by Noelia Madiedo

During the times of stepping into our true Essence and doing the work within, I was asked to share a grounding visualization and thought of the earth element.
First we call to mind the Earth element within ourselves. The Earth element is everything solid and resistant, everything that gives us form. When I teach this practice I encourage students to notice first of all those aspects of the body that they can directly experience: the physical presence and weight of the body, the sit bones pressing into the cushion or ground, the hands resting on the lap, the knees on the floor, the teeth. Then noticing those sensations we enter into an imaginative exploration of the rest of the body. Even though we can’t experience them directly, the sutta encourages us to call to mind the flesh, bones, bone-marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, spleen, diaphragm, vertebrates, and every other conceivable solid matter in the body. Don’t think about these things but simply call them to mind, knowing they are there and experiencing them in the mind’s eye.
Having reflected on the Earth element within, we now call to mind the Earth element externally — everything that is solid and resistant outside of ourselves — starting with the floor upon which we sit, then expanding outward to recall starting from home, rivers, mountains, rocks, pebbles, soil, the bodies of other beings, trees, wild plants and crops growing in fields. Again we simply aim to evoke memories in the form of sensory impressions, letting images, sounds, and tactile sensations come to mind.
Then we reflect that everything solid within the body and everything solid externally is the same Earth element. There’s really no “me” Earth element or “other” Earth element, it’s all the same stuff. We normally think of our form, our body, as being us, as being ourselves, but here we recollect how everything of the Earth element that is within us comes from outside and returns to the outside.
If I want to go deeper I often call to mind the process of conception. My body started with the creation of one cell from the fusion of a sperm and an egg from my parents, who are not me. The fertilized ovum divided and grew into an embryo as it absorbed nutrients from the world outside, from my mother’s bloodstream, but ultimately from the plants and animals she ate. And from that point on in my life, every molecule that has contributed to the earth element in this body similarly has come from outside. It’s all borrowed.
And we have to give it back. In fact we constantly are giving it back, every moment of our lives. The Earth element within us is constantly returning to the outside world.
The Earth element provides the paradigm for the remaining physical elements, which are all treated in the same way recollecting the element within us, recollecting the element outside of us, reflecting that everything that is “us” is really just borrowed from the outside world and constantly returning to it, and finally nothing, as we contemplate the element flowing through us that this is not me, not mine, that I am not this.
With this understanding earth helps us to ground in the physical realm. She works cooperatively with Father Sun, Grandmother Moon, water, air, and the seasons to birth, slow grow, ground, and transport this nutrition and wisdom around in physical form with ample time for us to absorb and digest all of her teachings, and embrace our true nature.
She teaches us to ground in our bodies with the help of gravity and our five senses, and shows us the pleasure in being, creating, nourishing others, and growing our inner and outer capacity for abundance.
Blessings for the times of change and accepting truth as it is …
love to all namaste