Four Seasons: How to Live Harmoniously With Them

Four seasons highlight the ever-changing nature’s beauty (some might prefer to be beachin’ all year though).

What does living according to the four seasons mean to you?

Enjoying the relaxing breeze in the spring?

Sunbathing in the summer?

Hiking the trails and marveling at the autumn foilage?

Going skiing in the winter?

All are worthwhile activities, except our ancestors would caution us to excessively drain our energy during winter.

Scroll down to read the ancient wisdom of ~keeping up with the seasons~


Source: Chapter 2 (Great Discussion on Regulating the Spirit According to Four Seasons) of Basic Questions, written during Han dynasty

春三月此謂發陳.
Three months of spring are for sprouting and spreading.
 
天地俱生萬物以榮. 
The cosmos and the Earth co-generate and all things flourish.

夜臥早起廣步於庭, 
Sleep late at night, rise early, and stride around the yard
 
被髮緩形以使志生
Hair untied, loosen our form (= relaxed body), and activate our will
 
生而勿殺;予而勿奪;賞而勿罰.
Foster and not kill; give and not take; award and not punish.
 
此春氣之應
These are the responses to the spring energy  
 
養生之道也. 
And Dao of cultivating life.
 
逆之則傷肝.
Disobeying them damages the liver.
 
夏爲寒變
In summer, one suffers from cold and
 
奉長者少
The cultivation of growth diminishes.

As we rise out of the winter’s slumber, we set our intentions for the season of life.

By encouraging, sharing, and praising.

We stay relaxed because some days are still cold,

Yet we turn on our willpower to begin, to move, to do,

Following the natural energetics of the spring season.

Take care of the LIVE-r, which corresponds to wood of the five phases (Wood also corresponds to the spring season).

夏三月此謂蕃秀.
Three months of summer are for lush blossoming.
 
天地氣交.
The cosmic and earthly energies exchange.
 
萬物華實.
All things flower and bear fruit. 
 
夜臥早起 
Sleep late at night and rise early
 
無厭於日
Not disliking the sun
 
使志無怒
Let will be free of anger
 
使華英成秀, 
Let colorful flowers mature
 
使氣得泄若所愛在外 
Let our energy disperse externally as if we love everything outside 
 
此夏氣之應 
These are the responses to the summer energy and
 
養長之道也.
Dao of cultivating growth
 
逆之則傷心.
Disobeying them damages the heart.
 
秋爲痎瘧 
In autumn, one suffers from a form of malaria and
 
奉收者少.
The cultivation of containment diminishes.

冬至重病.
In the winter, it could lead to a serious illness.

Ah, everything’s growing, ripening, and flourishing.

It’s Yang at its ultimate.

For those who need a reason to love sun: we are potentially photosynthetic beings!

Meditate under the sunshine, soak up the energy, and nourish ourselves.

Be content and vibrant.

The nature of Yang is to spread out, so stay outside and show love to the nature.

Take care of the heart (Fire, which corresponds to summer).

秋三月此謂容平. 
The three months of autumn are for containing and balancing.
 
天氣以急. 
The cosmic energy hastens.
 
地氣以明.
The Earthly energy brightens.
 
早臥早起;與雞俱興. 
Sleep early and rise early; together with the rooster.
 
使志安寧
Let the will be calm and comfortable
 
以緩秋刑
To loosen the punishing nature of autumn
 
收斂神氣使秋氣平
Hold and contain the spiritual energy to balance the autumn energy 
 
無外其志  
Do not place your will outward
 
使肺氣淸.
Keep the lung energy clear.
 
此秋氣之應
These are the responses to the autumn energy 
 
養收之道也.
And Dao of cultivating containment.
 
逆之則傷肺.
Disobeying this rule damages the lungs.
 
冬爲飱泄
In winter, one suffers from diarrhea with undigested food and
 
奉藏者少.
The cultivation of storing diminishes.

It’s the season of harvest. We consolidate the fruits of our labor.

Autumn gets harsh as it progresses, though. The days come when we go outside and the air has definitely got chiller.

Balance this energy with our calm spirit. Stay comfortable and resonate with the changing weather.

As the energetics turn inward (Yin), so should our state of mind.

Contain and hold.

Take care of the lungs (Metal, which corresponds to autumn).

Keep the air fresh.

冬三月此謂閉藏.
Three months of winter are for closing and storing
 
水氷地坼.
Water freezes and soil splits.
 
無擾乎陽!
No disruptions from Yang!
 
早臥晩起; 必待日光
Sleep early and rise late; must wait for the sunlight 
 
使志若伏若匿 
Hide the will like a dog lying prone
 
若有私意
As if there are personal opinions to keep private of
 
若已有得. 
As if we have already attained. 
 
去寒就溫.
Leave the cold for warmth.
 
無泄皮膚使氣亟奪.
Prohibit sweating because the energy would rapidly escape. 
 
此冬氣之應
These are the responses to the winter energy and

養藏之道也.
Dao of fostering storage.
 
逆之則傷腎.
Disobeying them leads to damaging the kidneys.
 
春爲痿厥 
In spring, one suffers from cold and weak limbs
 
奉生者少.
And the cultivation of life diminishes.

Oh, just minding myself while hibernating.

Yin is dominant, so we make sure to rest.

Sleeping in should be encouraged during the winter.

To prepare for the actions of spring, we lie dormant.

Keep it low-key.

Vacation to a warmer place never sounded bad this time of the year.

Take care of the kidneys (Water, which corresponds to winter) by conserving energy.

Do less. Save more.

This goes against the majority of modern health experts who claim the benefits of exercise (sweating) during the winter. What’s your take?

夫四時陰陽者萬物之根本也.
The four seasons and Yin Yang are the basis of all things.
 
所以聖人春夏養陽,
So, saints cultivated Yang during spring and summer 
 
秋冬養陰,
During autumn and winter they cultivated Yin,
 
以從其根.
Thereby following the basis.
 
故與萬物沈浮於生長之門.
In addition, all things submerge and emerge from the door of growth.
 
逆其根則伐其本
Disobeying this basis is like cutting off the root (of a tree) and
 
壞其眞矣.
Losing what is true.
 
故陰陽四時者萬物之終始也
Thus Yin Yang and the four seasons are the ending and beginning of all 
 
死生之本也.
As well as death and life of the root.
 
逆之則災害生;
Disobeying this would create a disaster;
 
從之則苛疾不起, 
Following this would prevent severe illnesses from occurring.

是謂得道.
This is called attaining the Dao.

Personally I will live harmoniously with the seasons’ energies.

Stick to the basics, and we will be okay!

Thank you for reading,

~energidoctor~

eternal student of life

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