Terra, Aqua, Ventus, Ignis, et Animus
A meditation by Daniel J. Neumann
You begin your journey of the five elements with the Earth: Density. Gravity has unlimited reach (although is weaker when compared to the other three forces of physics). Every black hole—subatomic, stellar, supermassive, and otherwise—affects us. The sun, moon, and earth, too, tug at you, reach out to you, beckoning you to the center. You’re constantly falling, but you’re also being held up by solidity. Earth’s gravity is 9.8 meters per second per second—an acceleration. The Earth embraces, invites, and cradles you at the same time. Without the food the Earth provides, we couldn’t survive longer than five weeks. Consider how much life, of so many different varieties, coexists on Earth.
You aren’t merely solid, however. You’re constantly changing and mutating. Most of any human body is water. Feel it flowing in the channels of your circulatory system. See the analogy of time, how both time and water flow and change and erode the rocks. Water is essential for life—able to defy gravity in plant stems, act as a universal solvent, and react inversely to any PH scale—precisely because it’s a magnetic molecule with two poles. Without water, you couldn’t live longer than five days. Visualize light bending in water. Imagine your soul as the light.
Now become so loose that you’re liberated to the next state: air. Sense the invisible, lighter ocean that you’re immersed within. Become as one entity with the air. Breathe it into you and then let it back out. Without the air, you couldn’t live longer than five minutes. Wave your hands in the air to make wind. Let the coolness in your palms spread throughout your body. Let all the thick sludge of deluded ego fall downwards. Raise your spirit higher.
Passions begin exciting you to such an extent that you’re now lighter—or really more energetic—than air. You rise higher. A flame is plasma. Heat causes the ionized gas to form. Feel the heat inside your body. Without heat, you couldn’t last longer than five seconds. Take the time to appreciate the sun. Light a candle. Hold your lover, pet, or anyone of affection with a rekindled thirst. Your spirit feels the last thing tying it down to rebirth: desire. But not all desire is self-interested and thus evil. You can desire for enlightenment. Reach out.
You’ve finally gone beyond all gravity and body to sense spirit. This is the element that creates the other four. All of spirit (just like all of water, fire, earth, and air) is one. The vacuum of space—unlimited emptiness—is conscious and designed energy to actualize creation. The Supreme Being divided itself into an infinite amount of sentience. It’s your job to enjoy what you’ve done to yourself and identify with your truest self by building relationships with others. You actualize imagination. You fashion archetypes of rationale, desire, and feeling. Observation isn’t some passive reception, but the most vital force. Spirits assign significance. But the most important meaning of all is love. Love is the reason for gravity. It’s the reason for change. It’s the reason for air carrying our words. It’s the reason for our passions. You couldn’t live without spirit for any length of time, because life is only experienced by a spirit.