Life As A Forced State


Think of life as a forced state. The norm in nature is a state of equilibrium with the environment. A forced state (extortion) means that it possesses a higher energy potential than that of the environment, like a light globe or the sun. A forced state is a state of imbalance that will eventually  return to balance. Everything that is born must die.

‘Ageing is sign that the cells within a living system have reduced capacity for re-excitation and rejuvenation’

Ageing is the body losing its power over time and eventually there is zero capacity for re-excitation… biological death.

Ageing is this spontaneous process that we share with all living systems. The common experience of ageing entails low energy, bodily changes, vulnerability to disease and lower adaptability to changes.


‘We are not born as humans… we become humans’

This is a psychological factor differentiating us from animals. A human being is what one becomes in the course of life. Humans at an early age are interested and aware of ageing. We increasingly become conscious of death as our ultimate reality.

What happens to us when we die? This is the beginnings of metaphysics – our assumptions about reality. With death being such a critical component of life, many philosophers have suggested that fearing it is irrational. However, experience suggests we humans are subjective, experiential, emotional and naturally fear ageing and death.

In spirituality, the highest level of human experience is often referred to as ‘immortality’, no fear of death… think of the great masters or sages. There are four main human mythologies related to this fear of death: elixir, resurrection, reincarnation and legacy. It is my belief that these myths are natural creations of the human heart to reduce the fear of death and to encourage you to focus on what is most important to you in life.

Chinese Medicine

Chinese medicine has documented observations on ageing since early times and has observed that growth and decline are less linear, but rather, more cyclical. The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon 黄帝内经 Huángdì Nèijīng (200BCE) – the fundamental doctrine source of Chinese medicine – discusses natural rhythms and cycles throughout. In regards to ageing:

More about Female Jing Cycles of Seven

More about Male Jing Cycles of Eight

‘The ancients believed change and transformation are the only constants’

Age related changes occur in everyone, and while there is no direct way to predict how each person will age, there are probabilities.

Chinese medicine is of the belief that this process can be positively or negatively affected by our lifestyle choices and our emotional and spiritual development.

In Chinese medicine it is believed that genetics, environment, lifestyle and emotional responsiveness all play a role in balance, health and ageing. These are stated to be the ‘causes of imbalance’ in Chinese medicine. It is apparent that the ‘causes of disease’ are similar in modern biomedicine – think genetics, pathogens, diet & exercise and psychology.

However, the striking difference is that Chinese medicine for over 3000-years have believed that more than 70% of our imbalances, disease and accelerated ageing come from the latter two – lifestyle and emotional responsiveness.

In comparison, I get the feeling that biomedicine has the alternative view, where they believe more than 70% of illness and disease stem from the first two, genetics and environmental pathogens. I would like to point out here that there is not an absolute correct answer to this question. I would like to further point out that our cultural bias here makes a difference as to how we understand imbalance and, therefore, influences our health strategy. i.e.,  how we try to promote balance and treat disease.

Even though the ageing process is inevitable, the rate at which we age is variable. Even though our earthly body will follow the seven & eight year cycles from our birth, the degree and intensity of decline is influenced by how we choose to live. The The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon suggests that people in what it considered ancient times (remember that this book is over 2000 years old, so ancient times refers to 4-5000 years ago) knew and cultivated the ‘way’, typically living to be over 100 years of age and even beyond.

What Role do the Organs Play?

Chinese medicine believes that life, consciousness, and our reality are produced by the five organ systems. These organ systems within us are designed and created as a microcosm of the cosmos:

Liver (spring)

Heart (summer)

Spleen (earth)

Lungs (autumn) 

Kidneys (winter)

I use a capital letter and italics (e.g. Liver) here as these are not simply physical organs but represent, what I like to refer to as, an ‘organ system’. It is more like an metaphorical ‘organ system’ that actually refers to the operation a distinct Qi (energy, information, consciousness) within each of these entities. The Chinese medicine organ systems include the physical organ, but are much more than that, also including:

  1. their prescribed energetic functions
  2. their meridian (information network)
  3. its relationship to parts of the body and senses
  4. and the observation that each organ embodies it’s own consciousness

These organ systems combine in an ordered fashion to give humans, what Chinese medicine refers to as, our three treasures, 三寶 sānbǎo, which consist of:

精 essence (jīng)

氣 energy ()

神 spirit (shén)

When these three treasures are full and in balance with each other, we exhibit maximum vitality and clarity, experiencing the full potential of human consciousness.

All organs are affected by ageing as the body’s ability to maintain, repair and defend itself declines over time. Let’s now discuss each organ system one at a time in relation to ageing. From a clinical point of view the nurturing the Kidney and Spleen systems are considered the keys to longevity and the main targets of treatment.

More about individual organ systems in relation to ageing

Seasons of Life

Along with living in accordance with the seasons of the day, the month, the year, we must also live in accordance with the seasons of life.

In the spring and summer of life, we have abundant Qi. And even though we should still live in accordance with health preservation principles, it is said that this abundance allows us to ‘swim up river’.

In the autumn and winter of life, we no longer have that luxury.

Think of it like a Qi bank account and you must balance withdrawals with deposits. If we drew too much out in our earlier years then life can be more challenging in our later years. If we save and deposit early in our lives, we have more chance to fulfil our true potential. Even if our Qi bank statement suggests we still owe, small daily deposits consistently decrease the shortfall.

Think of imbalance acting as a guide, like a good financial planner, providing us an opportunity to better understand our situation, make some changes and improve our life in the future. Understanding your imbalance using Chinese medicine principles and creating a health strategy are not only about improving your physical health and Qi bank account, but also facilitate greater life potential, higher purpose and better alignment with the life you were meant to be living.

Either way, as we age we must follow the rhythms of nature more carefully and more wisely. It may be time to work smarter, not faster! Balance is, and always has been, the key!