The Sentimental body
The notion of qi was always around. Qi is the communication of heaven and earth. It communicates through the myriad species. However before the Body Ecologic, the proponent metaphor of the body was the Sentimental body. The Sentimental body came around the Warring States period after Confucius, where the ruling class amongst the tribes were educated by the scholars of the times. The scholars were travelling philosophers who engaged in ritualistic endeavors to keep the ancient traditions alive. They went from ruler of state to state to teach how to handle the people, educate the people and themselves. In order to understand the human mind, the scholars of the times explored human emotions and how they manifested physically and mentally. Qi, the grand communicator of Heaven and Earth had its development in this role. Directionality of qi and its expression of yin and yang was attributed to the emotions, each one having a different expression.
The way one felt when they experienced emotions showed the relationship of one’s body to their awareness. For example, the Yin shu, mentions “When one is joyful, one augments yang. When one is angry, one augments yin.” Here a dichotomy of emotions is developed as well as a directionality. Joy, lightens the spirit and has an upward motion. Anger weighs down the body and compresses the body. Another dichotomy, that developed was that of emptiness and fullness, an inward extent and an outward extent.
From the Nei Ye,
“The form of the Heart is spontaneously replete (Qi). Spontaneously born and complete. It loses this form through, care and joy, pleasure and anger, desire and profit seeking. If (the heart/you) are able to rid itself of care and joy, pleasure and anger, desire and profit seeking, the natural feelings of the heart cleave to rest and calm.”
Here fullness and emptiness take on the roles of Qi, and how the emotions may diminish and fill the heart. Ultimately the nature of the heart is to be rested and calm. So one must try to control one’s emotions so that they may control their Qi.
“with a settled heart within, the eyes and ears are keen and clear, the four limbs are strong and firm. He is fit to be a dwelling of essence. By essence it is meant the essence of qi”
Here the settling of the heart, clears the senses and strengthens the body. This allows one’s body to be open to qi, the communication of heaven and earth. With this there is a settling where Qi can make itself known.
Before seeing the landscape of the body as a reflection of Heaven and Earth, the pre-unified Chinese had to see the body as a settling place of the communication of Heaven and Earth. Qi was recognized as a directional force that through Dao yin, an early form of Qi gong could be moved around in the body by controlling the emotions. The Sentimental Body was an exploration of the directionality of the effects of the emotions, and how they played a role on rudimentary physiology and psychology.