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Meditation focusing on the elements is practised in traditions as diverse as Buddhism, Taoist meditation, Quigong and Ayurveda.

If you think Earth, Wind and Fire had a pretty good run of disco hits in the 70s, well, you’d be right. But learning about the elements can bring more than a funky beat to your daily life, says Laeticia Valverde. You just need to learn how to connect to them.You could say we have some sort of connection with the elements every day: walking on the earth, breathing the air, having our way lit by the sun, and, of course, drinking water to sustain ourselves. What generations before have recognised is that focusing on the elements has a lot to do with reconnecting to the earth, your spirituality and opening up a world of wonder. Connecting with the elements is an ancient tradition – one that has spanned many cultures and practices.

But unless we’re conscious of this link, we can feel disconnected. Which is where meditation comes in. Meditation focusing on the elements is practised in traditions as diverse as Buddhism, Taoist meditation, Quigong and Ayurveda and is central to many pagan traditions such as Wicca. Many people baulk at the thought of meditation, but it’s simply being able to focus the mind. Regular meditation can bring about clarity to our minds and our lives. Paul Majewski from Meditation Solutions in Melbourne says there are two skills involved in meditating: focus and awareness. “It’s about the quality of attention; it doesn’t have to be mysterious or difficult. By slowing down with meditation we give ourselves a chance to recover and literally come to oursenses.” Swami Vimal Ratna from Satyananda Yoga in Rocklyn, Victoria, believes that “the elements are fundamental to who we are. Connecting with the elements is a necessary process that finetunes our balance with ourselves and nature.” The elements provide an essential purification role, says Swami Ratna. “By focusing on the elements for a time we’re getting rid of the rubbish at a certain level, coming into harmony with our environment and creating a richer, more vital environment around us.” Try meditating on the elements once each week over the next month. Then take the time to relax and try to allow the knowledge that comes to you during your meditation to process and filter through your life.

Get grounded and start with an Earth meditation. Clear the area of any clutter, switch on the answering machine and make sure nobody is able to disturb you.

Because earth represents our physical needs, start off with a relaxing bath, or a shower, with a sprinkling of essential oils (in the bath, or the base of the shower). Dry off and dress in loose, comfortable clothing and settle yourself comfortably on the floor. Then light a green or white candle to represent earth.

Gaze into the flame and think about your physical needs. Are there any aspects that you should address? Are there areas where you overindulge, or perhaps neglect? This could be eating, drinking or even our need to be nurtured, touched and loved.

Visualise yourself having a sufficient amount of everything. Not too little, not too much – just enough to fulfil your needs. Reflect on what you need to change, and how you’re going to accomplish it. Take a deep breath and feel the earth’s power enter your body, rising from the ground through your feet and right through your body. Snuff out the candle and relax.

Over the next week think about what steps you can take to address the issues raised in your meditation. Can you look to eat to just below a level you’d consider full? Can you try to drink two litres of water a day and have three alcoholfree days per week? What about your need to be nurtured, how can you address that? Can you start by showing more affection to your loved ones?

Breath of fresh air
Open up all the windows and doors and allow a fresh breeze to cleanse your home and yourself. Light a lavender or light a blue candle to represent air. Sit in a comfortable position and focus on your mental needs, your communication issues and ideas. Air boosts creativity so consider the areas in which you need more inspiration. It’s time to explore your beliefs, attitudes and values.

Be conscious of your breathing. Hold your hands over your stomach and take a deep breath through your nostrils, feeling the air slowly fill your lungs and expand your rib cage. Hold for a second and then consciously exhale through your mouth, allowing all the air to drain completely from your lungs. Breathe mindfully, focusing on the fresh air coming in and going out of your lungs. Snuff out your candle and think about how you can expand your creativity and boost your mental power.

What can you read, eat, think or do to help improve your mental function and clarity?

Light my fire
Fire is all about passion, but not sexual passion, rather anything that stirs your soul and gets your blood boiling. Settle yourself in your room facing south and light a red or gold candle. Consider all the passion you have bottled up inside. What is it you really want?

What have you always wanted to do and what has held you back? It’s time to banish all that negativity and conservatism preventing you from realising your dreams and ignite your passion.

Gaze into the flame and feel its warmth spreading through your body, igniting your passion.

Visualise yourself accomplishing your most fervent desire. What will it take to allow you to realise your dreams? What steps are you going to take to ensure it becomes a reality?

Water baby
Water represents our emotions – anger, jealousy, happiness, doubt and so on. Take a deep bath with a handful of sea salt sprinkled in the water. Feel yourself enveloped in its comforting warmth. Dry off and locate west in your room and settle yourself comfortably.

Light an aqua or deep blue candle and consider any repressed emotions that have been holding you back. Consider your emotional needs; do you stifle them to please others? How can you learn to respect your own emotional needs? How can you enhance your insight and compassion to help you express your emotions in a healthy way? Think of what makes you happy, what can you do each day that makes you feel joyful and fulfilled?

Sense of spirit
Spirit is often neglected, as so few of us address our spiritual needs. But spirituality is about more than just our relationship with a higher being. Spirit involves how we interact with family, friends, co-workers, neighbours and anyone close to us.

Light a white candle and Reflect on your relationship with the people who cross your path each day. How can you enhance their life in one simple way when you meet? What do these people bring to your life? Also consider your relationship with a higher being – can spirituality bring something special to your life? Consider the choices that you can make and what differences they can make to the way you live your life.

Make a conscious effort to reconnect with spirit each day. When you wake up go to the window, open the curtains wide and take in the view. Breathe in the air, look at the plants growing in the earth and take note of how the sun is shining on your part of the world – and enjoy.

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