I am the wetness of water, the radiance of the moon and the sun, the sound in the air, and the sweet fragrance of earth. I am the brilliance in fire and the life in all beings. —Bhagavad Gita
There is a light that is lighting all life, a breath that is breathing all, vibrant rivers coursing through our veins and the valleys we see, space expanding in the galaxies and in our minds. The Five Auspicious Shrines are sacred portals for healing that connect us to the great web of life, return us to original intimacy, and restore us to wholeness. This soul journey is the one we have been waiting for—a pilgrimage not in the world, or of it, but as it.
The five elemental and energetic shrines of the earth, the physical body, and the soul’s subtle pathways are the five elements of nature:
Each of the five elements can teach us how to care for ourselves, one another, and our planetary home.
Original Intimacy: Soul Pilgrimage to Five Auspicious Healing Shrines
What is original intimacy? Let's start with the dictionary, then on to philosophy.
Original indicates a first, beginning, or primary form. Intimacy is to know someone or something through close contact or merging. To be intimate is marked by close acquaintance, association, or familiarity. It pertains to or is indicative of one's deepest nature.
The first or original "merging or intimate contact" we experience and know is with nature by taking on a body and mind made of nature's gross and subtle elements. As spiritual beings, we become capable of experiencing, enjoying, encountering, and engaging with the world of nature through this first intimacy.
The philosophy of Kriya Yoga introduces us to our essential nature as pure Supreme Consciousness. It provides a method of superconscious meditation that allows us to realize our spiritual essence as birthless, deathless, unmoving, unchanging, eternal, pure existence-being. We realize we are That—Absolute Reality.
What follows is something in our spiritual studies that is often left out yet vital to know and understand. Here it is:
Absolute Reality only comes to know Itself through its relationship with Nature.
The reflection of Consciousness in Nature allows Consciousness to see or realize Itself as it is. Both Spirit and Nature (or Purusha and Prakriti in Sanskrit) are eternal principles—one transcendent, one immanent. Consciousness and Power. Not two but one Absolute Reality with an aspect free of qualities and the other imbued with qualities. In this model, God is both beyond the world, and God expresses as the world.
Over centuries, God, or Absolute Reality, has come to be imagined as farther and farther away from us, beyond us. Due to space travel, the "God in the sky model" is on its way out, but the idea of the purely transcendent remains. How do we ever connect with that? God is the life of our life, inseparable from the breath in our nostrils and the blood in our bones.
With the advent of science, rationalism, technology, and materialism, we've lost touch with the spiritual reality of nature and its power to heal, regenerate, transform, and liberate.
Supreme Consciousness alone is eternally unmoving and unchanging—thus incapable of action. Therefore, it is up to Nature to provide Consciousness with the experience of enjoying the world and finding liberation from identifying with it.
If you've read this far, you might be wondering: But wait! I thought enlightenment was liberation from nature, freedom from the world!
Enlightenment is seeing what is so. Liberation is freedom from sorrow born of ignorance. When we see clearly the eternal dance of consciousness and matter, we can live in the world without ignorance, greed, and hatred.
The Five Elements of Nature
As I was writing this material, a poignant thought interrupted my writing. It became an internal dialog that went something like this: What are you doing? Well, I am trying to describe how God is fully present in nature, in the world. Why don't you just tell people to go look? Ok. That's really it. So, how?
How do we look?
First, we can look at ourselves and observe the structure of being embodied. As human beings, our feet are on the ground—literally touching the earth—while our heads, our crowns, reach for the sky, associated with the heavenly realms. What is in-between?
The mind, the mental field (including our faculty of discernment and intuition), is the middle ground between body and soul. The seeing that we need becomes possible with a purified mind and an awakened heart.
Without that awakening, what we see with physical eyes, brain, and mental field is objectified as "other." Nature becomes a commodity, and we become consumers. As consumers, we try to restore ourselves but end up depleting our own reserves. We need to deconstruct the wall of ignorance between us and nature.
There is a pattern in nature that connects. "To see the world in a grain of sand" and the cosmos mirrored in the human body, mind, and soul is a profound and practical method for contemplation and meditative insight.
The five elements of nature —earth, water, fire, air, and space (or ether) are the basic building blocks of all creation. Everything in nature, including our bodies and minds, is formed of the elements. Focused contemplation of any element can be a doorway into the heart of reality, an experiential introduction to the original intimacy of oneness with all life.
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