Home > The Interaction of the Four Elements

The Interaction of the Four Elements




The Interaction of the Four Elements     Jason Espada 

In our everyday experience, the principles we refer to as the four elements are always functioning together in us.  Understanding how they work can be useful in many ways.  By the term the four elements I’m referring to fire, water, air and earth.  These function in our experience as qualities, or as far reaching principles.  They can exist in us to a greater or lesser extent, and in a more or less balanced way. 

In general, as a starting point,  

fire warms, illuminates, causes growth, and is there as light, brilliance, creativity, diversification, or growing strength or power 

water moistens, eases the way, is gentle, nourishing, refreshing, heart-centered, sensitive, purifying, fluid and malleable 

air moves swiftly as thought, intelligence, moves unobstructed, without limits, as breath, permeates, penetrates, provides spaciousness and circulation 

earth stabilizes, is tangibility itself, provides traction, weight, substance, firmness, solidity, and stability 

It should be noted here that each of the elements also have a shadow side, when they are functioning physically and psychologically either in excess or in a state of deficit.  So, fire can also burn, be critical, impatient, destructive in a counter productive way, impulsive, or contributing to growth in an unbalanced way, excessive, destabilizing; or when we lack the fire element, a person can be cold emotionally, without passion, inspiration, or drive, energy or endurance; 

Water, in excess, can be too sensitive, wishy-washy, too changeable, malleable, melodramatic, hysterical, over emotional; when the water element is lacking, a person can be without feeling or appreciation, without joy, or with little well-nourished growth; 

Air, in excess, can make a person flighty, mentally overactive, skipping around without much strength of focus, or spacing out; when deficient, a person can exhibit a lack of thorough thought, consideration or grace. 

Too much earth can feel heavy, weighed down, lethargic, sluggish, burdened, stuck in the mud or in counter productive inertia; with a lack of earth one can feel not grounded, without focus or solidity or enough weight. 

Now, while considering the elements can be useful for self-understanding or cultivating balance, these reflections are further enriched when we consider their interaction in pairs.  These reflections are can be good for cultivating balanced psychological and physical states, and can also work to heal or to correct imbalance, to promote well being, strength and balanced growth into the future. 

And so, the elements considered in pairs: 

In conjunction, in a balanced way, earth and fire together promotes growth –

think tropics – where the earth and fire elements are there together in a garden, powerfully, with flourishing growth; 

fire and water together make for warm emotion, passion 

air and fire produce fiery intellect, thorough going, bright, illuminating, powerful thought 

Water and air together equals balanced intellect and feeling, heart and mind in conjunction 

water and earth produces nourished earth, think: like a plant that’s been watered, physical joy and well being down to the roots 

Together with air, earth has space, and order; earth can stabilize the mind in meditation 

Now consider: what element is most present?  What is lacking?

What, if any, is clearly dominant in its effect at any given time of day?

What is in excess, and what element (quality or principle) can I cultivate to bring greater balance? 

When one element is in excess, very often another will be lacking.  For example, if someone is flighty, often there’s a lack of earth; if sluggish, often there is a lack of fire, inspiration or drive; if over-emotional, sometimes there is a lack of thought (or the air element) contributing to that.

With observation, we can how these dynamics work. 

A two step method 

Moving toward balance can involve either producing or augmenting one element, or correcting an excess.  Regarding some element or quality that is excessive, first, sometimes just being aware of some imbalance is enough to curb it or slow it down.  If we are impatient, and aware of it, that can calm the feeling, to some extent at least.  Or, if we are prone to being flighty, or excessive in speaking, just being conscious of when that is happening can lessen that tendency.  However, for more substantial change for what is in excess in our person, a second step is needed, and that is cultivating some qualities in our character, to bring balance.  This takes more effort over time, of course, but it is the only way to achieve the balance in our constitution that we are ultimately looking for. 

Consciously cultivating the elements 

Cultivating the quality of a particular element can be done in a number of ways.  If one knows what an element is, essentially, a person can focus on that feeling, and whatever we focus on increases in us.  That is what reflection is for, it is one of the purposes of meditation. 

Also, we can look for the element we want to better understand, and cultivate in ourself,  in the natural world.  Earth is all around us as the ground, and as grasses, woods, rock, roots, mountains; fire is there as the sun, volcano, and vivid colors; air as breezes strong winds,  

wide open spaces, our own breath; and water as the rain, oceans, rivers, streams, waterfalls, lakes, wells, and the water we wash our bodies with and are cleaned by, the pure water we drink, and so on. 

Reflecting on the four elements can yield rich results.  These are themes that get more interesting and fruitful with time.  Over time, the more interest, creative thought and attention we give to this extensive subject the more we can see its effect.  We can have greater means available to us to influence our experience. The effect at first can be subtle and gradual, but it is clearly tangible, especially on the inner level. 

Search more related documents:The Interaction of the Four Elements

Set Home | Add to Favorites

All Rights Reserved Powered by Free Document Search and Download

Copyright © 2011
This site does not host pdf,doc,ppt,xls,rtf,txt files all document are the property of their respective owners. complaint#downhi.com