How to Meditate on the Five Elements

- in My Mindfulness
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Meditate on the Five Elements

As we said in our previous article, meditation is a clean body state that can help us cope with everyday stress.  It will make you more peaceful, more focused, less worried about discomfort, more appreciative and attentive to everything in your life. Probably most importantly, it will help you to understand your mind. In the beginning, you may find difficult to clear your mind, but there are several techniques that can help you achieve this. In this article, we will outline the basics on how to meditate on the five elements.

Meditation on the five elements (Pancha Mahabhutas) frees the mind from the usual narrow concerns and gives it a sense of its huge potential powers. The human mind is capable of huge creativity, but regrettably, most of us are so absorbed in petty, everyday worries that we have no time to realize our hidden potential. Meditation on the natural elements shows us how we are a part of this universe and how we all share the powers of the cosmos.

Practicing the Meditation on the Five Elements

The Laya yoga method of meditation on the elements begins with sitting in a relaxed posture and then imagining that the body and mind are becoming one with the elements. Usually, the most unsophisticated element is taken first, and the mind is gradually allowed to move to the more subtle elements until finally it is absorbed into the most subtle element of all: space. As the element meditation moves upward through the body, each element is associated with a color, shape, and deity, which reveal their universal dimensions.

Earth

The first element is earth (Prithvi). This is the basic substance from which our bodies are made. Symbolically the earth represents stability and volume and is therefore shown as a yellow square. According to Hindy tradition, it is ruled by the lord of cosmic evolution, Brahma. In our bodies, the influence of earth extends from the feet to the knees.

  1. To meditate on the earth element, sit absolutely motionless and try to visualize the entire planet Earth as being a part of your body.
  2. Gradually identify the different parts of the body with the various features of Earth. The streams and rivers are the blood vessels, the forest trees are the hairs on the body, and so on.
  3. When you feel that your body has lost its individuality and has become this entire planet Earth, then move on to the next element.

Water

The second element for meditation is water (Ap). It is not just the water we perceive in lakes, rivers, and the sea, but all flowing things. All that is capable of change and can flow has the life-force of water in it. Water is symbolized as a white circle. White because all colors are contained in it and circular because it represents flow, a return to the source.

Water rules the human body from the knees to the navel. Its ruling divinity is Lord Narayana, the power of perpetual life. The word Narayana also translates as “moving on water.” This may be a symbolic reference to the fact that life originated in water, and it still begins in the amniotic fluid that surrounds the embryo. Let your mind and body dwell upon the flow of water, and gradually they will lose their fixed shapes and melt away into the rhythms of the universe.

Fire

Fire

When the mind and body have become liquid, move to the next element, fire (Agni). The rule of fire extends from the navel to the heart. Fire is represented by a red triangle pointing upward to indicate its vertical movement. Meditation on fire just after meditating on water brings balance to our body. The cool and liquid nature of the mind is now converted into heat and activity. The Lord of tears and death, Rudra, rules this element.

  1. To meditate on fire allow your mind and body to feel the heat rising from the navel to the heart center.
  2. As you advance in the identification of your body and mind with fire, the body temperature will rise.
  3. When you feel the body becomes too hot, switch your meditation to the next element, air (Vayu).

Air

Air rules the body from the heart to the zone between the eyebrows. It is represented as a black or blue crescent and its deity is Ishvara, the lord of the cosmos. The first three elements have form, but the air is shapeless and consequently more subtle. Meditation on air brings the mind closer to the unstructured reality, which is the goal of all spiritual life.

  1. At first, let your body be blown by the refreshing air.
  2. Then imagine that your mind has become very sharp and perceptive.
  3. Allow your body to lose its shape and become light as air. You will feel that you are levitating.

Air is the vehicle of the vital energies. Meditation on it will swiftly lead you to the final stage: the stage of the most subtle, space (Akasha).

Space – Akasha

The space element rules the area above the eyebrows and extends beyond the limits of our physical body into space. As space is beyond all human senses, it has no symbolic shape or color. Sometimes, however, it is represented as a point (Bindu) to stress the idea that it stands on the brink of the manifest and the unmanifest, the seen and the unseen, the unsophisticated and the subtle, and all other such dualities.

When the mind is completely identified with the space element in meditation, it is “no more.” This is enlightenment, the final goal of spiritual Sadhana. The space element is traditionally ruled by Sadashiva (always auspicious), an aspect of Shiva.

If you want to explore deeper this subject refer to Secret Power of Tantrik Breathing: Techniques for Attaining Health, Harmony, and Liberation

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