Summer Solstice: Being in Rhythm With the Season
Summer Solstice marks the time of year when days are long and temperatures rising.
From our Western, astronomical point-of-view, June 21st marks the first day of Summer. And since we’re cultivating an understanding of ‘seasonal energy’ or ‘Chi,’ now is a good time to point out that ‘energetically’ — as Eastern thinking goes — the Summer Solstice marks the mid-point of Summer rather than its beginning.
Whether or not this idea seems a bit unusual, just for the sake of exploration let’s consider what it might mean if Summer Solstice does mark the midpoint of Summer rather than its beginning.
What difference would it make in your life: besides being just a day on the calendar reminding us to wash the deck furniture and get ready for vacation?
Seasons Affect Your Organ-ization
We all know that each season of the year has its own unique characteristics and requirements.
In our minds, we know we need to change our wardrobes; that different kinds of events find their way onto our schedules; and (to some extent) we change our diet and the food we eat. At the same time, your body is making its own adjustments.
According to the 5 Element Theory used in Oriental Medicine, the major organ systems in your body also change with the seasons. Each season a specific organ system goes into ‘energetic overdrive”: Heart in Summer; Spleen/Pancreas in late-Summer; Lungs in Autumn; Kidneys in Winter; and Liver in Spring.
If you’re trying to manage your health in accordance with these natural rhythms, then finding out that Summer Solstice marks the midpoint of Summer, rather than its beginning, could be a problem.
It means that right now we’re way further into the ‘Fire’ energy of Summer then you thought, and you probably have not been making the necessary ‘lifestyle’ adjustments your body needs to stay ‘balanced’ in Summer. These adjustments are needed to offset the stresses Summer places on the Heart, and by association, the Kidneys.
Knowing Is Technology
Did the ancient Chinese think and act ‘seasonally’? Of course they did; they had to. They didn’t have any choice. They had no on-demand electrical lighting, no refrigeration for their food, or air-conditioning to keep cool in Summer. When it was dark, it was dark; when it was cold, it was cold. Knowing how to be in synch with the energetics of the season was their technology.
In the 21st century we have astounding technologies which enable us to disregard natural cycles and their rhythms. And to the extent we’ve lost that rhythm, to that extent we’re out of balance. And when you’re out of balance you stumble, and too much stumbling leads to falling down.
Increasingly that’s what’s happening to the general level of health these days; it’s falling down.
The message I want to end on is an uplifting one. Today we can enjoy the benefits of both Western and Eastern technology: the technical accomplishments of Western science and the intuitive knowing of Oriental Medicine.
As we see it at BIOM, the goal of healthy living is reached when we balance both approaches and thereby live a balanced life.