Living in Harmony with the 24-hour Chi Cycle

High Tech Health (Australia and UK), Vol 1/06

A Chinese proverb says, ‘We are like a piece of wood that needs to be carved every morning. If we don’t carve ourselves, someone else will do it for us’. If you want to create success and follow your dreams you need to ‘carve yourself’, otherwise your path will be directed by external conditions or other people’s needs. Traditional Chinese Medicine has established that Chi moves through the twelve organs and five elements in a regular cycle and to ‘carve yourself’, by building Chi and strong organs, you need to live in harmony with this cycle.


3:00am – 5:00am Lungs
5:00am – 7:00am Large Intestine

7:00am – 9:00am Stomach
9:00am – 11:00am Spleen

11:00am – 1:00pm Heart
1:00pm – 3:00pm Small Intestine

3:00pm – 5:00pm Bladder
5:00pm – 7:00pm Kidney

7:00pm – 9:00pm Pericardium
9:00pm – 11:00pm San Jiao (Triple Heater)

11:00pm – 1:00am Gall Bladder
1:00am – 3:00am Liver

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, as well as having a physiological function, each of your organs also has a spiritual and emotional function. Accordingly, each morning, when the Chi is in the Metal and Earth element, you have a window of opportunity to start shaping your life. Metal is about embracing the new by letting go of old conditioning and Earth is about operating as an independent individual by building Chi and Blood. So, depending on what you do between 5:00 and 9:00am, you can either shape the day ahead and your destiny, or let others shape your life for you in accord with their needs. To shape your day yourself and prevent others shaping you, you need to do a body–mind–spirit workout during the Metal element and Large Intestine time (5:00–7:00am) and then have a Chi and Blood building breakfast during the Earth element and Stomach time (7:00-9:00am).

This sets in place a chain of positive interactions within the five element cycle. Earth nurtures Metal (control), Metal nurtures Water (Jing), Water nurtures Wood (happiness), Wood nurtures Fire (joy) and Fire nurtures Earth (independence).

If you make a commitment to developing and improving yourself at this time each day it will automatically improve everything in your life. It sounds simple enough, but the important things are never easy to do and living in accord with the Chi cycle will bring you face to face with discomfort. With our 21st century lifestyle of high stress and nutrient-poor diets, many people have lost their relationship with natural rhythms and replaced them with bad habits. These range from the physical, such as staring at a computer screen until 2:00am and drinking coffee and eating chocolate to stay awake night after night, to the psychological, like refusing to take responsibility for the self. This has an adverse affect on the organs and it makes early rising and regularity even harder to do. No one likes discomfort, and much of our Western lifestyle is based on avoiding it at all costs, but discomfort is a part of life — no matter how sophisticated we become technologically this will not change. The trick is to embrace discomfort because in the long term, facing the discomfort of getting up early, of learning to eat well or of exercising routinely is much easier than dealing with the more serious discomfort that will inevitably arise if you don’t do this. If you want to feel great it is important to get natural rhythm and routine back into your life. This provides a stable framework for development and allows you to build Chi or energy.

In the West, most people do not realise that everything we do costs energy and that we don’t have an unlimited supply. If we don’t make an effort to conserve and build our energy by living, thinking and acting in a manner that is beneficial to us, our energy stores will be drained. Then we can become emotionally weak, vulnerable and reactive. This is when other people start shaping you and life can spiral downwards into negativity and ill health. I experienced this several times myself as a result of taking too many drugs, by not dealing with my own pain and then by over-work but, based on my years of experience as a therapist, I believe that every one of us can reach this point via one means or another. Scores of my patients have ended up in the same state but due to external factors such as family dramas, the death of a loved one, divorce, accidents and so on. The internal imbalances that arise from the unprocessed pain and trauma of these external factors can be just as destructive as those derived from an inappropriate lifestyle.

However, if you live in a way that conserves and builds your energy, it can correct existing imbalances and create a base from which you will be able to deal with future traumatic events in a manner that will limit the development of blockages in your Energy Field and prevent a downward spiral starting. This kind of lifestyle is based on routine and includes exercise, meditation, Chi-training, goal setting, a healthy diet, nutritional supplements, therapy, and beneficial sexual practices. Then the organs will have abundant Chi and function perfectly and you will feel great physically, spiritually and emotionally.

Copyright © Jost Sauer 2006

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