July 29, 2010, Thursday AM

July 29, 2010, Thursday AM, Venture Fourth, Sunnyside

Keywords: elements, akasha

Aaron: My blessings and love to you all. It is very good to be here with you and with all the guides and loving entities that accompany you. You see 20 people in the room; I feel a great many more entities. Dan has just sent some pictures from the Casa showing all the orbs, the pictures of the entities. I think that pictures taken here if the light were right would pick up a great many vibrant spirits.

These 3 days we plan to bring two seemingly separate things together. We want you to get to know the 5 elements, the experience of them working together and the experience when each element is balanced or out of balance. We want you to get to know each unique element well and how it feels when it's balanced versus unbalanced, (or is the word imbalanced? ... If the elements are unbalanced, that creates imbalance (drawing from Barbara's mind) This is where it comes in handy to have access to her mind because my English is imperfect.) Thus we look at each element to see the balance of it, and the elements drawn together to see that balance.

We also want to introduce you to satyagraha, 'soul force' is how it's often interpreted. Agraha is force, firmness. Satya is soul, spirit, knowing. Sat is 'main' or central. Truth force, what comes from the place of deepest truth within you.

When you're unbalanced you can't access that deepest truth. So the balancing of the elements, your vipassana practice, all the many supports that you've drawn to you and practiced, these help you to come into the place where you can deeply know this inner truth and how to express it in the world, only for the highest good and with harm to none.

You're mostly familiar with the first four elements-- earth, air, fire, water-- and we'll explore them further today. You've seen some of the exercises1 I have planned for you today and tomorrow. I want to begin here by reading something from Healing with Form, Energy, and Light. I'm reading from page bottom 27, top 28.

"One way to think about long-term imbalance is to think about what you've wanted to change about yourself and how you act and react in life. This inquiry usually leads to particular traits or capacities you want to develop or diminish." Aha! Connects right there with our Mussar practice.

"What do you want to change and how do you feel physically, emotionally, energetically, mentally? Where do you run into problems? Are you always late? Do you talk too much? Too little? Are you generally alert or dull, agitated or calm? Are you creative, comfortable in yourself? Are you grounded? Do you worry too much? Are you responsible? Are you accomplishing what you want? How is your meditation practice? Is there progress or do you simply spend time in a trance every day? Is your meditation the same as it was years ago or has there been progress? Do you have more insight? Is your mind calmer and quieter? Are you more peaceful? Is your practice joyful or is it a burden?"

"The answers to these questions can be translated into elemental terms. For each area that you would like to change, think of the elemental quality that needs to be cultivated or diminished. You will most likely but not necessarily come up with one or two elements that seem to dominate your experience, or one or two elements that seem lacking."

We can almost start back where we were a year ago, going through that whole list of qualities and asking, what elemental imbalance might there be? How could the bringing in of more balance help support greater humility, responsibility, patience, and so forth?

The quality of akasha is the least known to you. This 5th element is known by various names: space, ether, or akasha. Space is a common term for it but not really an adequate term. Space is one expression of the element, perhaps the predominant expression, just as fluidity is the dominant expression of the water element. But calling the element space is like calling the water element fluidity. Fluidity is a very predominant expression of the water element. Cohesion is an expression of it.

Space is a predominant expression of the element often termed ether or akasha. Energy, such as chi energy, is another important expression of it, but it is also not suitable as an overall label; it's an expression.

Ether is closer. We need to understand what is meant by the term ether, and in my understanding, it is some mix of space and energy. But akasha takes it one step further. You know the term "akashic field" in which we find the akashic records and so forth. It is the field in which akasha is central. The akashic records are the records of what happens in the akasha.

What is the akasha, then? It's very hard to define it other than by using space and energy. My best attempt leads me to express how I experience it. First, the akasha is multi-dimensional. That means it goes this way, this way, this way, that way, that way (pointing), so it fills space. It's not just expansive in that way but consists of an infinite number of interwoven planes.

If you would picture a spider web stretching from the top of that tree (pointing to 2 very tall trees) to the top of that tree, one huge web with a million strands, but they would move in one east-west plane from this tree to that tree. With the morning dew on them, each thread is silver, iridescent, a fine, glittering thread, a silken thread. Now picture another such web going north-south from this tree to that tree (points out 2 more trees). There's a point where they intercept. Since akasha is infinite, the "trees" are immense, so it goes as high as you can see and goes down into the ground. Now picture another one over here or one over there, but we're still only going on this vertical plane. Now picture some across a horizontal plane and every degree of bend, all intersecting and interwoven with each other. The akashic field as I see it is filled with such an unlimited array of silver strands.

