Chinese philosophy, culture, and traditions are deeply rooted through the influence of the Five-Element or Wu-xing Theory. The five elements are;  Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood.  Each element is associated to all things in nature, such as seasons, foods, colors, emotions, organs, and shapes.

Although I have been a student of feng shui for about 8 years and have read and heard many explanations of the theory, it still takes a long time to absorb and understand the depth of this theory.   Dr. Hsu was explaining the theories once again, reviewing the qualities of the element Water, and all of sudden something just stood out in bold and I couldn’t get it out of thoughts.

In Chinese philosophy the Water element reflects through the ears. They say that the moral characteristics that correspond to Water are humbleness, wisdom, and intelligence. I never could make the connection between the characteristics and the element.  It never made any sense to me.  But now, the ears puts the pieces of the puzzle together.

We hear and listen with ears. Hearing is a passive action that doesn’t require a conscious effort.  Listening, on the other hand, is being in the moment and requires a conscious awareness. So, all these years, I thought I was listening but now I realize I must have been just hearing these theories.  It’s a bit of a shock when you realize how long it’s taken to have something click.  You know how they say, “the teacher appears when the student is ready,” I guess this was my lesson.  Humbleness, wisdom, and intelligence can be developed through the simple act of listening.

Listening is a learned action. In our digital society, where our senses are over stimulated it becomes harder and harder to be patient and listen.  We all want to be heard, but maybe we have to first practice listening. As a society, we can use humbleness. I’m just as guilty as everyone else, but I’m trying.  Please try too.

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