Discover the profound teachings of the earth element and its connection to the divine Self.
Embark on a spiritual journey as we delve into the earth element, one of nature's foundational building blocks, and its profound connection to the divine Self.
The five elements of nature —earth element, water element, fire element, air element, and space element (or ether) are the basic building blocks of all creation. Everything in nature, including our bodies and minds, is formed of the elements.
The elements are progressively dense as they manifest.
Earth element contains a predominance of tamas guna, the quality of heaviness or inertia—that provides its stability. Earth element is associated with the nose and our capacity to smell. The organ of action connected to earth is the anus and the capacity to excrete. The subtle perceptive capacity connected to earth element is odor. Reflect on how earth element is perceived through the sense of smell. We can smell the fragrance of earth. We may also smell a scent of water or in the air, but that is only possible due to the presence of some portion of earth element. Pure water has no smell, nor does air or fire.
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.
"I am the sweet fragrance of earth."
Start here to embark on your pilgrimage to the divine Self. Begin your healing journey of soul renewal by entering the auspicious shrine of the earth element. Be present to earth’s teachings and discover the transforming mystery of stability and yielding.
How do we do that, what does it mean, and what can such a way of being make possible?
By standing exactly where we are in this moment and opening to the innate imperative to bloom, we learn how to connect with the divine power of nature to restore the soul.
Pope Francis, with his encyclical, Laudato Si': On Care for Our Common Home, writes:
Everything is related, and we human beings are united as brothers and sisters on a wonderful pilgrimage, woven together by the love God has for each of his creatures and which also unites us in fond affection for brother sun, sister moon, brother river and mother earth. 
How will our pilgrimage occur?
It will come through prayerful intention, meditation, contemplation, rituals, and practices to purify the mind and open the heart. Recall childhood experiences of earth, and open to new experiences and insights. Start to look, remember, and be present to earth element now.
We all seek happiness and try to avoid suffering. How can we set ourselves up for the highest success?
When I was a child, we lived in a suburban housing tract in California. I would walk to and from school alone, going past the newer homes, then alongside a farmer's field, and finally across the railroad tracks. The field was an open space experience, the ground often freshly plowed. Along the far edge of the field was a eucalyptus grove. Passing that open ground with its fragrance of earth and eucalyptus was freeing to me. Situated in-between the constraints of home and the stressors of school, each day, I would slow my pace and let my dreams waft out over that field. To this day, the scent of a eucalyptus grove brings me peace and healing.
Be present to the earth element’s teachings and discover the transforming mystery of stability and yielding. How do we do that? What can such a way of being make possible?
We stop. Look. We open ourselves to experience the joyful mystery of the Holy One—that in which we live, move, and relate. Encountering the divine Self, we behold the One in all.
That exquisite connection experience is described in the poem, A Blessing, by James Wright. Notice how the experience begins—getting off the highway, stepping over the barbed wire.
Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,
Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies
Darken with kindness.
They have come gladly out of the willows
To welcome my friend and me.
We step over the barbed wire into the pasture
Where they have been grazing all day, alone.
They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness
That we have come.
They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.
There is no loneliness like theirs.
At home once more,
They begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness.
I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,
For she has walked over to me
And nuzzled my left hand.
She is black and white,
Her mane falls wild on her forehead,
And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear
That is delicate as the skin over a girl's wrist.
Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into blossom. 
By standing right where we are in this moment and opening to the innate imperative to bloom, we learn how to connect with the divine power of nature to restore the soul.
 Pope Francis, quoted by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee in Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth (Point Reyes: The Golden Sufi Center, 2013) second edition, 2016), p.iii.
 James Wright, A Blessing, from The Dharma of Poetry: How Poems Can Deepen Your Spiritual Practice and Open You to Joy by John Brehm, (Somerville: Wisdom Publications, 2021), p. 20-21.
Journey through the Rest of the Elements:
© 2023 Ellen Grace O’Brian