2021-06-24 Mindfulness of the Body (4 of 5) The Four Elements
9:38PM Jun 24, 2021
So but the topic for today is all introduced this way. And that is that many years ago, you saw a poem. And I remember all the pieces of the park poem, and it was very simple poem that said something that if you're running, walk, if you're walking stand, if you're standing, sit down, if you're sitting lay down, and I think it went on, and it was, but it was a progressive movement, to be getting quieter and quieter still there and still there, to less activity, less energy involved in doing and doing and doing. And, and this is kind of could be described a little bit the movement of meditation, that we're we're moving from a mind which is very much more active, busy, abstract, thinking a lot. And letting the thinking mind the abstraction mind become quieter, but not just become quiet and calm, but become clear and clear. So there's a clarity of attention, that goes completely together with no longer being so involved in a caught up in the thinking world. And so much of the stress that human beings experience, you might attribute it to the world around you, which has some truth to it. But it's all processed through the world, much of it processed through the world of our thoughts. And our thoughts themselves get transformed into emotions and emotions come back and feed the thoughts and there can be this complicated loop, that Mobius loop that we can ever get out of thoughts and feelings and spinning and, and but as we sit down to meditate, some of this stuff quiets down. And thinking about the future quiets down, and we're just thinking about the present, thinking about the present in terms of me, myself, and my, and how I'm feel, or my resentments, or dreams quiets down. And we just get quieter and quieter. in there, then that mind, as we realize, we give our mind a vacation, or rest from the incessant ways in which we can be thinking, think and think and think. And I can remember being laying on grass someplace, looking at the clouds, drifting by, and feeling so content and happy and peaceful. And just watching the patterns of the moving clouds as they move through the blue sky above me. And after a while, not only, you know, so much of my, my daily life and concerns fell away, it was just, I was just there with kind of absorbed or evolved, and just watching the changing patterns of clouds and the movement of it. Until I would say that it wasn't even thinking there are clouds, there was just awareness of movement and color and shapes that are shifting and changing. And as much more elemental, basic, and, and the relief, the peace, the simplicity, the quiet of the mind that can do that. With a clarity of seeing not numbed out, but with clarity just get so peaceful. And it was a wonderful break is a wonderful pause, it was a little vacation from being so caught up in things. So and then if we have that experience, then we have can have a new appreciation of how the mind gets caught, how the mind gets preoccupied and spins out and busy know that if all we ever know is a busy mine, it feels it feels normal. And the stresses of it just are taken for granted or not even knowing they're just, it's so so normalized, we don't even know it's there. But if we have this experience is very strong, radical experience of really things getting quiet in the mind, then we can start taking more consideration and care and and of this of what the mind is doing and would be getting us a feeling for what freedom is and pieces. That's not in chasing more thoughts. Not by thinking better. But by quieting the thoughts, but not to numb out or be disconnected to the world, but to have ever kind of a different kind of intelligence operating. That is the intelligent that it's not so much centered in thinking. So it's in this context, I'd like to talk about this next to exercise of
eco mindfulness of the four elements, and this is the simple it's very simple, maybe appropriately simple instructions, some of the simplest ones for mindfulness practice.
One considers one read one
contemplates the same body. However, it is placed however disposed to whatever way the body is sitting, standing, walking, whatever way we are, as consisting of elements Thus, in this body, there are the earth element, the water element, the fire element, and the air element. And, and this is supposed to be an ancient Indian idea that all physical matter is made up of four different elements, or qualities or characteristics or processes. Earth i think that that,
yeah, earth, water, fire, and air. And kinda like, you know, the Earth is the foundation for the oceans and the rivers. And so then fires little bit more the fires of kitchen fires of the ancient world, and campfires of the ancient world that and then higher than that is there. So it's kind of goes from the most solid to the most ethereal or most light. And, but how it applies to our body is that it's aware of the raw basic sensations of the body, the physical sensations that make up our experience of the body, not necessarily what the body is, but how from the inside out, we experience the body. And it simplifies all the possible experience we have into four categories, those have solidity, those have liquidity, those have motion, and those have movement. So solidity is the earth element, liquidity is water element. And the temperature is the fire element. And movement, the wind is associated is the, the air element. And so there is so much you have to remember and fit everything into these four elements, ideas, but to really understand the sensations at those point to sort of feel the solidity, the hardness, the softness of the body, the weight of the body, the lightness of the body, perhaps, to feel the temperature of the body, the cold and the heat, to feel the movements of the body, the sum of the movements of the chest and the diaphragms as we breathe, them, sometimes you can feel what that feels like the blood coursing through us or the movements of the heart and whatever it might be. And then the water element is as all the things that are kind of fluid, and a little bit sticky that says that it's what credit creates stickiness. And so I associated with with the muscles are tense, and other people might have different associations to the elements. But as they get to kind of tight, sometimes sticky and weak begin, unstick them if sometimes you have to massage your muscles a lot to get them kind of to unstick. But saliva when we swallow is definitely fluid. And, and. And so here the idea is to drop in to the raw fundamental simplicity of the body, kind of like you're looking at the clouds and just letting everything else go. Trusting sensing this very basic aspect of human life, the sensing of the body, to get concentrated, to be required to begin letting go of the complicated world of thoughts and ideas and, and to really kind of begin more and more tuned to get concentrated into the world of our sensations. And as we do that the mind gets quieter and quieter, still learns Stiller. And there's two great benefits of this many benefits. But one is that the mind gets quieter. And we have a whole different vantage point to be wise about the thinking mind and not be lost in it and the other advantage Is that as we get deeper and deeper kind of absorb that concentrated way into this world of just basic flow of sensations, the kaleidoscope, the river of sensations and move through us all the different sensations that come and go to read less and less hold them together, we're less and less relate to them as abstractions. The idea that there's a hand is, it's true enough, but it's a little bit of abstraction compared to just the sensations of the hand, close your eyes and just the sensations as they buzzing, glowing, pulsing tingling sensations of the hand. And the kind of the handedness the idea of a hand falls away. Because that's a little bit of a concept we overlay on the hand. And, but just the sensations of it, we find that it lenses bind yourself to more and more the mind letting go letting go letting go. And even holding even, there's a subtle way in which the idea of head is a little attachment, a little holding on to something that's not needed to hold on to, in deep meditation. And so, this idea of dropping into the elemental sensations, the raw Foundation,
from which we build so much of our lives, and, and get concentrated there, just the simplicity of the elemental qualities of our physical body is so as a very key aspect of Vipassana practice, and because it allows us to see the changing nature of phenomenon, the impermanent in constant nature of this, and that, itself leads to freedom. So, may you spend time in the garden of your body with the basic foundational ingredients of their from which we build so much of a complicated life, and maybe, stop maybe for a while from eating processed food, but rather, start with the elemental ingredients, and just feel and sense and let them the rottenness of them? Like eating raw vegetables, raw food, that my days full, full of nutrients, may the raw elemental sensations of your body nourish you with some of the best nutrients that we can have. So thank you very much.