There is a pattern for the process of transformation. There's actually a movement to transformation, and it has one of two directions. One direction is downward. Another goes up. The up direction corresponds to the fire and air elements. The downward direction corresponds to the water and earth elements. So if there's a particularly strong emotion or feeling state that occurs, if we will apply curiosity and attention, that feeling state will either deepen and go downward if the feelings and emotions are watery or earthy-- sadness and heaviness. Or if it is fire and air elements, the emotions tend to erupt in anger--fire element-- or become chaotic--fire and air element. If we do not allow the feeling and emotion states to either go all the way down or all the way up, we often get stuck somewhere on the way down or on the way up. We don't, either hit rock bottom--water and earth-- or fully express ourselves-fire and air. So the game of applying consciousness is being with watery and earthy feeling states until we feel to the depth of our being. And it's often when we get to the depth of our core that insight emerges, and we start to rise up from the depths with qualities of the fire and air elements, enthusiasm and clarity.
The same is true of the fire and air elements. If we'll allow ourselves to let go to the anger and frustration--not to the storyline that's associated with it--to just meet the raw emotion of it in its full expression and to allow for the full expression and movement of it, since those feeling states are all about movement, then, at some point, the intensity of the state will break and we return back to a state of clarity, insight, and wisdom.
It’s like when a child throws a tantrum and he or she expresses the emotion. At the end the emotion has completed itself and it is a distant memory. But when we won’t express, we live as angry, frustrated people. We are truly more malleable than we think we are. In so many ways, we all get fixed into one or a few elements. The truth is that we are much more than being a bitch, or a sad, heavy person. We have access to the full experience of life.
So this is one way to approach the experience of the elements: to simply be with them, to either allow ourselves to descend deeper and deeper into the depth of our being when we’re in water and earth elements or to allow ourselves to express and expand into the fire and air elements. As a result of going to the depths or heights, there’s a kind of widening that occurs, called wisdom because insight naturally emerges when we will be with the full experience of life, however it is.
That’s one way of approaching the elements, either descent or ascent. The other is to have a remedy you provide for the element, so for example: fire and water balance each other out and air and earth balance each other out. So when we’re anxious and ungrounded, we have the possibility of creating more earth element for the excess air element. That’s one approach. Same thing is true if there’ excess fire element, or excess water element. We can apply the opposite element in order to evoke a state of balance.
And there are some aspects of our lives where we need to recreate balance because we simply are unable to be with the full expression of life. There are some experiences that we simply cannot be with. We recreate balance when we are incapable of being with the intensity of the experience. That’s where medicine is useful, where healers are useful. Most alternative medicine, like those from Ayurveda or Chinese Medicine, are all designed around recreating balance. The only problem is that their effects are temporary. As soon as we’ve removed the medicine, we return back to a state of imbalance. Until we learn to experience directly, we keep looking outside of ourselves. Ultimately, the true balance occurs when we’re able to be with ‘what is.’ Until then, that’s where it can be extremely useful to have outside help. Until we develop the skillful means to approach whatever is in our present moment experience and be with it and to allow it to completely transform us. Ultimately, all experiences of life are about transformation. They’re about allowing us to deepen and widen into wisdom, into insight, into Sat-Chit-Ananda.