Fusion of the Five Elements: Meditations for Transforming Negative Emotions

by Nancy Humphreys on April 1, 2012

Mantak Chia

Mantak Chia, Fusion of the Five Elements: Meditations for Transforming Negative Emotions (Destiny Books, 2007) (affiliate link).

With China becoming a new world power these days it would behoove us to know a bit more about its culture. For years, living on the West Coast of the US, I’ve been picking up bits and pieces of ancient Chinese culture.

My sources for learning Chinese culture via jigsaw puzzle are: Chinese medicine which is based on human organs and pressure points; Feng Shui (the Chinese art of placement); The I Ching ( (the ancient book of changes, a manual for social order), Chi Gung, Tai Chi, etc.

Finally, with this book, I’ve found the box for all those the puzzle pieces. This box includes with the whole picture on the top! And that’s not all. Astrology is part of the big picture too.

We are what we eat

Like other Mantak Chia books, this one starts with an overview of cosmology. I was rather startled to draw the conclusion from the discussion on page five about human inferiority to animal and plant abilities to draw on cosmic energy, that obesity may have a cause other than added-sugar in soft drinks. There may be a reason we tend to overeat, a reason that this book can remedy!

But back to the basic cosmology and how it brings together so many disparate elements of ancient Chinese culture. The line drawings in figure 1.1 on page four, “Formation and continuing evolution of the universe” take us from Wu Chi (the great Emptiness) down through the taijitu (Yin/Yang symbol) through the formation of the five elements to the creation of the nine planets and the Sun.

The basic elements of Chinese philosophy were five natural elements: water, fire, wood, metal and earth, each of which was associated with a direction.

If you’ve studied Feng Shui, you know that these five elements are very much involved in choosing the location of houses and other structures and placement of items within them. However, Feng Shui workshops and books for Westerners never mention where the five elements came from. According to this book, the elements are primal forces that created the stars and constellations in the sky and come into the human body through five of the planets (See fig. 1.2 “The Universe” on page six).

The five planets in this cosmological system are Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn. Here is where these planets come from, the directions they signify, and the human organs they are associated with in Chinese medicine.

Water – Mercury – north – winter – kidneys and bladder
Fire – Mars – south – summer – heart and small intestine
Wood – Jupiter – east – spring – liver and gall bladder
Metal- Venus – west – autumn – lungs and large intestine
Earth – Saturn – center – Indian summer – spleen, stomach, & pancreas

Each of the elements (and their planets) is associated with other things such as emotion, shape, color, smell, temperature, sound, texture, size, taste, animal, and type of energy. (See for example, Table 2, Characteristics of positive and negative emotions” in the human organs on page 68.)

As you look at the simple diagram in Figure 1.3 the “Counteracting Energies” of the five elements, you see both the way the elements interact with each other and the negative emotions attached to each element. It is within the “pearl” formed within the human body that these elements can be balanced out and fused, and the negative energy transformed into positive energy.

Chapter 1, called “Formula 1” by Chia, details the way one forms this “pearl of energy” within. Chia starts by explaining the eight natural forces of the universe (the “trigrams”) that one learns in studying the bag’wa or pakua, an eight-sided figure with trigrams around the outside. This octagonal figure is used in understanding Feng Shui and the I Ching. Another concept, central to the I Ching, is the “Cauldron”. This is the place in the body where the fusion of energies from the five elements and associated organs takes place.

In short, while Western alchemists used an “external” (physical) cauldron to try to transmute base metals into gold to create monetary wealth, Eastern alchemists used an “internal” (metaphysical) cauldron to transmute negative energies into positive energies to create physical and emotional health.

The association of planets and health

The five planets are aligned with the energies and emotions attached to their associated organs. Chia explains Chinese medicine by an analogy with Western technology. The organs, he says are like hard drives of a computer—they are where information is stored in the body. The brain is simply a “processor” (and a rather slow one at that!) of the information the body contains.

Taoists, says Chia, have learned to use the energies of the planets in healing. This begins with noticing the motions of the planets. If a certain planet is closer to earth, it is thought it may exert a stronger influence on the associated organs, emotions and human senses. (Haven’t most of us wondered why certain days seem to “feel” more difficult than others?) Knowing what these planetary influences are, we can pay closer attention to what is going on in our bodies and with our emotions.

