the five colours make people’s eyes blind,
– Laozi Dao De Jing, Chapter 12.
This passage of the Dao De Jing is hugely important and complex when considered from the perspective the five elements and the body, mind, and world.
Lets look a little more deeply into this topic:
The five colours are represented by,
red, green, yellow, black, white,
and match up with the elements of,
fire, wood, earth, water, metal,
the organs of,
heart, liver, spleen, kidneys, lungs,
the facial organs of,
tongue, eyes, mouth, ears, nose,
and the aspects of the mind of,
consciousness, yang spirit, intention, will, yin spirit.
In context with the rest of the chapter
the five sounds make the ears deaf,
the five tastes make people’s mouths blunt,
galloping hunting through the fields makes people’s hearts do violent things,
difficult to obtain items, makes people’s movement hindered.
We can see that Laozi is discussing an early version of what would ultimately become the theory of how the five elements relate to the sensory organs, the mind, and meditation.
I am categorically not saying that Laozi is discussing the complex theory popularized by Lu Dongbin and the internal elixir schools of Daoism, but rather that this passage is an early example of what would ultimately go on to become one of the most important aspects of Daoist meditation called “The five energies revert to their origin.”
I teach a course on this topic and if you have found this post interesting, please feel free to contact me about it.