Now envision, first we have one very energetic spider that has created this great network of web. He's very free-moving; he swings from that branch down, and then he swings across again, he climbs up the tree and swings across, creating this beautiful lacy pattern. Now picture another spider who's a bit obsessive. He swings across, makes a silver thread and then he decides it may not be strong enough and he goes back, to do it again. So instead of one silver filament, eventually after a hundred or a thousand passes he's created a rope. It doesn't have the web-like quality; it's solid.

The akashic field is filled with both the very open and lacy silvery filaments and with many of these ropes. For you personally, bring into your mind something that you love-- a person, a beautiful place, an experience, just bring it into your mind. From your heart chakra, let a silver strand spin out to that object and just touch that object lightly. That's all, just that. You are connected.

You hold that object close to you but the mind is not saying, "Is it okay? Is it still there?" It's not worrying about it; you just send it one silver strand to connect. And that object, if it's a person, might send a similar strand back to you but it's not looped around your strand, one goes this way and one goes that way, just a beautiful double web.

If you worry in an obsessive way and mind keeps going back to that object-- Barbara spoke last night about the lump that was removed under her tongue. When the doctor first saw it and the doctor said it had to be removed and biopsied (the biopsy showed no health concern; they called it an irritation fibroma) , her mind started going back and forth with it. I said to her, "What is your intention here, health or sickness?" She said, "Health." I said, "Then let go of the worry. Come into this place of trust. You've asked the Casa entities, they've said don't worry. Yes, have it removed and biopsied but don't worry. They didn't even say to have it biopsied, just have it removed. Let it go."

If she kept sending that worry out to it, she was creating a rope. That rope draws precisely what she does not want, which is that the growth be malignant. By letting it go she is sending out – not just to the lump, to health – she is sending out one silver strand of well-being and just letting it rest there and knowing her connection with well-being. She understood that the connection with well-being was no guarantee that this lump would not be malignant. It was only a guarantee all will be well, whatever "well" is going to mean. Let it go, you're not in control. Whatever is, already is. Just let it be. Send out that strand that connects itself to well-being for the highest good and trust that highest good will manifest in whatever way it does, and let go.

So this understanding of akasha is so much about the process of manifestation. We send out these threads from each chakra. We send out these threads from each chakra. Each chakra has a predominant focus. So if it's a survival kind of matter, it may express from the base chakra. Personal power matters often come from the second chakra. Control matters often extend from the solar plexus chakra. Heart-centered matters, heart pain, relationship matters, opening and closing of the heart; those express from the heart. Communication issues come from the throat; vision from the third eye; spiritual connection from the crown. You are constantly sending these threads, sometimes simultaneously from different chakras.

Balanced akasha does not mean that there is never a rebound but that there's mindfulness of that creation of the rope, and bringing of attention to it. If you're creating the rope because there's fear, there is knowing that there's fear. Then one asks, what will help balance this? The balance is found in many different places. You can work with your vipassana practice, and with pure awareness; you can work with your guides.

We have a wider audience here than all of you; right now the current is in session in the Casa and one of the entities just spoke to me, one of these Brothers of Light and said, "We are here too-- you can work with us." There is so much support!

If there's fear, how does one work with fear? If there's grasping, how does one work with grasping?

Last night Barbara described the flood in her basement. Today a crew has come to lay a new floor in the basement. Then next week they will put in walls to replace the moldy walls that were cut out. By now she and Hal had several weeks to reflect on what they wanted in the basement. They've lived in this house for 40 years. It was a suitable house 40 years ago. It has aged and the best uses of the space have changed. They've not had money or energy to put a lot of work into the house. The basement is very much a living part of the house-- family room, bedroom, guest room. It's not a cellar but half of their living space. There are wood-paneled walls, fireplace. What is wanted down there now?

They began to look at materials and possibilities and grasping came up. Oh, we could break this wall out and open it up and instead of a basement-sized window we could have a big window! How much will that cost? We could take down this old paneling, which is now 60 years old, and put in some new and more attractive paneling. How much will that cost? Re-do the bathroom, etc.

