A holon is a unit a wholeness that at the same time is a part of a bigger whole, a bigger holon. A holon is a part and a whole at the same time.
Cells are holons, organs are holons and organisms are holons.
A human being is a holon, consisting of organs that are holons, consisting of cells that are holons. We can perceive living nature as a hierarchy of holons, a holarchy.
A human beings bigger holon can be the family, the collegium at work, peers in a class, members in an organization, citizenship in a country, one of humankind, a mammal and many more.
As a human being you both relate to holons that are bigger than you, where you are a part, and holons that are smaller that are contained in you like organs and cells.
Is there a relation in how we humans relate upwards to the bigger holon or downwards to the smaller holon?
Is there a relation between our organs and the way we relate to others? Let us explore!
Relations to others are mainly a question of feelings. We have people we relate to with no attachment, almost like strangers. It could be our baker that we do not say hi to, the barista in the coffee shop, a person standing at the same bus stop every morning, or the person living in the flat above or below you. You also have relations that are mainly professional with a teacher, a lawyer, your boss, employees, clients etc. These relationships can be without much emotion they are more practical, functional and part of the daily routine.
But some relationships mean much more to you they are emotional. They can be based on different good feelings of joy, love, care and attraction or more troublesome like those characterized by fear, disgust, anger or resentment.
These relations are the ones working on us on the way to mastery. A good question you can ask yourself, is which feelings are dominating your relations? Why do you end up in similar relations again and again? And do these feelings reflect specific organs in your system?
Traditional Chinese Medicine, TCM
Already in the old Chinese medicine this was explored. Each of the five fundamental organs were related to a main feeling (see illustration)
The Liver was related to anger and irritability, the heart to joy and inspiration, the spleen to worry or pensiveness, the lungs to grief or sadness and the kidney to fear and shock.
This was not based on research, but on experience and inner-realization or inter-realization would even be a better word. We have a source of knowledge within that we seem to have forgotten in this time in history. We seem to think that research in the external world is the most reliable source. Despite the fact that many of the choices we do are based on this inner knowledge.
Let us look closer at this Chinese knowledge used by oriental doctors, acupuncturist, tai chi, martial art and qi gong practitioners and many others.
A balanced inner life will reflect a balanced outer life. Each of these feelings can be understood in relation to the connected organ in Chinese medicine. We will explore one of the five in the following issues of The Magic Happens magazine. We will start with the first, or starting element which is wood and its organs liver and gallbladder.
Liver and gallbladder – The wood element
The liver is connected to the gallbladder and we will explore the relation closer.
The liver is described as the big planner and is related to your overview or perspective on life. The gallbladder represents the executive function of action, and self-assertiveness. Together they belong to the element of wood, which represents the beginning or start of any process be it spring, early morning or the first months in life.
On one side the liver is the planer, having the overview, while the gallbladder is decisive, execution, motion and action. You need both functions when you start a process and go into action or when you move out into the world. You need to see the situation and you need to act into it.
If the liver is like the court the gallbladder is like the police. The liver is including all the aspect in the whole picture, the gallbladder is excluding and eliminating.
Also in the body the liver has a tremendous amount of functions while the gallbladder basically stores and concentrates bile. The liver has more than 500 functions and is hence related to functions in many other organs while the gallbladder with its bile is like a knife that cuts the fatty parts of food into smaller pieces.
You could say that the unconditional positive regard of Rogerian psychotherapy reflects the liver while behaviouristic therapy reflects the gallbladder. One is including accepting and non-judging the other is conditional and based on punishment, reinforcement or modelling. The liver is yin and going within, the gallbladder is yang and going outwards.
Let us see how these functions in the organs can represent similar functions in your relations.
Let us say you have a family member or friend that has stolen something, injured or even killed someone. How do you judge, how do you relate?
The liver driven person would try to see the bigger picture and think that in the same conditions with the same abilities they might have done the same. The gallbladder would take on themselves to be a part of the reactions, a judge and then act. They would say; he or she need this to adjust his or her behaviour. I will not invite him or her to the Christmas party this year, so she/he can understand I disapprove of his conduct.
Two related organs with opposite reactions. The liver and gallbladder represent a polarity of yin and yang, of going inwards or outwards, moving towards a bigger or smaller holon. The Liver is the person that is expanding and taking the bigger perspective found within, taking the whole group or community into consideration. The gallbladder is more limited, eliminates and executes.
Moving down a holon could also be that the incidence is not reacted on in a conscious way but distorts the conditions for organs to work optimally. If they just get angry without any response it might injure the gallbladder even giving gallstones.
Moving up a holon would be to perceive and feel confident that in the higher picture this is part of a wise and loving destiny or plan. That there is a unconditional positive regard that is wise and loving for all the persons involved. The same could be said for the laws of karma or action and reaction, that they are not a question of punishment but cultivation and evolution. With the higher holon as the basis of perception the person would ask what does my involvement imply, I got involuntarily involved as an observer, but what is the lesson for me since I react to it? How can I take part in the healing of the bigger whole, or bigger holon? The more evolved person would not even react, but accept and perceive from the bigger perspective.
The yin organs are the basic organs in Chinese medicine and are written on top in the illustration, the functions of these organs tend to bring you closer to the inner core and the bigger picture.
The yang organs are organs of reduction, separation, elimination and breaking things down.
You can learn a lot from the relation between the two organs within the same element. And you can understand much by seeing what they have in common. The liver is like a person meditating and perceiving the whole world from within, the gallbladder is like a man on his sports car, trying to see the whole world by driving around like crazy. One has a inner peaceful perspective the other is outward and aggressive.
In Chinese medicine they would say the real organ is the liver, the gallbladder is just an aspect of the liver, or wood element.
Every organ is connected with one of the five senses and the liver is opening into the eyes and hence related to vision. We can understand the relation to the eyes with them being the most important sense to get the overview, to see, have a perspective and to move about in the world. Non of the senses can compete with the eyes if you want to move from one location to another.
From my studies of both Chinese medicine and archetypical systems I have come to realize that the main lesson or gift from the liver approach in life is the cultivation of truth. As you explore the different challenges from a liver perspective your higher perspective and broader vision is bringing you closer and closer to truth.
We will explore the other organs in the following articles.
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