The foundation of consciousness
The practice for controlling the Earth Element does not differ in principle from those already tested for the other Elements. The Earth Element originates from the mutual influence of Fire, Air and Water, which constitute the space-time structure or form capable of hosting the core of awareness. The resulting experience for the practitioner is one of density and gravity.
- Maintain your usual āsana; close your eyes and imagine that you are surrounded by a matter that has the density of the earth. Don’t think, though, that you feel trapped in a block of clay or rock; the feeling you have to arouse is that of an atmosphere whose substance is tangible and heavy.
- Start inhaling the Element with full breathing (lungs and pores). As you exhale, think of nothing.
- Continue with the initial seven inhalations, then increase by one breath at each subsequent session (lasting no more than twenty minutes). As you inhale, focus so that you feel your body getting heavier and heavier, almost immobilised by weight and gravity.
- Once you have stabilised the sensation, exhale, returning the Earth Element that you have accumulated into the universe. Remember that the number of exhalations must coincide with the inhalations carried out.
Bardon links this technique to the sadhanas practised by Tibetan monks. The term, which means “practice to achieve a goal”, is associated in Hinduism with methods for spiritual attainment and detachment from worldly attachments; in Tibetan Tantric Buddhism, it is mainly connected to exercises in the form of visualisation and intense meditation.
A further note concerns the choice of colours associated with the Element’s visualisation. Bardon matches the colour red with Fire, blue with Air, greenish blue with Water and yellow, grey or black with Earth. These associations can vary according to traditions and teachings; for example, the Zohar, an expression of Jewish mysticism, associates yellow with Air and green with Earth. It is not a contradiction but simply a variation of the quality of attributes based on changed expository considerations relating to the type of teaching, etc. Bardon is quite clear about the use of colours during meditation: it is an individual choice, and in any case, what matters is the sensation aroused by the practice, hence the heat for Fire, the lightness for Air, the cold for Water and gravity for Earth.
With this exercise, the soul’s training for the third Step ends.