So they spent a lot of time together looking at their aspirations for this space, looking at how they would envision the final space to function and to appear, but also needing to watch very carefully the place that wanted to grasp, because their insurance company will pay for a certain amount and that's it. If they want new windows, that's out of their own pocket. The windows weren't damaged in the flood.

Seeing that they really could not make any of these kinds of changes but just what the insurance company would pay for and letting it be with that, watching the grasping mind. But then I said to Barbara, this is resignation. Instead of saying, "We can't do anything else because we can't afford it," why not just rest in the place that says, "These are the possibilities. I hold the space open to all of these possibilities simply to see what manifests." Who knows what will come? Maybe as they're repairing a wall the insurance contractor tells the insurance company this or that needs to be replaced too and then ah, here's a new possibility. What else?

It's a matter of not sending out grasping effort that was coming mostly from the spleen chakra. Power, wanting power. Wanting to fix. One relaxes that grasping, and lets the silver thread of manifestation come from the heart. Letting go but not being afraid to envision and dream.

Barbara saw that the greatest challenge was that as soon as she dreamed, grasping would come up. "Oh! It could be like that! How could I get that?" instead of, "Oh, it could be like that. Let's just hold that as a possibility." The grasping was simply part of the habit energy and she saw that in the grasping the spleen chakra was like volcanic lava. Not enough air, not enough water. It was earth heavy; fire heavy.

As she worked with it, much of the time just floating on the lake and feeling the air blow over her, the body resting, floating in the water, bringing air and fluidity into this chakra, she began to find more balance and found that she could simply rest on her back there and envision how she would like this lower floor of her house to look, how she would like it to function, and let go. Hold the vision and let go.

Now of course one must make some basic efforts. So, for example, two of the basement windows had been replaced many years ago. The other four windows were the original windows of the house from 70 years ago and very drafty, not well sealed, and did not open or close to allow ventilation. So yes, next week she will call a window contractor and see how much it would cost to install 4 basement windows. If they can do it, they'll do it. They agree that's a reasonable thing to do. It will help with heating bills and ventilation.

But the decision comes from a place of co-creating that which is possible rather than saying, "We've got to do this. How can we do this? How can we do that? It will be this or that. Which one should we do?" Either it will work or it won't work. If it costs too much to put in the basement windows, they won't put in the basement windows. Heavy material taped over the openings has proven sufficient for draft control.

So one cannot simply sit back and say, "Maybe, like manna from heaven, basement windows will drop on our heads, right into place where they belong." One has to call the contractor; one has to inquire. One has to know the grasping, attend to the grasping by bringing balance, and then from the heart again to send out, just picturing the basement flooded with more light coming in through new windows. Allowing the possibility. Who knows? We'll see. The heart stays open.

From the throat chakra, extend the silver thread that speaks your deepest truth. Speak to people and simply say, "I love you. I love you." It's not asking anything in return, it's just sending out that message.

Perhaps the other person is angry, doesn't want to hear "I love you" from you. He wants to push and fight. If there's fear within you, it's contained in this message "I love you" and anger comes back, "No, I love you. I love you! I hate you! I love you! I hate you! I love you! I hate you!" One is left trying to change that "I hate you" to "I love you". You can't do that. When you send out that message once, you let that thread drop into place and let it go. You trust that it has, like the spider web, the web connects; it sticks. At some level it stuck. It's connected. The person at that moment may not want to hear "I love you" from you but it has connected if just allowed to drop there.

Again there must be mindfulness. Seeing where you send out your truth, you fear that the other person cannot hear your truth so you send it out again and again and again but in a forceful way rather than just sending it out and letting it connect. Can you let it lie there until it's ready to be taken, like putting a seed in the ground. When you plant a seed, if you don't see a sprout within 5 minutes, do you plant another seed? You trust, this seed will take fruition when it's ready.

If in a week you still don't see a sprout, you might drop another seed there. You check to see that the soil is fertile, moist, and is a sunny place ready to receive the seed; you put in another seed. You go away and leave it alone again for a week, or you visit it each day and just offer it love. Maybe it will take 6 weeks before it comes up, who knows?

There's a story that I want Barbara to tell you. It's her story and I think it's better through her mouth and her direct experience. So I'm going to end here in just a moment, let her tell you the story, which illustrates the akashic field.

