Or is your life so crammed full you’ve forgotten the taste, the feel, and sumptuous joy of spaciousness?
Having a full life is not necessarily a bad thing. It can be a sign of passion, enthusiasm, and dedication as well as the source of great happiness.
But when you start to feel frazzled and overwhelmed – as though there’s not enough time or space – something’s gone awry.
The Healing Power of the 5 Elements
Many ancient medical and spiritual traditions believe that everything in this world – external and internal – comes about due to the interactions of the 5 elements:
Everything is comprised of these 5 elements – all physical, sensual, mental, and spiritual phenomenon – although the names vary depending upon the particular tradition.
On a physical level they correlate internally and externally to:
- Earth – solidity
- Water – cohesion
- Fire – temperature
- Air – motion
- Space – the spatial container that holds the other 4 active elements
On an emotional and mental level they also correlate to:
- Earth – groundedness
- Water – comfort
- Fire – creativity
- Air – flexibility
- Space – spaciousness
In the West, we intuitively apply these same elemental attributes when we consider anger to be “fiery” or describe a person as “grounded” or “spacey.”
Using the Natural Elements to Restore and Replenish Yourself
The 5 elements are constantly interacting and changing the world around us as well as well as operating within us to create health and well being or imbalance and ill health.
Almost anything can imbalance your inner elements from food, movies, exercise, noise, environmental toxins, and wind to thoughts and emotions. But your inner elements can also be brought back into balance through smart choices.
Although we can and often do live in a state of imbalance, we never feel quite right. When the elements go way out of balance, serious illness occurs. But there are usually warning signs all along the way. It’s wise to pay attention to the signs and make adjustments before ill health really takes a hold.
The natural elements have the power to restore, replenish, and heal us. One way to help bring your inner elements back into balance is by consciously taking in the right mix of earth, water, fire, wind, or space.
We’re all different. One person might need to soak in a warm mineral pool, whereas another will be refreshed by a cool shower or waterfall. Someone else will benefit from gazing into space.
Reflection: What’s Your Relationship to Space?
The reflection this week involves take some time to look at your relationship to space.
The following quotes from Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche describe the space element and what it feels like when the space element is in balance.
“Everything arises from space, exists in space, and dissolves into space. In us that sacred element of space manifests as awareness. Experience is what arises in awareness, as the content of awareness, but it is not something other than awareness.”
“When the space element is balanced in us, there is room in life; whatever arises can be accommodated. There is enough time, enough emotional capacity, enough tolerance. The elements of experience all fit; they are neither too much nor too little. We are not dissociated from experience nor completely caught by it. Rather than running after or away for the content of experience, we are more rooted in ourselves or the one who is experiencing.”
When there is too much space we become “spacey.” The result is a lack of awareness, presence, and focus. There is a sense of being lost or out of touch. If that’s the case, we need to get grounded rather than gaze into space.
When there is too little space, we are dominated by whatever arises, everything seems difficult, and we can easily become overwhelmed. One of the best medicines to counter this lack of space is gazing into the sky.
“Go up on the top of a hill where there is a big, unobstructed view of the sky. Your eyes should be open, your body relaxed, your breath free and easy. Breathe in the open, clear sky, and allow yourself to dissolve in it when you exhale. Let pure, infinite space pervade your body, your energy, your mind. Integrate your awareness with space. Merge with space.”
When it’s not possible to get out into nature, you can also acquire a sense of space by pausing for a slow, deep breath, taking a short break, stepping back from a problem, visualizing yourself on top of a mountain looking into space, or letting go of the thoughts and emotions that are closing in on you.
My husband and I just returned from two gorgeous days on the sunny side of the island. I felt especially nourished by the element of space. Although I didn’t climb to the top of a mountain, I did enjoy gazing into the limitless sky above the vast blue ocean. In the evening, I sat on the sand beneath the moonlight, drinking in the dark expanse of space in front of me. One of the keys of working with an element is to actively engage and allow it to penetrate your entire being. Another way I’m creating space is trying out a more spacious blog theme.
How about you? Do you feel spacey? Or do you feel there’s not enough time and space in your life? Do you ever work with the outer elements to bring more balance into your being?
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Source: Healing with Form, Energy, and Light by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche
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