The planets are central to the final meditations in this book too. Drawing down their energies is part of the process of creating the pearl and using it for healing oneself.

Now, I have to warn you, the subheading of this book may have caught your eye. Who doesn’t need help in transforming negative emotions these days? But, as the author points out right at the start, on the path to mastering the meditations in this book one should be guided by a learned teacher. But that shouldn’t deter us from exploring the possibilities that lie at the end of that path.

The advanced meditations in this book

The first four chapters, i.e., “Formulas 1-4”, can be done by the novice who either has learned certain practices from other books by Chia or a Tai chi/qi gong teacher. These practices include the Microcosmic Orbit, the Healing Sounds, and the Inner Smile. in these meditations you focus on particular organs and senses of your body. You use sound and your intention to move energy to and from particular areas of your body.

In this way you begin to gain control over your emotions and grow a sense of well-being. In short, the first four fusion formulas are like an inner practice of Feng Shui. It is a sort of “cleaning the house” or “inner space-clearing” within the body.

The advanced meditations are something else though. Here, Chia gets into the Tibetan-like idea of preparing for one’s afterlife. To me, this was a jarring transition, going from health to death.

Formula Five is titled, “Creating the Pearl that forms the Energy Body”. You create your energy pearl and work with its energies as you meditate. This part ends on page 89. Suddenly, and without any warning, you see see a section in glaring all-caps, “CREATING THE YIN AND YANG BODIES (THE SOUL AND SPIRIT BODIES) FOR SPACE TRAVEL.

Truly, I wasn’t ready for that. I was still back in my idea of meditation, getting to know my little pearl of energy. I think this section on space travel should have been a separate, introductory, chapter to Part II, the advanced meditations in Formulas Six through Nine.

In these advanced mediations, you use the “pearl of energy” that you’ve created through fusion of the five elemental/planetary energies to generate a separate “soul body” (or “energy body”). This soul body is projected upwards through the top chakra in the middle of the head and used to draw down the energies of planets, sacred animals, and other metaphorical beings.

The soul body can also be used to gain perspective. For example, in the Summary of the book, Chia says, “When you have a problem in your life, you can place the problem in the energy body, and try to separate yourself in this way from the problem…By placing the problem in the energy body, it will feel like you have stepped out of the [boxing] ring.” Illness too can be placed in the energy body for more insight about how to handle it.

Projecting a soul body not only facilitates healing, it also draws on energies from the stars and planets to empower and protect, not only in life but in death. In Formula 9 we glimpse the secret of the ancient Taoist notion of immortality through its title, “Transferring Consciousness to the Energy Body in this Life Brings Immortality”. This is space travel at its safest, and its most dangerous.

I confess, I would love to pursue the advanced meditations in this book, but I would need a guide and some “fellow travelers” here in the United States to do it. (Mantak Chia’s Universal Tao Training Center is in Thailand.) This is pretty scary stuff, but it is also pretty powerful stuff, worth the study and practice it would take.

A final note on the index

This is the only review copy of a book by Chia which came with an index. So I want to comment on it. The index is fairly good but there are two major flaws. There are too many page references after some main headings, particularly those about emotions. “Anger”, for example has 13 page references after it.

Even if “Anger” only had the first three page references, it should have three subheadings. That’s because these three pages discuss three different aspects of “Anger”: the associated (1) element, (2) planet, and (3) organ.

Negative emotions are the reason this book was written; these emotions deserve more analytical treatment from the indexer. Topics of much lesser importance than the emotions do have subheadings rather than a string of page numbers.

Secondly, the indexer was either not familiar or was too familiar with ancient Chinese culture and left out too many things. Topics such as the Microcosmic Orbit (which has a whole section devoted to it), and Attachment and Non-Attachment should not have been omitted from this book’s index. The Microcosmic Orbit has nine pages and two figures devoted to it in this 157-page book. Names of the sacred animals should have been included too.

That said, this book did make a lot of connections among many different aspects of Chinese thought.


Mantak Chia, Fusion of the Five Elements: Meditations for Transforming Negative Emotions (Destiny Books, 2007) (affiliate link).


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