We'll talk a lot more about the element of akasha. This morning we're going to work with earth, air, fire, and water, helping you to get to know each one. We'll spend maybe 15 minutes on each one.

For earth, I'm going to ask you simply to sit on the ground down here by the lake. Ground yourself. Let energy flow through the crown chakra and down into the earth and energy flow up from the earth into the base chakra. Look at the trees, how they're growing, and feel yourself to be a tree. We're not worrying at this point about how the earth element is relating to the other elements or concerned yet with whether that earth element is balanced. That's the second step. For now just intimately knowing the earth element.

If there's a breeze we'll work with the air element after the earth element, shifting attention to the breeze, feeling the air on your body and feeling (deep breath) the breath, the air within the body. Getting to know the experience, the direct experience of the air within yourself.

Then perhaps the fire element, if you can find a place in the sun and feel the hot sun on your body. Feel the fire element especially here in the solar plexus. Breathing in and down, feel it in the base chakra. Life force.

And then hopefully when you're hot from the sun, to wade in the water. Take a noodle and float out there and experience the water element. If it feels too cold, I will not force anybody into the water but ask you simply to wade in deep enough to be partly wet with your hands in the water, or to sit in shallow water, leaving the upper body dry, if it feels too cold. But at least get part of your body into the water. But if it's warm enough, I really would like you all out there floating on your back supported by a noodle, or however you are best supported.

Then we will hopefully experience all 4 elements, moving from floating on your back with the noodle to standing up in water about that deep. Feel the fire element, the sun shining on your body and the earth beneath your feet and a breeze coming past you. Feeling the integration of these 4 elements in nature and in your body.

At that point I will ask you to reflect whether they are balanced and if not, what needs more balancing? If there's a cool breeze and the sun is behind a cloud, you may immediately say, "I need more fire." Then the sun comes out. But even if the sun doesn't come out, can you bring more fire into the body simply by recognizing the need to invite fire in?

Tonight or tomorrow morning we'll talk about the fact that, for example, the lack of the fire element in that moment could be due, not to the lack of the fire element itself but that the earth, air, and water elements are lacking fire, that they're unbalanced, and how to attend to that imbalance. This is a second step. For now, just getting to know each of these 4 elements. We'll talk more about akasha later.

I'm going to leave the body now, let Barbara share the one story that relates to akasha, and then send you outdoors to hopefully enjoy this meditation.

Q: Are we also going to work with learning how to help other people balance the elements?

Aaron: We will not work directly with helping other people learn how to balance the elements. I want you to learn this for yourself, first. Perhaps tomorrow, depending on how people are doing with it, we'll get into seeing the imbalance of elements in other people.

How do you help other people besides pointing out to them what's imbalanced? We're not going to be, it's not a laying on of hands to draw in more fire energy or more water energy into a person. Yes, an extremely experienced practitioner can do this, very carefully, just as an experienced practitioner can do energy work.

However we will do something that Rinpoche says in his book. We will do this:

"Another way to find out about your dominant traits is to ask your friends what element they think dominates you. Even if they don't know anything about the elements you might find that you get surprisingly consistent responses."

So we will do that.

Okay, any questions about what I've said this morning before I leave the body?

Q: Will you repeat the instructions for working with the elements?

Aaron: I'll repeat them on site.

Q: I have laminated copies that 5 people can have if they want, so they don't get them wet.

Aaron: This is wonderful, thank you very much.

Q: Perhaps at a later date will you talk about the relationship between akasha and karma?

Aaron: Yes, perhaps tonight. And tonight we also plan to build a fire and have a silent circle, or maybe just some chanting around the fire, as another experience of the fire element. So you'll get it from the sun and you'll get it from the campfire.

Okay, I will release the body to Barbara.

Barbara: Thank you... I've said that I'm on the periphery rather than out there in the woods. I'm not sure what Aaron was talking about but there was a very sweet moment when I felt myself so deeply embraced by energy and entities and loving, just wrapped in love, and I assume that connected with something that he said. But very beautiful experience.

Q: He said he had a connection with the entities in Brazil.

Barbara: He's saying, let's not call them the entities in Brazil but simply the Brothers of Light came to him at that moment and said, "Don't forget we are also here in support, always." I really felt that loving energy wrapping around me.

What Aaron wants me to share is a story that some of you have heard at one time or another in dharma talks. This goes back to perhaps 1961, 60 or 61. 50 years ago... Wow!

