Elemental Being

Preparation & Purpose

 

Process

 

Reflection

 

Reflection: Resting gently after those experiences, just allow yourself to be still and connected to the elements of nature within yourself. When you are ready, gently open your eyes.
> Reflect on how you feel different after this meditation.
> How do you feel emotionally?
> How would you describe your sense of awareness?

If you are by yourself, write answers to these questions down. If you are with others, take turns sharing your experiences and listening to the experiences of others.

[Download MP3s: Elemental Being 1 (Preparation & Purpose), 2 (Process) and 3 (Reflection), or you can use the Transcript text below to guide others.]

 

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[Transcript Elemental Being]

Preparation: Find yourself a quiet place and sit on the ground. You can sit on a cushion if you wish, or in a chair if you need to. Preferably this place is in or near nature, but it doesn’t need to be. This meditation focuses on the nature inside us, the nature that we are.

Purpose: This process can be done alone or with others. It is meant to relax and help us realize that, while there may be a physical separation, there is no ultimate separation between the “environment out there” and ourselves. The nature “out there” and the nature “in here” are completely and intricately interconnected.

This process is based on a traditional Buddhist practice and is also inspired by the work of Wes Nizker, author of Buddha’s Nature.

Process: If you are sitting on the ground, recognize that this symbolizes entering a deeper state of consciousness and your connection to the earth. If you are in a chair, bring your awareness to your bare feet on the ground, linking you to the earth. Sit with a straight back, and feel the crown of you head stretching into the sky. Feel that sense of expansiveness, combined with a sense of groundedness through your feet’s connection to the earth.

Start with you eyes open focusing gently on any nature you can see around you, maybe out a window, maybe a potted plant inside. Then gently close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths. Allow any tension that’s in your body to leave you. Sink into the earth, into the floor, blowing that tension out with every exhalation. If any thoughts come into your mind throughout this meditation, allow them to be, let them go, don’t try to change them, and focus back your breath (or my words).

Start by focusing on the element of earth in your body. As you sit there with your eyes closed, feel your teeth resting together, move them slightly so you feel tooth against tooth, reminding you that your teeth and your bones exist as rock, as calcium phosphate. These hard substances form the framework of your body, keeping you together, keeping you where you’re meant to be. The element of earth is the body’s solidity, its hardness, its mass and its weight. This is what responds to the effects of gravity. Feel yourself resting heavily on the earth, knowing that no matter what you do you are always held by the earth’s gravitational field. You cannot fall off this planet, you are always held securely to it. Spend several breaths just feeling the element of earth within your body.

Now shift your attention to the element of water. Bring your attention back to your mouth and feel the saliva that is in your mouth. Feel around with your tongue, feel the wetness. This wetness, like sweat, lymph, and blood, is coursing through our bodies all the time. Our blood is very close in chemical composition to the ancient sea water from which we once evolved. The organs of our body average at about 75% water, and some, like the lungs and the brain, are about 90%. Feel your body as a bag of fluid. Also bring your attention to the sensation of this liquid flowing throughout our body, transporting nutrients, oxygen and waste, through our organs and out into the environment. Spend several breaths simply feeling the element of water within your body.

Now bring your attention to the element of fire in your body. As you sit there, see if you can be aware of the very subtle heat radiating from your body. This is your metabolism, the result of your digestion of food. These chemical reactions create energy from the food we eat, and this food, whether it is plants or animals that once ate plants, ultimately comes from the sun. Plants transform the energy of the sun into their bodies through photosynthesis, animals eat the plants, and we eat the animals and the plants. So as you feel the warmth of your body, feel that connection back to the sun. Spend a few breaths feeling the element of fire in your body.

Now bring your attention back to the element of air. Place your attention on the effortless inhale and exhale of your breath. With every breath we take, both in and out, there is no separation between the atmosphere around us and our bodies. When you think about it, we are actually sharing breath with not only all the other humans and animals on the earth, but also all the plants and the trees. Every out breath of ours full of carbon dioxide is absorbed by these plants and trees, used to create their woody bodies, and breathed out as the oxygen that is so vital to our existence. Spend a few moments just breathing and being aware of our sharing of breath with all other beings on this planet.

Finally, as you sit here, see if you can bring all of those elements together, and realize that we are the intersection of those four elements. Earth, water, fire and air. They are all constantly moving, traveling, changing and transforming through our bodies.

Feel an answer to the question “Who am I?”

Reflection: Resting gently after those experiences, just allow yourself to be still and connected to the elements of nature within yourself. When you are ready, gently open your eyes. Reflect on how you feel different after this meditation. How do you feel emotionally? How would you describe your sense of awareness? If you are by yourself, write answers to these questions down. If you are with others, take turns sharing your experiences and listening to the experiences of others.

 

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