Lung 5: Meaning Yields to Mystery

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Excerpt from “Lung 5: Meaning Yields to Mystery”


“The thing about the relationship between Metal and Water is that Metal is so into order and meaning and illumination. The architecture of things. Metal wants to know, ‘How does it all work? Show me the cosmos.’ Like those armillary sphere things, where they show you where all the planets go, and all the stars, and everything — that’s such a Metal thing, that sense of ‘as above, so below,’ that clear sense of cosmic order, and living a life that is rich in meaning, meaning living a life that is in harmony with the cosmic order and takes its value from being part of something greater than myself, in harmony and in alignment with something greater than myself. And Water is the impenetrable mystery, which can be a little bit difficult a passage between the meaningful life and the dark.

We’re going from sunset to darkness here, and all our searching for meaning and sense of how it all goes together and how I fit into the cosmic design… [laughs] In the end, all you can do is say, ‘I don’t know.’ What does it all mean? What does it all mean? What does it all come down to? I don’t know, really. And that can be a comfortable or an uncomfortable movement.

That can be a healthy or an unhealthy relationship between the meaning of it all and the mystery of it all. Who the hell knows?

Certainly being in Metal with each of the Five Elements — if we’re going to be in Metal with Fire, with a Fire person, then there’s some way in which what we’re really doing is making sure that, no matter how deep we go into this intense values thing, that warmth and fire and flicker are not lost. It’s so important. And so for a Fire person, even in the midst of a strong grief process, there’s got to be some of that lightness of being — it can’t be all crushed. And for a Wood person, there’s this sense of, ‘Okay. How are these values going to become meaningful in terms of how we’re going to put them into action. That’s what happened in the past — where are we going with it?’ And in Earth there’s going to be almost a teardrop shape feeling of, okay, from the sharpness of this precision, how do we bring this into the nest? Working our way into it, it’s a process, how do we work it into the soil?

But when we’re in Metal with Water, there’s some way in which, if we’re working with for instance a grieving process, and looking at what it all meant and what our life is now, on some level being in Metal with Water means acknowledging that some things we are never going to understand, and in fact Metal becomes the richer when we acknowledge that we will never fully understand this, and no matter how we map it and graph it, and how many of the practices we do, and how no matter how much we come to understand, the sunset melts into a vast darkness, and when we’re in health with that, there’s something very comforting for a Water person who is grieving in being able to come to the acceptance that this may never make sense. That kind of inhale of acceptance that, I can’t really answer the question, ‘Why did he die at nineteen?’ People who had siblings die — ’why did she die and not me? Why did he die and not me?’ And grappling and asking the cosmos, ‘What crazy order could there possibly be, that this is what happens?’ And Metal into Water, Water into Metal, mystery into meaning — I’m not going to get an answer to the question ‘why did my brother die so young, and I lived?’ And my breathing is a breathing into the mystery of it, being able to come down and rest in ‘I don’t know. I don’t know.’”