An Image of Liver Qi

The casual observer, stumbling across this blog for the first time, might say to themselves, Oh, how cute.  He’s writing about Oriental medicine, so he tries to legitimize what he’s presenting by using an Oriental image.



I’m writing this initial post to dispel that incorrect projection. To me, practicing Oriental medicine is about understanding and living the principles, not trying to look Chinese. No, the image is a representation of something that is missing in American medicine and American culture.

The reason I chose this photograph for the layout of Future Medicine Now: Contemplations is that it is an iconic portrayal of what liver qi (chee) should be.  Liver, like all the other systems in the body, has its own qi, which has a personality, functions, emotional tendencies, and energetic directions of travel.

Liver qi is responsible for the smooth flow of qi throughout all the other organs.  Qi must flow smoothly — everywhere.  If it doesn’t, there are problems.  If liver qi is not flowing, other organs and systems begin to suffer as well.

This is not a fairy tale. This is real. This information should be of vital interest to a culture in which the two big killers are stress and diet — not cancer and heart disease. Stress and diet.

Keep in mind, from this ‘new’ vantage point we are no longer viewing symptoms as causes, we are perceiving and treating actual root causes.  Cancer and heart disease are merely symptoms from the perspective of Oriental medicine.  In order to treat such deadly symptoms, we must know their cause.

Which brings us back to the header image.  This photograph captures the very essence of ideal liver qi:

Dawn on the banks of a deep, quiet, yet steadily flowing river.

Its placid surface conceals the powerful, yet controlled forces below.

Deep stillness permeates the fresh, nourishing air.

The ethereal mist of nighttime sojourns softens the harsh edges of worldly reality, and eventually drifts away, almost imperceptibly,
revealing the clarity of a placid blue sky.

A great heron lifts effortlessly and silently on powerful wings to glide down the river.

This is the clear reflection of a calm, serene, centered beingness.


Now, let me ask you: how many individuals do you know who have liver qi which looks like this?  How often does your liver qi look like this?

Then consider, how much cancer and heart disease would we see, if this were the steady state of liver qi?

So this image has nothing to do with ‘Oriental’.  It has everything to do with vitality, peace, balance, and harmony.  And the cultivation of these precious attributes are how Oriental medicine effects its remarkable outcomes.  We cultivate or stifle them with our attitudes and attention in each moment of the day, and with each bite of food or non-food we place in our mouths.





Most Recent Contemplation: Vernal Equinox

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5 thoughts on “An Image of Liver Qi

  1. I think we are so inundated with manipulative imagery generated for nefarious purposes that the tendency is to become quite cynical and reactive.

    Thanks for the explanation and for undertaking this blog, it’s great!

  2. Appreciating the time and energy you put into your
    blog and in depth information you provide.
    It’s nice to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same old rehashed information.
    Wonderful read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Leoma! I’m not sure how I missed it until now — I certainly didn’t receive the usual email from WordPress.

      Having said that, I must admit to being absent from the blog. I’m working on a book project that I hope to publish midsummer 2013. It will be an interactive iBook for the iPad, the first in a series on principles of Oriental medicine that are vital to negotiating good health in these challenging times. The project is quite absorbing, and excitement continues to inspire as it unfolds. The first book is entitled ‘Breakfast Like An Emperor’.

      So, please excuse me for not discovering your comment and replying until now! I’m glad you enjoy what you’ve found here. I’m not finished!

  3. Hello,
    Am enjoying your blog. Tho wish it were a little heavier for those of us who have TCM training.
    So great to see this perspective/ school of thought out there. Just isnt enough of it.
    Thank you! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Renee. Glad you’re enjoying the ride.

      I certainly got a laugh out of your wish for something “a little heavier for those who have TCM training”. Renee, I honestly — and humbly — believe that if you care to plunge a little deeper into what’s offered on these pages, you won’t find anything ‘heavier’ online. Yet the post from which you commented is, in fact, no less heavy than something exuberant, like Beyond Gluten, or Cancer Is Not a Diagnosis.

      Truth is simple, Renee. Always. I appreciate being taken back to this old post and re-reading its simple message. But surely you recognize how deep it is. Yes, the words are simple. The ideas expressed make sense to a six year old. But they represent truth. Is there something heavier than truth? Truth, like love, only exists in the moment, in the consciousness of the perceiver. And, as saints throughout time have clarified, truth, not spoken in love, is not truth at all. But there is one additional, most important qualifier: Truth is valueless if it does not change the life of one who receives it.

      The mind loves hearing truth — but changing one’s behavior in response to it? Not so much.

      How many of those trained in TCM (traditional Chinese medicine, for other readers) are practicing the simple principles embodied in this medicine? How many are even eating according to its tenets? Take a look at Empty Sweet for a deeper look. The need is not for heavier information for students of Oriental medicine. The need is for students to become practitioners of the simple truths they’ve already been taught.

      And, in all sincerity, if you can suggest something I need to include in these discussions — something I’m missing — please let me know. I’m sure there is plenty. But my target audience remains the same — that one individual who is ready to hear a key piece of truth that will change a life.

      Thanks for writing, Renee!

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