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From studying medical physiology, we learn that the spleen tucks under our rib cage just forward of our left elbow as it hangs down. As blood passes through the spleen and liver, it's cleansed of bacteria and foreign bodies. They both play important roles in detecting pathogens and mobilizing white blood cells in cases of infection. Blood cells live about 120 days, and—as they get old and brittle—tend to rupture (and are recycled) as they pass through the spleen with its enormous maze of blood vessels. 

The paired spleen meridians go from the outside lower rib cage up to the armpit, then down to the great toes, and run their energy most powerfully from 9 AM to 11 AM. The way we think about our life at this time of the morning is a good indicator of how our spleen is functioning. I find it interesting that in America, more heart attacks occur from 9 to 11 AM on Monday morning than at any other time.  

The muscles that make electrical energy for the spleen system are the latissimus dorsi (lats), triceps, mid-trapezius and the opponen muscles that make the thumb oppose our little finger.

The spleen and pancreas are the two organs of the spleen system. The pancreas represents how we get the sweetness out of life. Life gives us sweetness like cows give milk. Cows don’t give milk. We have to take it. Twice a day. In life, the sweetness is always there but we have to make the effort to get it.

What Really Freaks our Spleen out
We tend to look at our life myopically, forgetting that we are creators, looking through our eyes at what our hands are doing, then letting our brain decide that we don’t have enough time or resources to do what we want to do. And that freaks the spleen out. Believing it has failed us, our spleen system experiences such terrible remorse that it plunges our bodymind into painful states, often taking other organ systems into distress with it. Remember, our brain believes that fate decides our future, but our heart creates our life in the most loving manner.

If you believe you don’t have the time or resources you need, it’s time to pull your awareness way back to where you can see your whole lifetime relative to all your friends and the people around you. When you view your lifetime in this greater perspective, you see that you’re just making your life up and you really do have the time and resources you need to accomplish all you need to do in this lifetime.

But more importantly, from this more expanded viewpoint, we realize that we need to give ourselves some attaboys or attagirls, some pats on the back—to praise what we have accomplished and the goodness our life is contributing. Just like us, our spleen needs to be appreciated. Otherwise it goes into distress.

At one time or another, most patients come in to my office with a hot spleen. The microsecond they get the above concept and start appreciating themselves, the spleen meridian returns to normal. Within thirty seconds, all the inflammation in the spleen (and other affected organs) is gone—like releasing the pressure valve on a hydraulic jack and watching it come down. Observing this phenomenon so often in my practice confirms that we are mostly consciousness. It always amazes me.

You know how bad you feel when you really let a loved one down? Well, that’s how your spleen feels when you believe you don’t have enough time or resources to do what you want to do. It swells up with all the feelings involved. You can feel the pressure if you put your hand there, tucked up under your ribs, just forward of your right elbow. The pressure can be so intense that it involves other organs. 

As the spleen inflames, it starts having trouble getting the food into all our cells and waste products removed. It is not difficult to imagine the resulting health problems if you create a steady diet of thinking about all the ways you don’t have the time or resources to do what you want to do. The spleen system, believing it has failed you, can become so debilitated that it can only transport some of the commodities to some of your cells. Movement, and the motivation toward movement, becomes progressively difficult. 

Almost all cancer and blood diseases result from a steady diet of thinking you are trapped in a life that has let you down. Feeling unappreciated, the spleen progressively malfunctions. A person’s unhappiness about how his or her life turns out—paradoxically— becomes the greatest cause of their declining health. 

When transportation to and from your nervous system is inadequate, mental stamina and agility is diminished. It’s a lot harder to concentrate and think things through. You can feel stuck, and life can spiral down.

What the Spleen Does

The spleen’s main job is distribution. It can be likened to the head of a trucking company that transports and distributes all food, energy, and commodities into and waste products out of every cell and organ in our entire bodymind. If it flows or moves, the spleen moves it. It faithfully distributes all our bodymind’s needs twenty-four hours a day to every cell and organ. That is a huge and vitally-important aspect of our total bodymind. 

Thinking that we do not have enough time or resources to do what we are doing causes our spleen to feel like it has dismally failed us. It goes into serious distress just like you would if you dismally failed a cherished loved one. The spleen organ swells up. The entire spleen meridian pathway inflames on both sides of the body. All the muscles that make energy for the spleen and pancreas weaken.

Our spleen is responsible for maintaining clear boundaries. In the physical and etheric bodies, our spleen keeps all flows of liquids contained within its boundaries. Feeling like our marriage, work or life is a dead-end—a negative spleen issue—is often the trigger for cancers to develop and spread beyond their normal boundaries.

Autopsies reveal that most people developed about five cancerous growth during their lifetime, usually at times when they thought their life was at a dead-end. Then when they figured out how to get back into the game of life, their body shrink-wrapped the cancers, and they never knew they started developing cancer.

If we are not happy with the distribution of life, we can develop varicose veins and hemorrhoids. Our blood thickens, making it harder to circulate. Our blood can become so thick it’s difficult to pass. We experience cold hands and feet. Women can have menstrual problems like amenorrhea and dysmenorrhea. The spleen keeps blood within the boundaries of the arteries. 

