For centuries, men have felt a desire or need to control nature, rather than embrace and revere it. Now, many of us barely have a relationship with nature at all. It’s time for us — a new generation of mindful, conscious, and evolving men — to step up and reconnect with nature and the five sacred elements, so we can live a more balanced, fulfilling, and healthy lifestyle.
Here are some tips on reconnecting with the five sacred elements:
It seems obvious that we should want to breathe clean air. Yet, few of us realize what we're even breathing.
For many years I lived and worked in Chicago, where I often enjoyed biking on the lakefront. For many months I believed this was a good release, but was always left feeling a little cloudy in my chest from the copious amounts of exhaust I inhaled from the traffic on Lake Shore Drive.
Despite living in a flat landscape surrounded by cities and pavement, I learned that only 20 miles away from the city center is the largest forest preserve in the United States. I took up mountain biking and hit the trails. After a few hours of biking I was often immersed in a feeling of ecstasy as I inhaled the forest air, leaving me with a sense of calm, and stillness. When I would return to the city, I was relaxed and rejuvenated in a way that city biking could never leave me.
Living here Bali has given me a completely new perspective on the importance of water. The Balinese people worship water and the spirits that control its life-giving flow. Whether you believe in their traditions or not, it is impossible to deny its prevalence — the whole island is flowing with streams, canals, water ceremonies, and water temples. Their worship is about expressing gratitude to have such an abundance of water, and not taking for granted that it will continue to flow.
Many of us have simply forgotten, or never learned how to build a fire. I will admit that for many years while living in the city, I never got out and camped or built a fire by myself, without the help of a big lighter or worse, lighter fluid! Many of us who live in a modern home or apartment have electric or induction stove tops, which deprive our senses of that critical connection to fire.
Before moving to Bali, my girlfriend, Janice, and I traveled the U.S. by car, camping in some of the most beautiful and epic state and national parks in the United States. Each night, we built a fire, and found that the whole process of gathering the kindling, sticks, and wood garnered us with a distinct feeling of mission and purpose. Without the fire, we could not cook our meals, which incidentally, were some of the best meals we had on our whole road trip! Whether the food tasted so good because we were good cooks, or because we prepared it ourselves over open fire, is up for debate. A burning fire also has a soothing and cathartic effect, allowing us to let go of any unwanted feelings, emotions, or stress.
Most of us living in cities may go days, even weeks without ever setting foot on the bare earth. We might go from our apartment on the seventh floor, to our car, to an office on the 15th floor, then on to a plane flying at 35,000 feet.
Janice turned me on to Earthing after I got off a 15-hour flight home from India. Earthing is about taking a moment — several minutes or hours — and allowing ourselves to "ground-down" and surrender into the Earth. This is especially important for people living in tall buildings or flying often on planes. Sometimes, we like to combine Earthing with sun-gazing — staring at the sun for those first or last few moments when it rises or sets. In my mind, I imagine myself as sort of a conduit between the earth and the sun — I give and receive energy effortlessly, which connects me to my higher Self, the planet, and other humans in a profound way.
Ether is the mysterious and intangible "Fifth Element." Ether may be described as a sound or vibration, but for each person it is something different, something more or less "unseen".
Ether is the subtle culmination of all the elements. It allows us to tap into a current of consciousness, creativity, and limitless potential. I find that when I'm connected to the other four elements on a daily or weekly basis, I can connect to the fifth element in a way that gives me insights into the truth about nature, our ancestors, plants, animals, and my true Self.
Guys, we must strive for balance and harmony with the Earth. To connect with nature and the five sacred elements means we'll all live better lives. We’ll have less stress, greater sense of calm, and a strong feeling of trust that everything is going to be all right. All of the answers are out there in nature; all we have to do is receive (and give) them.