In the Four Foundations of Mindfulness Discourse, one suggestion for practice focuses on contemplating the Four Elements: Earth (feelings of hardness, softness, pressure, density, etc.), Air (movement in or of the body), Fire (variations in temperature sensations) and Water (awareness of liquidity or cohesion). When the discourse was being formed, that worldview suggested that all of reality was composed of these elements; current understanding can find the contemplation to be valuable subjectively as focusing on body sensations interrupts the intrusive and urgent demands of internal narrative processes. Successful contemplation of this sort cultivates stability of attention and internal tranquility. The recording below is a training meditation led by Peter inviting meditators to investigate the variety of Elements that can be perceived and felt during the meditation. This posting will be followed by the recording and notes prepared and delivered focused on “Mindful Coping And Cultivating An Adaptive Lifestyle”
This talk is the last focused on the First Foundation of the Four Foundations of Mindfulness Discourse (Satipatthana Sutta), Mindfulness of the Body (Kayanupassana). The Four Elements and the Nine Charnel Grounds Contemplations were read and discussed. Peter provided a brief introductory meditation to facilitate using Earth, Air, Fire and Water as subjective contemplations, followed by discussion. The talk then shifted to the Charnel Grounds Contemplations–Peter suggested these have no contemporary relevance, so the discussion then focused on how one can currently contemplate mortality in ways to motivate bringing mindfulness practices into one’s daily life routine.
Here are the notes prepared for this discussion: Understanding The Four Elements
Next week’s discussion will begin a review of the Second Foundation of Mindfulness, Mindfulness of Feelings, (Vedanupassana).