Ways to make your spleen happy: 

  • Be grateful 
  • Get more movement into your life 

  • Breathe in the wonderful moments
  • Get enough sleep  
  • Make the time to play 

  • Appreciate the goodness you contribute 

  • Set aside time for contemplation 

You don’t have to make big changes to feel happy. Like spice, little changes can make all the difference in the world. Take your loved one for an evening walk. Figure out how to pull off a fun vacation. It doesn’t take much to spice up your life.

I cannot overstate the importance of movement. When you were a child, you naturally had lots of activity in your life. As you get older, it takes planning and commitment to get enough movement into your life. You have to make movement a priority and commit to it. In societies where people are long lived, having good relationships and working up a sweat every day is the norm.

Become aware of what your brain is thinking about all during the day. Move your thinking from the brain’s fateful perspective up to “creative thinking.” You are the one that creates your life. On this side of the veil, everything has a gestation period, the time it takes to birth something into reality. So, get moving on positive changes that make your life feel like you have good distribution. That brings your spleen into harmony.

When is Enough?
Enough—a spleen issue—is not something most of us consider. We don’t notice when we have eaten enough, when we have shopped enough, when we have played enough, or worked enough. When it comes to the topic of enough, most people fall into extremes between wanting more and feeling like they don’t have enough.

Comparison is the thief of joy. Comparing ourselves to others often leaves us feeling deprived. We can polarize our thinking into a lifetime of wanting more: more money, more food, more clothes, more cars, more of whatever. We can be insatiable. There’s always the sense that we need more "just to get by,” even though we may have way more than enough on every level. We may never feel the satisfaction of having enough. 

The other extreme is a profound sense of lack that creates a driving obsession to hoard. The stories we tell ourselves is: We don’t have enough time, money, resources, education or opportunity to have or do that. There is never enough, no matter how much we have. This fear-based thinking keeps us deprived. We can’t do any of the things that bring us joy or afford to do any of the fun things because "there isn’t enough!”

There is a moment while eating, playing, or working when we experience the exquisite quality of “enough”—but only if we are looking for it. If we are not paying attention, we go past all these exquisite moments in a blur without recognizing them. We become aware later, after we have eaten too much and wished we had stopped earlier. Many of us don’t notice that we have worked enough until we have used up all our stamina and are totally exhausted.

In your own life, there is a delicious moment in dining when you have eaten just enough. When you observe this phenomenon, the enchantment of the dining experience takes you to whole new levels of appreciation. Similarly, there is a moment when you are working, a moment when you know you have done enough for today. When you become aware that you have done enough, you can look for the cutting off place where you can put everything away and bring the job to completion. By not working yourself to exhaustion, you leave room in your consciousness for inspiration from your own spirit.

When you pay attention to that moment of enough, you also notice when you have not done enough. You might need to do just a few more things to bring the project to a truly satisfying conclusion. When you pay attention to when is enough, life becomes enchanting.

We each create our own reality. As we make it a habit of focusing on all the ways we have enough, our life begins to naturally unfold in ways that let us experience the great fullness of life. 

Everything has a gestation period. When we see ourselves having it, instead of wanting it, getting it becomes a foregone conclusion. Own it now. Let it manifest in God’s time. We just make our life up. Why not make it up where we have enough?

Boundaries, another spleen issue, are all the ways we respect our own principles and values without allowing others to override or negate them—or us overriding theirs. It is how we stand up for and say yes to what we want. It is how we guard our precious time and energy by saying no to what does not work for us. The more decisive we are with our yes and no, the clearer and stronger our boundaries become. And our life becomes our own.

In the Jungian archetypes of “warrior-lover,” our heart is the lover. Spleen is the warrior. The true warrior does not yell at or berate people. That’s the false warrior. Our spleen’s job is maintaining clear boundaries. It says “That is your responsibility or belief. This is mine.” When the spleen system is healthy, we are just as impeccable about not trampling over other’s sacred gardens, sacred beliefs, as not letting them trample on ours. 

With healthy boundaries, there is a line that we will not go beyond in compromising our values, principles and beliefs. We can never be whole until we develop firm boundaries.

People crash through our boundaries through manipulating our feelings. Or they may create a perceived threat that makes us voluntarily give up our boundaries. Benjamin Franklin said, “Those who would give up their freedom for security deserve neither” a spleen issue. You can also see emotional pain and manipulation in families with guilt trips concerning lifestyle choices, controlling shared space and controlling each other’s time and energy.

We collapse our own boundaries by needing to fit in, giving up our choice, not wanting to seem pushy or selfish, believing our choices are not valid, feeling like we are not good enough or that our needs don’t matter. What others think of us pales in comparison to our spiritual warrior having clear boundaries.

A larger truth is: We have the right—and sacred duty—to create the world we want to live in. By developing firm boundaries, we can manifest the world we want to live in, consciously. Our yes can be “yes,” and our no can be “no.” Again, this is the way of a healthy spleen, the peaceful warrior.

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

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