Nature has a great deal to teach us. When we listen, when we observe, her lessons are profound and life-changing. There are many ways to learn from Nature.
Begin with the power and lessons of the elements
In my daily spiritual practice, I happen to drum on an Indian drum I made 40 years ago. I drum to center myself, my day and my thoughts. Then I begin to drum each of the directions, each of the elements. And for each element I choose one characteristic that I want to incorporate into my day.
Fire – East
Medicine wheels begin with fire, our beginning, our emergence. It is the direction of the East, the rising sun.
What does fire mean to you? What qualities does it carry and which one do you want in your life today?
I see fire as passion, as warmth, as light. I also see it as a cleanser, a clearer, a destroyer that clears the way for new growth to emerge. How do you see fire?
Earth – South
Earth is our foundation, our nourishment, our home base. It is related to the South. Nature has many lessons for us – patience, ongoing cycles, constant change, unfolding. What qualities of the element of earth call to you?
Water – West
Water is in the West. Its range is powerful, it can be still, it can wear down boulders into sand, it can work its way over and around an under most anything. It is also us, we are mostly water so it is life to us.
Air – North
Air is spirit, the North. I think of the shape – shifting clouds that are flexible and ever-changing. It is the “above” in “As above, so below”. It can mean the Great Mystery. Its qualities are life-giving, spirit-healing, idea-carrying. What does the element of air mean to you?
The Deeper Song Process for Connecting with Each Element
I made up a process. Here it is. Adjust it as you will:
– Choose one element – earth, water, air, fire – to explore and identify what it means to you.
– In a meditative state, sit quietly and immerse yourself in that element. Feel its spirit, hear its sounds, ask for its cooperation in helping you understand its gifts.
– How does this element feel?
– What does element sound like?
– What’s beneath/above/around the element?
– Is there a center? What’s it like?
– What quality of this element would be helpful for you to focus on today?
– What message does this element have for you?
Keep exploring wherever your inner voice leads. Do this with each of the four elements.
Add the power of the elements to your spiritual awareness
You may have the opportunity to walk in nature and deepen your awareness with each of the element. You may simply look out your window at a setting sun or the shape-shifting of clouds.
If you like, find a representation of the element
If it deepens your connection, find an object that represents the element to you and place it in view as a reminder.
A rock or crystal may represent earth. Hold it in your hand and listen. A shell might be a talisman of water. A feather fallen from a passing bird might represent air, and a simple candle may represent fire. It could be photographs or objects or even just the words printed on paper. Or you can use your imagination. Find a way to deepen your connection with each element.
Create some form of spiritual practice that allows you to learn from the elements each day.
Expand your exploration
As you explore, begin to identify the element that calls to you the most. I like the passion of fire but I identify with the fluidity and persistence of water.
My current focus for personal study is leading me to deepening my connection with nature. The clouds have always spoken to me. Each element is within us but you might identify with one more strongly than another.
Use the elements to become more self-aware
As you meditate with each of the elements, look for the qualities that call to you and let them be your guide as you flow purposefully through your day.
Keep those qualities in your consciousness and see how you can apply them to your life. Tune into the element at quiet moments throughout your day to ask for any new messages or guidance.
At the end of the day, journal what you discovered and decide on some steps you can take to deepen your relationship with that element.
Develop the lessons of the elements
For four years, I have been working with allowing my life to unfold. That’s a core element of nature. The lesson of unfolding is in the budding of a flower, the patience that is pervasive in all of nature, the acceptance of the natural cycles.
I love the idea of the persistence of water and its ability to go fast or slow, to move around a barrier or over it or sit quietly in a still pool. That’s so much a part of the unfolding cycle.
I see air as my imagination, the shape-shifting I do with the concepts I discover in order to bring them into written form to share with others.
I am very much a rock of the earth – strong, steady, one to be depended upon. I’ve known that most of my life.
Fire is my natural excitement, my enthusiasm, which is so contagious to others. It’s my passion that’s driving me forward as fast as I can go.
Look at the element and find what aspects you identify with
As you explore and journey, select a few qualities you want to bring to the forefront of your life. Find creative ways to practice them. Spend more time with that element in nature and ask for guidance and clarity.
Add the quality of nature’s elements to your life and enjoy the natural unfolding it brings.
To Sing a Deeper Song Consider:
Podcast: 06– Unfolding And The Art Of Wu Wei