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TOPIC: "Book Club" - five elements, five dakinis

"Book Club" - five elements, five dakinis 22 Feb 2017 13:57 #106095

Seems like a good time to go to Water:


"I've gotta say, the qualities these elements are connected with in this schema doesn't make any intuitive sense to me at all. Water is connected with anger and lashing out and opposition, but also with flow in the sense of evasion and/or persuasion (and/or conformity, go with the flow, which seems different again)? "

I totally hear you. It took me a while to get it. I do think there is a method in the madness for the language being used. I think the challenge is what is trying to be described is such a primal (elemental, haha) reaction that put words on it afterwards is making it more than it is.

So for example water, you could put it on a scale from mild to strongest:
It's opposition.
It's fear.
It's that feeling when you sweet talk your fear away.
It's that feeling when you try to avoid your fear.
It's a feeling of evading your fear.
It's that feeling when you push away your fear.
It's that feeling of when you lash out at what makes you afraid.
It's aggression.
It's unrestrained anger.
...and finally so-overwhelmed/shell shocked that one is frozen.

Some people will find an association with one of those flavors, which can be an entry point. But at the end of the day, all these things are ways we "avoid what's there" or "don't see the whole situation clearly" anymore,

I agree the mirror is the clarity of any experience. Ideally, there is just clarity, but often in our lives there is the reactive pattern mixed with awareness. Obviously pure reactivity isn't really "seen" anymore, it's more like a trance that possesses us, and we see it only after the trance fades.
Last Edit: 22 Feb 2017 14:15 by shargrol.
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"Book Club" - five elements, five dakinis 12 Mar 2017 21:29 #106285

Well, this conversation kinda died, but it was interesting to see this discussion today on David Chapman's blog about the five elements...

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"Book Club" - five elements, five dakinis 12 Mar 2017 23:55 #106288

...aaaaand once more down the David Chapman rabbithole
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"Book Club" - five elements, five dakinis 14 Mar 2017 09:11 #106308

The link I posted has an interesting discussion of how to use the Elements for "shadow work". His text is below, I added in some ideas for the missing elements (the "reader exercise") in bold:

"Tantra categorizes energies in a five-fold scheme. Mnemonically, each corresponds to one of the five elements. Each can manifest in distorted (“neurotic,” klesha) or fluid (“enlightened”) forms:

Greed, possessiveness, and power-seeking are distorted manifestations of generosity and elegance

Anger is a distorted manifestation of clarity and directness

Neediness and selfish lust are distorted manifestations of compassion and discernment

Hyperactivity, aggressive goal-seeking, and paranoia are distorted manifestations of confidence and competence

Depression and obliviousness are distorted manifestations of open awareness

It may not be obvious why these qualities are categorized together, or what links the distorted and fluid manifestations. Spectrum of Ecstasy: The Five Wisdom Emotions explains this, with methods for transforming distorted energies to fluid forms.

Here are two of the five energies, explained in shadow terms:

Earth: If you find yourself particularly upset with other people’s greed or power-hunger, you may be wasting energy on making sure you don’t get more—or even enough. Your life may be unnecessarily narrowed by poverty, and time wasted on low-value tasks that could be avoided by spending money. You may do less good than you could, because you refuse to take a leadership role. You may occasionally act unethically to get what you need but have denied yourself—and then you find ways to explain away this eruption of the shadow.

Water: if you especially loathe angry or aggressive people, you may be undermining your own effectiveness. Your life might be narrowed by being indirect or unassertive, even when you clearly see what is appropriate. You might be avoiding taking actions you know are good for you, finding ways to delay or rationalizing that “it will happen when it is supposed to”. You might find yourself harboring a deep seething/icy hatred towards others and find ways to lash out, but you explain it away as unintentional or your find ways to blame the victim.

Fire: If you especially loathe sluts or pick-up artists, you may constantly have to fight your own libido—consciously or otherwise. You probably enjoy sex much less than you might. If you think sexual enjoyment is selfish, consider that you may be denying someone else enjoyment through your sexual inhibition. It’s likely that there are times when you are inappropriately seductive or sleazy or sexually crude, without noticing it, because you have committed to un-seeing your own sexuality.

Air: If you especially loathe over-achievers, you may have a rich idealistic interior life that frustrates you. You may enjoy stories of ambition, inspiration, and success, but perhaps in non-traditional or conventional contexts or pursuits. You may feel that life is designed in a way that specifically thwarts your ambitions, almost perfectly, so you never seem to get a break. When you are successful, you might be inclined to really rub it in people’s faces, but mask it as “a way to inspire people” or “something that was just lucky”. You might find yourself spending your time with other people that undermine each other’s confidence, perhaps passing it off as “life wisdom” or just “being realistic”.

Void: If you especially loathe clueless or lazy people, you might harbor the fear that you have no idea what to do with your life. While everyone’s problems or inadequacies seem obvious, you can’t quite figure out why you aren’t satisfied. You might feel drawn to simplifying your life, but you keep adding complexity and never quite can find a way to “just be”. You keep looking for methods or strategies, which sends you into the dynamics of the other elements of Earth, Water, Fire, and Air. But whatever you do, you never seem to find a basic self-worth, sanity, or peacefulness. You might find yourself provoking people into doing what you’ve done, saying “I got a lot out of it”, especially if they already seem to have the kind of unconditional acceptance or happiness that you deeply crave.

(Exercise for the reader: explain the other three energies in the same format.)
Last Edit: 14 Mar 2017 09:12 by shargrol.
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"Book Club" - five elements, five dakinis 14 Mar 2017 12:03 #106311

For what it's worth, I've been interested in re-looking at Fire, which would be next in the series...


I've been thinking about this lately, because the way I respond to uncertainty is to make very elaborate plans. I take the energy and exaggerate it, turn it into a catastrophe and then brainstorm on how I would find my way out of the problem. But at the very beginning of this reaction is the feeling of being alone or abandoned.

It's interesting because I used to think this was an air reaction --- covering things up with activity. But now I think it actually is Fire because, duh, it's not activity, I'm not actually >doing<, the first thing I'm doing is replacing "what little I know" with something much more intense and stimulating.

What's interesting about this is as I'm experiencing the intensity, I look around and wonder why no one else is feeling/seeing the same thing, which makes me feel even more alone, which makes my want to really intensely figure this huge problem out and fast!!! I can even feel my body get hot, flushed, sometimes it's like a fever from an infection. So that's being caught in the fire reaction loop.

The antidote is to connect back to the original experience of the mind clearly seeing some distinctions ("there is some evidence for this problem happening, maybe this way, maybe another way") but not intensifying beyond that. The mind is seeing distinctions clearly and rests in that, no more no less.
Last Edit: 14 Mar 2017 12:04 by shargrol.
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