In Chinese medicine the liver is often compared to the strategic general at the head of an army, utilising the power of body and mind to keep us in a state of equilibrium.
The liver is an amazing organ, dealing with hundreds of tasks and working overtime in dealing with carcinogenic materials and other toxins that bombard the body. One of its primary functions is the storage of blood and regulating the flow of blood to the circulatory system in accordance with our physical activities. When the body is resting the blood is kept in “storage” for the next phase of activity.
In addition the liver controls the activity of muscles, tendons and bands, ensuring a smooth interaction of joint and muscle movement. When we speak of a low level of “liver blood” in the body this is reflected on tendons becoming stiff and inflexible, causing stiff body movement and joint pains. We literally can’t move to do the things we want to do.
But there is much more that comes to play on an emotional and psychological level. In my book Yield and Overcome I go into more detail on how the body organs are related to elements and cyclical seasonal influences. On a subtle level the liver is home to the ethereal soul, that continues to exist after death. It is about transmuting the challenges we are faced with in this world and following our true calling or soul path. As we grow spiritually we bring a little of “heaven to earth”.
When the ethereal soul becomes separated from its “physical home” it loses connection to its true destiny and meaning in life. We lose sense of direction and being in the here and now. When plans and visions start failing or when we are forced to do things we find to be meaningless, we either start feeling depressed, listless and low on energy or have bouts of anger and resentment. We blow our lid at the smallest irritation.
When we see a person following his or her calling watch the glow and enthusiasm in their eyes. The liver expresses itself in the eyes. In the same way a diseased liver or one that is out of balance will show in the “grey” of the “living dead”.
The good news is that the liver has an enormous capacity to regenerate itself. Dr. Max Gerson, MD ( 1881-1959) assumed it would take 12 to 15 generations of new cells to form a totally new and healthy liver. He specified a period of about 18 months to fully heal and restore the liver of advanced cancer patients. However experts believe that the amount of toxins the human body has to cope with today will require a longer period of two years or more.
So in our modern world the liver energy is confronted with on the one hand the many distractions on a mental plane while at the same time having to deal with major challenges on a physical level.
Some questions that arise in connection with the liver energy are:
- How do I feel when I get up in the morning? Am I joyful or depressed?
- Have I found my place in the bigger picture of things?
- Do I really enjoy my work?
- Where do I really feel at home?
- Where is my energy or enthusiasm blocked?
- Am I feeling constantly tired and listless?
- Do I have a problem with anger management?
Apart from liver-cleansing nutrition there are various good methods of bringing your liver energy back into flow, but more on that in my next blog