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Deconstructing the Body into the Traditional Elements


Guided Meditation by Michael Taft

First 15 min – Shamatha with an object.
Then Dissolving with the Outbreath
Then Shamatha without an object
Then the body is deconstructed into earth, air, fire, water, and space.

There are many sorts of deconstruction possible. Here we are dividing the body up in the imagination, into the five traditional elements earth, air, fire, water, and space. Of course these are not the modern notion of elements, as depicted in a periodic table. The actual word is dhatu, and is meant to describe the body (and world) in terms of its arising in sensory experience.

In this traditional meditation, we picture each the various elements (dhatu) of the body individually, and the parts of the body that it constitutes. Then we allow this element to return to the earth, or to nature. Gradually, we deconstruct the entire physical body, and all of its elements are returned to the environment, with no remainder.

We imagine that as the body is completely dissolved into its constituent elements and then disappears into the earth, conscious awareness continues. Doing so helps us to dis-identify with the material body as the locus of self.

In the end, we imagine an entirely new and healthy body is assembled out of fresh, vibrant elements.

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