I was picketing at the nuclear submarine factory across the river from my college in Connecticut. A group of people had been picketing there weekly, protesting the making of nuclear submarines and the devastation they were meant to create in the world, or they could create in the world. I would not say meant to, they were meant to, the idea was that they would avoid devastation by saying, "Look how strong we are; you don't dare attack us." But we didn't see it that way. You can't make such missiles and so forth if you don't intend that you would use them if provoked. That was my feeling, at least.

So we were picketing. A man who was a bit drunk and belligerent came and pushed at me. And I fell on the ground and I covered my head as I had been trained to do. So I was lying there on the ground covering my head, and he started kicking at me with his foot. I could feel by the way he was kicking me that he intended more humiliation than damage. He could have kicked me hard with a booted foot and broken ribs but he wasn't doing that, he was just nudging. It was uncomfortable but I saw very quickly that he was not intending to really hurt me.

I could hear then, remember. So eventually people pulled him off and other people helped me stand up. They led him off. He had been saying very negative things, a very angry monologue. It was clear he was somewhat drunk. He worked there and it was his job I was threatening. His final words to me were, "I'll see you next week if you're not too scared." We were picketing there every week. This was the first time any violence had occurred there.

So yeah, I was scared; I was terrified. I was 18 years old; it was scary to me. And I was also very caught up in, "I'm right, he's wrong," very self-righteous. I had some wonderful counseling through the week with a very well-known peace elder, if I could call him that. He met with me a few times during the week to talk about non-violence and help me feel more centered. He never said, "You have to go back," he just said, "If you choose to go back, here's how to help center yourself more."

So I came back and as soon as I was standing there with my picket sign, now I can see how I was drawing this man's energy to me. Defiance, anger, you know... peace sign (sound effect), angry energy (laughing). So he came up again, he grabbed the sign out of my hand and threw it on the ground and pushed me. And pushed me hard enough that I fell over. And the same scene followed.

We went on like this for 7 weeks. Each week I came back. Each week I was sending out the same, probably a more aggressive energy each week. And as I said, I can really see how I was drawing his energy to me.

Finally the last week of this dance that we were doing, we were drawing a crowd of people all come to watch our little drama together.

So I was lying there on the ground. He was kicking at me. And the thought came to me, "You know, you're not so bad." He's been doing this week after week and you're responding with compassion. There's a lot of fear. There's a feeling of shame. I don't have any control here; I'm at his mercy. But there's also a sense of...I would have to say an openheartedness that noted, "I am afraid, and it's okay to be afraid in this situation." And "Oh, he's also afraid." And the heart opened. My whole energy field must have shifted in that moment because he abruptly stopped kicking at me, which he had not done in the prior weeks until somebody pulled him away. He just stopped, and he looked down at me. I looked up at him because the kicking stopped, but I could still see that he was standing there.

I looked up at him. He said to me, "Why do you keep coming back?" And I think I said, "I have to. My heart tells me I have to. Why do you keep coming back?" He said, "Same thing." He reached his hand out to me and helped me stand up. A group of his friends and a group of the adults--when I say adults, I was only 18; there were some older and wiser people who had organized this demonstration-- came forward together and said, "Let's go down the road to this local coffee shop and talk."

The whole thing opened up. The group was still demonstrating every week, but there was also a group of people in that coffee shop, gathered to talk. And the talking was not to try to overpower each other but to really hear each other.

As Aaron and I were talking about akasha this past month, he helped me to see how I was really shifting the akashic field, releasing that cable, that solid rope, that was tying me into negative energy, and releasing instead a very light thread that invited heart opening and hearing.

This particular man never really changed his views, but he came to understand why we were doing what we were doing. But out of this weekly gathering and talking, some of his co-workers came to the realization that they needed to change their jobs, and people helped them find new jobs. So there was some shift in that. And I would think because these people took this stance and had the courage to say, "No, I can't continue to make these nuclear subs anymore," that some of their co-workers heard that and had to think about what they were doing.

So it opened things up. But the point here being that I can really see how this changed the akashic field. And in terms of the akashic field and karma, that it released certain old karma that we each were playing out, offered an opportunity for the balancing of that karma, and that the akashic field was changed in that way because the-- I can't say it that way. Just a minute, I'm not sure how to phrase it...

