An Invitation: Earth Elements Sit Spot Meditation
They believed every element on earth could be categorized into one of the four elements:
Earth, Air, Water, and Fire.
This is an invitation for you to experience all four elements in your favorite sit spot.
Make your way to your favorite sit spot, preparing yourself mentally for this new experience.
Take a comfortable seat, close your eyes and draw in several long, deep breaths, relaxing a bit more with every exhale.
Guide your awareness to your body. Just check in to see how you feel, see how the air feels around you. No need to make any judgments, just feel. Prepare yourself mentally for discovery.
Gently open your eyes with a sense of newness about where you are.
Starting with one element, think about all the ways it is manifested around you.
- Air. Air is going in and out of your lungs at all times. In and out of the trees. It's being pushed around by the wind. It is present in the space between every blade of grass. It extends into the endless sky. What else?
- Water. Your own body is made primarily of water. Every green living thing you see is drinking in delicious water from underneath the soil. Underneath you, there might be a natural spring squeezing liquid through its pores. Poke a finger into into the dirt a little ways, and the moisture in the soil alerts you to water. Swirl your tongue around your mouth and feel the water there. What else holds water?
- Earth. You're sitting on it, supported. It holds all things in place around you. Earth is all around you and extends from the place you sit all the way around the orb of the planet and back again. It's most easily evident in the ground beneath you though. Press your hands firmly into the Earth and make note of how Earth feels.
- Fire. Unless you have a physical fire burning nearby, the sun will probably be the most evident manifestation of fire. You may feel fire in your belly if it's digesting food. If it’s a hot day, you might be able to feel fire on your skin. What else is burning?
Touch anything that’s within arm's reach and make a mental note about which element it most embodies.
When you're done, take another moment to tune into your own body and what you're feeling. Which element do you feel strongest in your own body or mood? You don't have to think too hard about this. You should naturally just feel inclined toward one of the elements, but these descriptions might help a little:
- Fire: fiery/fired up, energetic, burning
- Earth: rooted and grounded, level, stable
- Water: calm and fluid
- Air: rational and floating
Now, close your eyes again and take 5 deep, deep drawn breaths to end your practice. Notice the balance of all the elements around you and inside you that you've just explored.
Either before you leave your sit spot or once you get back home, take a moment to journal a bit about your experience.
I recommend writing down a few snippets in a nature journal after every one of your forest bathing experiences, including this one. To start, write a little about which element you feel like today and why. Draw little icons for each element and jot where you noticed them underneath (see Nature elements in above image).
Write whatever else comes to mind, anything you don't want to forget, or thoughts you want to return to later.
I'd love to hear from you in the comments.
What element do you relate most with? What did you notice after doing this exercise?