The Elements

Elements

I heard the wind speak to the sea

As I walked along the way

“Dance and swirl! Lift and dance! “

Was all that it would say

The sea replied with hammer blows

Fists heavy on the shore

“Tempest and power! Anger and work!”

It has said for evermore.

The land stood by unmoving

Captured by the debate

“Hold fast!” She said “Stand firm and strong”

Countless ages pass – land sits and waits

And this song in the air throughout

To me seemed like a choir

My attention turned this windswept day

To their mutual friend called fire.

Clouds and rain perhaps there was

But fire nonetheless present

As I sat beside the roaring stove

At the inn, after dinner – so pleasant.

The elements seem so different

smashing, burning or heavy inert

But of them all life creates itself

From sun, sea, air and dirt.

Life is all of them combined

This seems to answer all

It ignites itself, one of its own kind

And now my reasoning falls.

For where is space in my thoughts so deep?

For space alone brings depth

And room to move, for us to breathe

All need length and breadth

With no dimension

The others aren’t free

To roll and play

Or to make you and me.

How from space can ever all come?

And I thought I saw only One!

Completed your training you have not said Yoga

So far, you’ve only sipped the soda

Lost in myself…I thought to write

Of all elements together

In life, I see some

But how in ether?

The space connection I don’t understand

And there’s an implication

4 made 1 more in life

What then with space’s integration?

4 made one more

Something new and alive

Bring in the fifth and another again

Must arise and thrive

You see? Above space there must be more

Or space could have no voice

And how else could it ever

Give the elements choice?

Choice to join

And build us all

Or to remain themselves

Dirt, flame, wind and rainy squall

If I and God are One

The who is behind it all?

Who lets God and I coexist?

Is this questioning what they called The Fall?

Again, I stray

I felt today poetic

And was surprised

When in my prose and in my diadetic

I came to see that warring elements –

The key is their debate

Where they agree is where life is born

Disagreement won’t abate

And if I and God agree

Then from that one more is born

Unique but from us fashioned

Stood on our shoulders tall.

The upshot?

Well, all I can really say

Is that fairness to all life, all times

Is evolution’s way.

Commentary

I wrote this whilst recently walking the South West Coast Path. Out in the natural world, where sea meets land, there seems to be such a stark contrast between land and sea and air: they are so different. Fire is completely different again. We don’t stop to consider it, but the coming of fire was perhaps the greatest technological revolution we have ever made as a species. This gave us heat and light on demand, which previously was only available from the sky – literally from the Gods for ancient cultures. It also allowed the cooking and preservation of food, and enabled the use of metal. There has not been a revolution like fire since in my opinion.

The elements are very different, and seem quite incompatible. Fire and water don’t coexist – either the fire goes out or the water boils and becomes air. Land obstructs all. But they can come together, and when they do something totally unique happens – life arises. Life is an organised marshalling of all four. It’s a unique extra that’s born from the existing four.

But the ancients recognised space as an element as well. In fact, all of the other four can do nothing without the room in which to express their capacities. We can see why ancient Yogis believed that space is the first “condensation” of the subtle spiritual realm into physical reality, and that all the other elements are successive “condensations” of space.

The question is: is life is spared as the unique thing arising from the combination of earth, water, fire and air, then what is the unique thing sparked when another element (space) is integrated? I’m tempted to think that perhaps this is how time arises.

This successive evolution – this creation of new things at higher and higher levels – kind of puts physical life on the same footing as the spirit world (if there is one). Both I and God arise is the same way, but at different levels. And if that is the case then there’s more – above the realm of Gods. Given that I am having trouble getting my head around this, I can only conclude that I need further practice to truly understand Universal One-ness.

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