Reflections on the Autumn Season


Part of living the practices and principles of Chinese Medicine is having an understanding of the effects of the seasons on the body and mind. With awareness of this, one can take advantage of the different energies of each season to further cultivate vitality and longevity. 

Autumn is the time of consolidation. Nature is no longer bursting with new growth like Spring & Summer but is instead slowing down. Things in nature begin to conserve resources in preparation for the winter. The trees release their leaves, plants no longer bear fruit and new growth comes to a halt. 

As part of nature, it is wise for us in the human family to follow and cultivate the energies of the seasons. It is said  that to go against nature is a sure way gradually damage your own qi and create illness over time. 

Here are some tips and reflections to harness the energy of Autumn:

1. Reflection on the Virtue of Integrity.

The spiritual virtue associated with the Autumn season is integrity. One who has cultivated integrity has transformed the emotions of shame, guilt, sadness, & self doubt. Integrity is all about "owning one's stuff", taking responsibility and having the courage to do what is right. Taking responsibility for oneself and accepting the consequences of ones actions takes incredible courage and honesty. This is integrity. The following questions, followed by action,  are sure ways to harness the energy of the fall and cultivate integrity. 

  1. Am I holding myself accountable?

  2. Am I acting in accordance with my life purpose and guiding principle? 

  3. Am I taking responsibility for myself? 

  4. Am I being honest with myself and others? 

  5. Am I willing to take action in an area of my life that requires great courage? 

  6. What can I let go of that no longer serves me? 

2. Time outside in nature.
Simply get outside. If possible a find forest or somewhere you can get away from the normal day to day business of life. While enjoying nature stay off of the phone! This will allow your awareness to be more broad, abstract and to be in a purely natural energy field. 

3. Begin to conserve your energies. 

This is so important and is very much overlooked in our culture.
- Allow yourself to rest as there is more darkness in the day. 
- Just like the trees let go of the leaves, begin let go of what does not serve you anymore. You don't need to be wasting energy on something that isn't important anymore. This could be material things or mental & emotional tendencies. 

4.Exercise that builds and conserves energy. 
During Autumn we want to build and especially conserve qi. Qi gong or Taiji are excellent practices for Autumn. Deep breathing exercises are also excellent as the lungs are the organ associated with Autumn. We want to avoid any exercise that is burning up more qi than we conserve. 

5.Reflection & Meditation
Reflection and meditation allow for the more yin qualities of stillness and reflection that the Autumn season encourages.