User Manual


Lungs: Living Our Truth

The diaphragm—the wall-to-wall floor of our lungs—is a very effective bellows. As we breathe out strong, the diaphragm pushes up like a dome, forcing the maximum amount of carbon dioxide out, purifying our blood.

When we breathe back in, the diaphragm pulls down like a bowl, taking in a big mixing bowl’s amount of oxygen with each breath. Breathing out strong provides our organ systems with all the energy they need to face everything life sends us, the energy to accomplish the dreams we commit to. Big breath lets us live a powerful life. Small breath limits us into living a small life.

Our lungs and large intestine are the organs associated with the element of metal. They both symbolize the steady rhythm of taking in and letting go.

In the higher dimensions of our bodymind, our lungs are the part of our consciousness that receive the pure energy from the heavens. Our lungs don’t just breathe in air. They breathe in the higher truths and visions that illuminate our lives.

The muscles that make energy for the lung system are the deltoids of the shoulder and the anterior serratus at the side of our rib cage.

The lung meridians run their energy most powerfully from 3 AM to 5 AM. We often wake up with insights that change our perspective on life around this time. But if we are dealing with grief and sorrow—and have not actually gone inside and felt those emotions—we often toss and turn or can’t sleep at this time of night.

Downward dispersing

In the symbology of the cross, which predates Christianity by thousands of years, the element of metal is the vertical bar, our connection to the divine. The element of Earth is the horizontal bar, connecting us to all others. The circle between the horizontal and vertical bars, shown in some cross symbols, represents our heart—the root of life itself. Our heart naturally knows the desires of our spirit.

The ancient Chinese medical treatise Nei Jing Su Wen describes the lungs as the “lid” of all our organs. The lungs receive “pure energy” from the heavens and send it downward. The pure energy includes higher truths, life’s visions and noble thoughts that inspire us.

The lung’s downward dispersing action disseminates the inspiration to every cell and organ enabling us to live a fulfilling life. 

Lung problems come when we reject our own higher truths and visions, or refuse to believe the possibility that we can step into our vision. Our bodymind is mostly energy and consciousness. Letting our unruly mind talk us out of our vision or higher truths is the main cause of lung and bronchial problems.

Various forms of lung congestion are due to not letting our wisdom be dispersed downward. When we reject our wisdom, the fluids are also blocked from dispersing downward. Asthma, COPD, bronchitis, emphysema, pleurisy, and upper respiratory infections can all be traced back to fluids not getting dispersed downward. In acupuncture, this is referred to as rebellious chi.

When I ask people with lung issues what they want, most of their dialogue is about what they do not want. When pressed about what they want, most only have vague ideas, like “better health” or “less stress.” When we only generate vague ideas about what we want, the bodymind can’t figure out how to accomplish them. 

Your bodymind is image oriented. It needs substantial images to work toward: like imagining hiking mountains and swimming rivers late into your nineties? How about running a marathon within a couple years? Can you imagine your mind sharp as a tack until the day you die? Can you see yourself at your optimal weight or dress size, a definite number?

Visualize yourself doing the exact things you would want to do if the world were a perfect place. When the images are clear, our bodymind can grab hold of them, make them happen.

Choose image-oriented goals—goals that scare you a little—that stretch the imagination of who you think you are. If your bodymind does not have specific images and goals to emulate, it can perceive no way to get there.

Let Go of the Insults; Hang onto the Compliments

Most of us cling to the mean, discouraging or dismissive things others have done or said to us. Often, those painful episodes form the basis our own limiting thoughts, feelings and beliefs. To release those discouraging thoughts, we need to actually go back to that moment in time and feel the feelings that come up around those disparaging memories.

As we feel them, they dissolve into nothingness. If we cannot let go of old conditioning, we have no room to take in new concepts. When our thoughts are wrapped up in rehashing old insults and mean discouraging things people have said to us, we are not even trying to make sense of what we are hearing. Talking to us can be like talking to a blank wall.

All these negative thoughts, generated by unfelt fears, cut us off from our spiritual connection.

When we do not feel a fear that comes up, our body’s immediate reaction is to start breathing shallowly. For as long as we breathe shallowly, we are trapped in our old dramas, separated from our own divine nature. We see God or a spiritual life as something outside of us.

Breathing out Strong settles our spirit into its home, just below the navel. Then, at every intersection of life, our own values, principles and beliefs dictate our thoughts and actions. With our spirit controlling our bodymind, both get what they want.

We realize that the source of creation has never, ever been separate from us. Every moment that we are breathing out strong, the power of love, the nobility of our truth, and our right to be here—just as we are—is self-evident. Then we realize that the world is, indeed a perfect place.

Excerpted from Body Intelligence, A New Paradigm by John L. Mayfield, D.C.

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