Extract from the upcoming book TAO OF MOVEMENT – the METAL element part
From a psychological point of view, the lungs are very important for any mover, but of course also for an ordinary person, because they contain an aspect of the soul that is close to the physical body. The lungs reside in a spiritual essence called The Po. It is the only aspect of the soul with such a close relationship to the body, which is why it is also called the “soul of the body” – the corporeal body. The role of the Po essence is to encourage the soul to reside in the body and feel at home there. It does not allow it to travel excessively in the etheric world, and thus it ensures that it is in this material body on Earth and uses everything that the body offers for its mission.
The Po connects us with our physical component through the automatic habits of our body. It is in charge of survival instincts, primary physiological processes such as breathing, limb movement, digestion control, suction reflex, crying, crawling, etc. Thanks to the Po, the baby can “orient” itself on the mother’s body after birth and find the breast with milk. The Po connects the soul with the body mainly through the feeling of the body and helps us to orient ourselves in physical feelings. It brings us the ability to feel pain, bodily well-being, tickling, itching, and other delicate sensations of touch, bringing us back to the skin. Through the skin and through pleasant feelings of touch, it builds in the body a feeling of security and boundaries.
The Po is like a disk, a depository in which, since our birth, all bodily information and all the kinetic experiences that the body goes through in life are stored. It ensures the use of the body’s memory to perceive and use everything the body has learned since birth. In addition to the aforementioned instinctive habits, it also preserves habits acquired during life, such as skiing, swimming, dancing, just about anything the body learns. The Po encodes these automations, stores them on a “disk” and controls them at the same time. It is the physical memory of a particular individual’s body that stores the physical experience gained during life. All this information is stored in the lungs through the Po, and the lungs Qi shifts the experience into use, according to our needs. If we want to learn an skill, such as swimming or dancing a certain choreography, we must first perceive and understand what the body will have to learn to do, even though we do not yet know how to do it. This is followed by practicing and constant repetition by the body until we learn it and it is etched in our physical memory of the Po. So, if we have learnt to swim as children and then we do not swim for a certain period of time, we just need to enter the water and the Po will initiate the habit of the body and we will swim automatically again. Or if we have not danced a choreography for a long time, all we have to do is play the music to it and the body will start remembering the movement habit with the help of the Po itself. Sometimes we wonder how it is possible that we remember that choreography for so long. This information comes to the surface of our needs because it has been encoded into the body by the essence of the Po.
The Po codes experience based on constant repetition and therefore it no longer disappears. This can naturally be transferred to the level of kinetic routine and subsequent reluctance to innovate and change. This is the „negative side“ of the Po. This means that certain entrenched incorrect childhood habits, such as improper posture, improper walking, improper skiing technique, etc., are therefore very difficult to transform into proper habits. The same is true for any movement technique that the mover has automated incorrectly in the past. Correction is difficult. Not that it would not work, but it takes longer and more intense reprogramming of the body’s memory, and if the Po is weak, it is even harder. The new programming takes place on a mental, emotional and spiritual level, of which the Po is a part. It is no coincidence that many of the meditation techniques that offer us immersion are associated with the lungs and breathing. The Po is thus activated to change its structures. Usually, such work for change also requires a change in personal attitude. For this reason too, it is important for the movers to pay sufficient attention to the health of their lungs.
The skin is the largest and most distinctive structure of the body, through which we present ourselves to the outside. The Po essence is also connected to the skin through the lungs. The Po helps us perceive our physical boundaries through the skin. It determines whether we like the touch or not. The METAL phase, as already mentioned, is about value, so the Po helps us to evaluate and decide who we let come close to us and who we do not, who can touch us and who cannot. However, this decision must sometimes be suppressed in our profession. We very often touch each other without having time and space to deal with the fact whether we like it or not. On the other hand, we must take mutual contact professionally so that any kind of closeness does not develop in a personal matter. In plain terms if we play some role, we have to submit to it. However, our subconsciousness and, of course, the Po know about everything, and if we do not show our possible dissatisfaction or sympathy, our insides does. This can manifest as weakening of the lung Qi, shortness of breath when moving, and sometimes even in skin problems. If I do not want someone to touch me and it is not respected, the body will create a barrier on its own. Our touch routine can also manifest itself in the fact that sometimes we approach the other person’s body somehow automatically or mechanically. The performer should be aware of these contexts, and be able to work with them sensitively and flexibly. I know dancers who do not like touch. Because of this, for example, they do not even go to massages, even though they need them. When I first encountered it, I was very surprised. How is it possible that a person who works with the body and touches someone on a daily basis and is touched, does not like touch itself. I understand it today. This is possible precisely because we approach the act of touching professionally and mechanically. We got used to such a/this kind of model.
In conclusion to the words about the Po, I will mention two more things. Through the connection to the physical body, the Po is naturally connected with our animal part, with physical instincts and sexuality. On the mental level, the healthy presence of the Po is manifested in us by feelings of wholeness, integrity, everything being in the right place, we have feelings of correctness, honesty, feelings of responsibility for ourselves. When there is a lack of quality of the Po, we immure ourselves, we feel anxiety, sadness, guilt and shame, or we even have the inability to state our borders, and thus allow others to interfere too much with us mentally or physically.