In Buddhism, the four Great Elements (Pali: cattāro mahābhūtāni) are earth, water, fire and air. And I have been studying about the kasinas (objects of meditation), and using these elements as objects to focus on.
But this morning in meditation, I saw that there is a fifth element, and that is our mind.
Now this is not a dhamma teaching as far as I know, but I see it as a reality none the less.
Think of the earth element, and what comes to mind for you? Nature, trees, grass perhaps. But earth is also earthquakes that can take many lives, and volcanoes that can destroy hundreds and hundreds of acres and kill wildlife. These are both the earth element.
And what of the fire element? Fire is warming, it’s used to cook food and supply nourishment to yourself and your Family, but also we know that fire can burn you and destroy homes, villages and many lives.
Water. What are we without water? Approximately 60% of our body weight is composed of water. Water is life for all living things. But ask those people who have lived through a tsunami, and you would have a different view of water and its devastating power.
Air of course is equally vital to existence, and without it we do not exist. How could air be negative? Well air is what feeds a fire and causes it to grow, too much air for a fish and it will die, and what of a tornadoes winds that can pick up and destroy everything in its path.
So is our mind truly the fifth element? Probably not, but certainly it is where we form our opinions, judgements, and delusions about the nature of this life.
Mediation is a wonderful place to observe this without clinging to any of these dualities. Perhaps also, the mind is the ideal place to observe the interconnectedness of all these elements and thereby the connection with the self.
May you be well, happy and peaceful.