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FEATURES

Now or Never

Whatever tradition you have studied in, whatever you have practiced or mastered—Vajrayana, Shingon, energy medicine, tantra, yoga, Wicca, shamanism­, whichever—this is it. This is what you have been training for. It is happening right now. Both the wisdom and power you have developed within yourself and your understanding of the outer world are all being put to the test. This is what you have been moving toward. 

Clearly there are multiple struggles on a level that very few of us have seen before in our lifetime and it is a massive list: sickness, corruption, technocracy run wild, a cabal of global leaders who would like to turn the world into North Korea, suppression of speech and expression on a grand scale, medical tyranny and scientific dogmatism, cultish behavior, political chaos, a growing chasm of inequality, and a endemic disregard for the plight of planet Earth while the rich get richer—and an unprecedented epidemic of anxiety, depression, and mistrust. Its exhausting. But there are multiple bright points. And for every misguided bully there is a brilliant mind working to make right the wrongs in all the skewed dimensions of life. Right now, change is inevitable. Light and dark are at war on a global scale. In these precarious times, outcomes are uncertain and the direction the world will take is as yet unwritten. Neither our personal journey nor humanity’s survival is assured.

Four activities

Fortunately, those who have followed a spiritual path and an inner practice (and maybe for a long time) have developed unique transformative tools at their disposal. Specifically, there is a special avenue that allows us to move through all the seemingly insurmountable obstacles coming from people, society, institutions and the shape of our own mind. The open secret is that we know how to work directly with energy, something that transcends situations, people, politics, and can sort out the stew of chaos-inducing factors. While there is huge spectrum of bioenergetic techniques within Daoist, Hindu, shamanic, and many other spiritual traditions, in Tibetan Buddhism we have a comprehensive model in the form of the four activities, a series of methods to deal with energy patterns of inner and outer obstacles. The pacifying, enriching, magnetizing, and destroying activities are an escalating spectrum of skillful means to accomplish our just goals, both mundane and spiritual. Whatever the requirements, whether you wish to calm toxic energies with brilliance and awareness of the ultimate ground, or wrathfully smash patterns of hate and human suffering, these timely skills can shift the negative energies consuming our world. 

Element intro

These four activities, and much more, are encapsulated by invoking and working with the Five Elements themselves. They are the basic of all materiality, all mental events, all experience. The Elements are the five colors that paint our reality on the canvas of pure being-consciousness. While they come in infinite shades and combinations, by evoking their pure presence, immense power is available. This is a profound yet surprisingly simple  way to help with what is happening and what is still to come. 

As one might suspect, the activities coincide precisely with the Elements, the formative forces that are the underpinnings of the physical world, our bodily form, and the mind that occupies it. The Water element is pacifying, Earth is enriching, Fire expresses magnetizing activity, and Air correlates to destroying. Space is inherent to all of these, although a potential fifth activity of knowing wisdom would make sense. 

The solids

There are different ways to manifest the Elements and their associated activity. Traditionally, Vajrayana practitioners use the form and sounds of yidam-deities, dakinis, buddhas, and protectors or their seed syllables. All of these are aligned with the Elements, usually emphasizing one of these five formative forces. A more minimalistic but very effective approach involves five simple shapes and their seed syllables or mantras. Here we employ the three-dimensional forms of the five Elements, the so-called Platonic Solids—although the Pythagoreans and the Egyptians had already utilized them long before Plato! These are the sacred geometric and mathematical forms that are the source point for the whole of manifest creation and the mind that experiences it. This is not only ancient wisdom, but is considered an accurate and viable model by modern theoretical physicists and mathematicians.

Image courtesy of the author

Toxic Earth

When the pandemic began in 2019 I wrote an essay describing what I perceived at the time. I spoke about a red-black Iron-Fire Dragon that had been awakened by years of the energies of hatred, fear, and conflict. Negative entities feed and thrive on this kind of pathological output. And so it is the Earth Element that has been in upheaval over the last two-and-a-half years. What has been under attack are all the qualities of Earth: stability, security, strength. When the ground of Earth is deficient and the rug is pulled out from under one, there is anxiety, confusion, doubt, panic, and a sense of vulnerability and weakness. As the structures of society and sanity have crumbling around us, no one knows their place; everything “normal” seems to dissolve. Then, when Earth becomes excessive and toxic, it feels oppressive, rigid, restrictive, despotic, crushing us down. Many people have take on one or the other of these to the extreme, or may even alternate between victim and oppressor, weakling or bully. But through our inner work, we can have an outer impact, helping to heal the original distorting energies of Earth Element as well as the identification of people’s minds with these perversities. The outer world and the psyche then have the ability to be enriched by the original stable, empowered and trustworthy Earth, where everything has its rightful place, instead of the upside-down world we have been experiencing.

Transformed Earth

The practice of reconstituting your Earth Element in body, energy and mind using the Platonic method can be down in this way:

Image yourself inside a large cube of golden-yellow gossamer light. This is the quintessence of Earth, the portal through which the pure, original Earth Element can enter our step-down dimension.

Breathe in this golden Earth light in a relaxed and deep way. Feel it infuse your body, healing every nook and cranny, pushing out toxic factors and restoring structural integrity on all levels.

As you absorb this golden light into your being, it replenishes your weakened Earth, imparting all the resilience, stamina, immunity, and protection that has been lost or diminished.

Earth restores and enriches us on all levels: material, physical, mental, spiritual, and material.

The golden light also clears out the toxic Earth residues of  heaviness, rigidity, and immobility; feelings of repression and being crushed under the weight of the world.  

Stay with this impenetrable shield of Earth strength as long or as briefly as long as you wish.

In the end, let your body, mind, and the cube of golden-yellow light expand and dissolve into open sky and limitless space.

As we become more familiar and capable  in evoking Earth, we can expand its broad healing effects in this way:

Let the cube of light expand to your loved ones, to those sick or suffering, to the conflicted and confused.

As you gain confidence, extend this force to our “enemies,” to the most confused of us, the most aggressive, the most hateful—the lost souls of this realm.

Image courtesy of the author

Everyday Earth

This can be done as a formal meditation practice, becoming habituated and skillful with both visualizing and allowing the Earth Element to spontaneously be present. But you may invoke this experience at any time of the day or night, even for a few minutes or seconds. Fall asleep with this visualization to protect your soul’s nightly journey. Use it on the spot, bringing these energies into manifestation whenever obstacles of mind and body arise. After all is said and done, Earth and all the other Elements are always with you, waiting on the edges of consciousness for our awareness to catch the fragrance and touch of their mysterious beauty. By participating in this Elemental play, we become conduits of the stainless formative patterns that have the power to replenish and renew all that has become chaotic and inverted, even clearing the collective karma of our troubled planet.

Asa has spent the last 40 years as a holistic doctor and energy healer. His long practice of Tibetan Buddhism, including the traditional three-year, three-month retreat, has been enriched by delving deeply into the practice of Vajrayana Chö and Daoist inner alchemy. For many years, his focus of investigation and teaching has been the Five Elements in the Indo-European and Chinese tradition as the basis of a radically new system of physical and psychological healing.

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Dr. Asa Hershoff
Asa Hershoff

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