You may wonder what’s the relationship of Reiki and the 5 Elements and what the practice of 5 Elements could possibly bring to our Reiki practice?
First of all, what I mean by Elements is the building blocks of our “being”. The elements; Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether first defined by ancient Greeks to explain the nature of existence. However similar concepts existed in all ancient cultures around the world. They even say there is also a 6th element, the mind. In short, what I mean is what constitutes our “human being” as body, mind and soul as well as the qualities that makes us a human being and what makes the Universe.
In that sense, I see the knowledge and practice of 5 Elements as a great companion to my Reiki practice. For me, the purpose of Reiki practice is to “be the Reiki”, or to recognize that I’m already Reiki (the Great Bright Light). For me, what this means in practical sense, is to live in a non-dual world with pure consciousness with unconditional happiness and peace, without any anger, fear or worry, with deep gratitude. It means to manifest my highest potential in life, and love my self and all living beings with infinite compassion. A person who lives in this state of mind is well-balanced, in harmony and peace within and with everything around.
How could the practice of Elements help to achieve this state of mind? I think the practice of Elements does it in 2 ways; first by balancing the Elements, the building blocks; so that the person is in harmony within. A person who is in harmony can’t help but be in good health, and good state of mind and eventually in harmony with everything else (non-judging, accepting, surrendering). On the other hand, the practice of Elements also helps to let go of Elements which eventually helps to rid the Ego, the self, so that what stays behind is the True self.
I also see lots of similarities between what the Reiki symbols represent and the Elements. If we look one by one:
Earth element represents groundedness. No wonder one feels safe, secure and free from any fear when grounded. It also reinforces our life purpose. When we ‘re balanced in Earth element, we acknowledge our right to be on this Earth, we recognize our uniqueness and uniqueness of our abilities. Earth element is also nurturing, we nurture our own qualities as well as bringing the best in others. In our body, it’s represented in our bones and muscles.
If we have too much Earth energy, we may be stuck, not flexible and unable to make the next move. Too little Earth energy makes us spacy, not able to make decisions, even angry, agitated and depressed.
Water is about the flow, the flexibility. Water takes the shape of its container, is flexible. Water represents the creativity. Life started in water and even fetus grows in amniotic fluid. Water is represented in our body in all fluids, the blood, the saliva, the recreative systems, kidney and bladder. If we’re balanced in our water element, it gives us the ability to flow with life at ease.
If we have too much water, it’s hard to concentrate and we may lose ourselves in the current of our thoughts and feelings. If we have too little water, we can’t flow to life and dry of creativity.
Fire is the passion. It’s the force behind the action and ambition. Fire is also the power that triggers all of our body systems. It’s represented in our body in digestive system, there is literally a chemical reaction going on, a little fire, in our bodies. The force of fire is transformative, just like it transforms food into energy, it can help to purify us and move to the next stage of our lives.
If we have too much fire, we may burn and deplete ourselves out and may not be tolerant to others. If we have too little fire, we don’t have the ambition to do anything.
Air is about movement, motion and change. As wind blows, separates the clouds and brings out the sun air element can move unnecessary thoughts and bring clarity to our minds. It has the ability to move freely in a playful way and expand to infinite. Air is subtle but powerful, it hosts the prana, the life force. In our bodies, it’s represented in lungs.
If we have too much air, it may be hard to concentrate, focus or grow roots. If we have too little air, we may resist to life and resist to change.
Ether is what holds all elements together. It enables all elements to exist together. It’s open, inclusive and accommodating. It’s represented in our awareness. Our awareness can shrink or expand as space.
When we have too much space, we may be disconnected. If we have too little space, we are confined and stuck.
If we practice balancing our elements, we find ourselves deeply grounded to the earth, we feel safe, secure without any anger, fear or worry and with a correct life purpose, we flow tru life with ease, we’d have the passion for right action and transformation and a clear mind and expanded awareness.
This is the exact same space the 5 Reiki precepts point out: No anger, No worry, Deep Gratitude, Honest action, and Compassion for self and all.
What are the ways to practice Elements? There is a structure called a stupa that represent, amongst many other symbolism, 5 Elements in Buddhism . I was very lucky to visit and circumambulate some sacred stupas (Shanti stupa in Ladakh, Boudhanath in Kathmandu as well Dochula pass with 108 stupas in Bhutan). To my experience the practice of 5 Elements gets very easy when you’re at the presence of a sacred stupa. However, we can’t find a stupa in our everyday life, let alone a sacred one. What we can do instead is a visualization of a stupa in our body or reciting the syllables that represent each Element. With this practice of mindfulness, our elements get in order and balanced which brings balance and harmony inside and out.
Zeynep Premdasi Yilmaz