The Six Element practice, also known as the Dhatuvibbanga Sutta, is an exposure of the elements, Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Space, and Consciousness. Each individual element is always changing and growing and we cannot hold onto them which is where the practice reflects from- letting go. It is a practice that teaches us to separate our higher self from our bodies.
The Earth Element
The earth element within us is solid. When calling on this element we feel our bodies. We feel the weight of them, feel the way our hands are placed and how our knees are crossed. We feel every part of our body including everything inside of it like the bones, the organs, and the muscles. After this, we call on the solid materials around us like the floor, the chairs, the building, the trees. We let the noises outside come to us and we hear the life moving around us. We remind ourselves we are all one and all connected as form.
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The Water Element
We then call to us everything that is a liquid which can be a little off-putting for some! We call to us the liquid that we have in our bodies such as mucus, blood, sweat and urine. We feel these liquids, we feel our saliva and any pressure on the bladder. We recognize that the water within us is borrowed for its purpose but it is not ours. We are separate from it.
The Fire Element
Next, we call the fire element. This is our metabolism and our energy. We can feel the heat in our body, the air we breathe, and feel our heart beating. We feel our muscles and nerves twitch and remind ourselves that we are not these things. All energy is borrowed from the fire element outside of us, including the sun, the energy in food, even a cup of coffee.
The Air Element
The air element sits mainly in our lungs but also in cells within the body. We notice of our breathing followed by the air around us. We feel the air touching our skin and hear the breeze outside. We are breathing in this element all day so it is very powerful.
The Space Element
This is a unique element. We cannot see it or touch it and we have boundaries when it comes to space. While meditating, we can feel the detachment from the universe and focus on re-attatching. Space is borrowed and it flows through us. We can never own it.
The Consciousness Element
The final element is not as easy to decipher as it is not a physical element but the Buddha introduced the element by teaching, "Then there remains only consciousness, bright and purified."
As we have released all other elements we are now free to focus purely on ourselves. We can focus on our feelings and emotions. Whatever emotions we feel at that time, even if it is fear, we can feel the emotion but know that it is just that- an emotion. It is not us and we must let it go.
This form of meditation is very powerful and a beautiful way of putting things into perspective. It is especially effective when we are feeling physical or emotional pain as we can totally disconnect from it. It is a reminder of our higher selves and what we really are which is not our physical bodies, we are souls within a body here to experience life for all that it is. When we feel this and practice this meditation it can dramatically help us detach from any discomfort we feel.
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Above and Below