It's not that one changes the other, it's that each change the other. The akashic field is changed because the karma is changed. And because the akashic field changes, that helps support the change in karma. So it works both ways. One is not just causing the other result, but each is cause and result.

So that's an example of the akashic field and how we can bring change by speaking out truth with love. When I was speaking my truth from a place of fear, I was just sending out more fear. But from that place of soul force, of my deepest truth, my intention to voice this truth but with harm to none, not to force the truth on anybody else but that I have to speak my truth and offer it, change is possible.

When we offer our deepest truth with satyagraha, there's a willingness to accept the consequences of offering that truth. If I offer this truth, and know the possibility that this man is going to become angry and kick me because of it, I've already forgiven him. In the beginning weeks I had not forgiven him. I was asking, "What am I doing wrong? How do I fix this? I don't have any control. Fear." But then suddenly there was the shift and realization of what this elder had been trying to explain to me, how to come to this place in my heart where I'm not expecting any special response from the man; I'm doing this because I need to speak my truth. Whatever he does is okay; I accept that response. I forgive him if he hurts me. I don't hold it against him in any way.

Here I'm not sending out that back-and-forth strand anymore. If he's sending out strands of anger, they're just bouncing off me. They can't stick to me. When I'm in that place, negativity cannot stick to me, it just falls aside. That doesn't mean he can't break my ribs if he kicks me harder, but there's no more violence or anger.

This is the teaching on which Gandhi's work is based. We'll talk more about it. It's important to get some insight into though as we consider the element of akasha.

It's after 10 so I want us to get going. We've got a lot more to do this morning.


Barbara: Continuing Thursday morning. D has led us in a brief yoga breathing exercise with the elements. Now people are working sitting on the ground, feeling the earth element.

(with pauses)

Try to feel whether there's a predominant chakra in which you're more sensitive to the earth element. For me it's the solar plexus. For many people it's the base chakra. There's no right or wrong. . . .

If one chakra seems to come forth, be more attentive to that, how the earth element feels in that chakra. . . .

If the earth element feels too heavy, too solid, what would you want to bring in to give it more balance? Does it need air or water or fire? Space? ...

Some of you may benefit by lying down so your whole body is more in contact with the earth. Feel free to do that if it would be helpful...

Because you're sitting in the sun, most of you, the fire element may also be very strong. Can you distinguish the fire element from the earth element? Can you feel them as 2 separate elements? And also, can you feel the fire element within the earth element? Can you feel the earth element in the fire?

So begin to shift attention now, not just earth element but also feeling the fire element. You might find it useful literally to turn with your eyes closed facing the sun, so the sun is shining in your face.

Keep your connection with the earth. The fire element is the life force of the tree, where the ground, the earth element, the sap running through the trunk and extending up into the leaves, is working with the fire element, is working with all the elements but especially the fire element. Feel yourself as the tree drawing in sunlight, the sap flowing. There is also water element. Feel energy moving up the core of your body. Feel it as if you were the tree and feeling the energy, first the hands on the earth and then the energy moving through your body and upward. . . .

Sitting up now. Don't abandon earth and fire, we're going to bring air into it. Feel any breeze, very soft, very subtle breeze. See the breeze on the water. You can see it in the ripples...

Breathing deeply to help bring awareness of the air element. With the tree, the air element, looking at the tree branches right now, they're blowing just a little bit in the breeze. The fire element touching the leaves and the sap running up the trunk. The air is motion...

With balanced air element there's more space, nothing gets stuck...

(several minutes sitting)

Feeling that balance, earth, fire, air... Water of course cools the fire element and helps it come into balance. So now I'd like you all to get up and head for the water. Wade in very slowly. Experience just putting your feet in the water. What that does to the fire element. This is the tree drinking in water through its roots. Put your arms up and be the tree. We said the fire element is like the sap rising but it needs water to rise. How does your energy field change as you step into the water?

I am about to step into the water so I will close the recorder.

(recording ends)

Footnote one refers to this page:

Intensive 4: Some of Aaron's plans and exercises

Elements: getting started:

Play with the dry sand. Sift it though the hands. Dry sand pours and is blown by the wind. The sun warms it quickly, as you all know from walking on a hot beach. Sand that's very wet is very fluid and has no adhesion. Invite a small amount of sand to come to a balanced point where it has adhesion and yet moisture.

Now feel your body as sand. What do you want to invite in or release to bring balance?

