the body – creating keratin cells, helping your eyesight and hair. But if you can’t do that, if you cannot create that magic that transforms and transports it to where it’s needed, it is actually useless for you even if it’s the best.
The same goes for any information or education. You can go to the best Ivy League schools but if your ability to take what you’re studying from your professors, mull it over, digest, assimilate, and argue with it a little bit to make sure that it actually fits what you think, what your gut and cognition tells you, and make it part of you in a way that is constructive. You change it, you transform it into something that is you. If you don’t have that ability, then all the schooling and the best education will not help you because you don’t have the ability to transform and transport.
When Digestion is Breaking Down
I think that one of the biggest things that makes the process of transformation and transportation deteriorate in the body, or maybe atrophied, is eating processed foods. Processed food is already processed and has gone through a kind of digestion, which means that the breaking down has already been done for you. If somebody else does all the digestion and breaking down for you, then what is left for you to do? Not much.
So the organs that are in charge of transformation and transportation in your body become atrophied – they get weak, become deficient and your ability to then take something that is not processed to break down, deteriorates.
I find a lot of parallels between food and information. In today’s world, the news that you get is not actually news. It’s analysis. You don’t get what happened, you get somebody’s opinion about what happened. When you get someone else’s opinion, they think for you and you don’t have to think. Your ability to critically think is rooted in the energies of the Spleen and Stomach. That is your ability to transform and transport. We atrophy those abilities when we just listen to other people’s opinion without actually breaking it down for ourselves. Give me the actual thing that happened. Just report. Give me the information and I will break it down for myself with my own ability.
You Are What You Eat
So between the Spleen and the Stomach we manufacture all the substances that we have in our body. Of course, it all comes from what we eat. Now, if the quality of what we eat is already broken down and processed then the quality of what the body can build from it is as such.
“You are what you eat” is a real statement because from what you eat, your body builds, transforms and transports the nutrients to everywhere in your body. It makes the blood, the muscles, the hair – everything is made from what you eat. So we don’t want to eat other people’s processes, we should make our own.