Earth #1: Feeling the balanced earth element in ourselves.

Take a hunk of clay (we have a large container of terra cotta) and work it with your hands.

Work slowly, feeling the element balance in the clay. If it feels too dry, add moisture. If it feels too heavy, work it to bring in some air. If it's too wet, let the sun shine on it for a few minutes. Bring attention to the solar plexus chakra. This is your "inner clay." What is needed? Invite balance and rest there. We will return to the clay whenever it's helpful.

Elements: Earth #2: Feeling the balanced earth element in ourselves.

Take a cup of dry sand and a cup of water.

Lie on the warm ground; pour the sand onto the solar plexus area. Close eyes, breathe; Feel the balance of the earth element in the inner solar plexus.

Add water to the sand, allowing the sun to warm it.

Breathe deeply to add more air.

Know when it feels balanced, inside and outside.

Just rest in that balance.

Elements: water: Feeling the balanced water element in ourselves.

Float on the water on your back, with a noodle for support if desired.

Clench your fists and tense the jaw. Tense the belly too if possible.

How does the body energy feel? How about the elements?

Now open the fists; relax jaw and belly.

Invite water to move through the body;

Feel the sun and breeze. See the trees on the shore; feel the lake bottom beneath you.

Be aware when the field feels fluid but not so much so that it is ungrounded.

Just rest in that balance.

Elements: fire: Feeling the balanced fire element in ourselves. You may need to play with these instructions, depending on the day's temperature and force of the sun.

After the above water element exercise, begin either when you are feeling cooled by the lake, or come out and sit in the shade until you feel cool;

Move into the sun by the water and lie on your back;

Feel the fire entering the solar plexus. Feel it as both energy and heat.

Feel the body warm up. If it becomes too warm, dip hands in the lake and splash water on yourself. Use breath to bring in air and to move the fire.

Avoid a baked clay sensation. Be warm enough so it feels balanced, then maintain balance. Just rest in that balance.

Elements: air: Feeling the balanced air element in ourselves.

Earth, water and fire elements are all now feeling balanced, in themselves and with each other.

If there is a breeze, we can use that to practice with air, but assuming there may not be a breeze, we will use the breath.

After the fire element exercise above, rest and watch any shift toward imbalance of the earth, water and fire. Then begin to breathe deeply, slowly, and watch how the element balance changes. How does deeper breath effect the elements and their balance?

Try to feel the balanced air element. It is the most difficult to experience balance in. Can you feel the earth, water and fire IN the air element? The best clue I can give is to alter the breath and see what happens. We'll talk about it.

The first four elements together:

If it's windy, let the wind blow against your body and feel the fire element as it changes with the wind. When the fire element gets too high, can you balance it by inviting in more earth, or releasing some air?

Come back to the sand or clay: Now that we have done the exercises above, work with the one again, and the body. Feel what is balanced and what is not fully balanced.

Elements: akasha: Feeling the balanced akasha element in ourselves.

Aaron will lead us in a guided meditation to help us better to understand akasha and the difference between akasha as element and the akashic field.

Sitting in meditation, eyes open or closed, let attention move to an object. What is the texture of that attention?

Can you feel either a slender silver thread of energy move from one of your chakras to the object and just rest there?

Or is there a "heavier" movement, like a rope running back and forth if there is some obsessing about the object?

These movements are the literal shaping of the akashic field. That whole field and the movements both are the akasha.

How the elements relate to emotions:

Sit in meditation and watch the element balance as elements change in relation to emotions. That which is aware of imbalance is not unbalanced. Find the inherent balance there with the imbalance. Use the balancing of elements to help support release of unbalanced emotion. This mindfulness practice will be a basic part of Friday's silent practice, using elements, chakras, crystals, and guidance to help keep ourselves balanced.

Satyagraha 1

  1. all sit in silence for a few minutes.

  2. Break into 2 groups, (count A/B/A/B etc)

  3. A's line up on downhill side by lake; B's line up facing them at top of hill

  4. B's ask to get to the lake. A's say no.

  5. B's approach. What happens? Let it play out. Use body (but no hard pushing) and words. How does it feel to ask? To refuse? Then switch sides and we'll do it again.

  6. Discussion

How is this exercise different with balance and centeredness?

1 Before the intensive Aaron and Barbara mailed out a page of element exercises we would do, and that we are pasting at the end of this transcript.