It’s not easy to have a healthy mind without having at least some imagination. Yes, the processing aspect of the mind, the mulling and pondering and digesting aspect, has to do with the Earth element. But the imagination is the flight of the hun. That’s the Wood element.
Imagination is an amazing thing. Wood controls Earth; they balance each other. When we only have Earth, we cannot create anything new.
The difference between herbs and food is that when you digest food, you turn the food into you. What used to be broccoli is now you. You remain the same; the food is transformed. That’s the Earth element. By contrast, when we take herbs, which are Wood, we are the ones who are transformed, and that’s why we take them—so that they will change us.
There’s a balance to be had, in a healthy mind, between Earth and Wood. Our Earth allows us to digest life experience to make it part of us, and we are nourished but unchanged. The Wood element, via the hun, allows us to contact imaginal realities that are foreign to our makeup, and be changed by them. We are opened to a new way of thinking, and our creativity is sparked.
Our Earth also needs to be in healthy relationship with Water in order to have a healthy mind. Our processing of the manifest and the obvious needs to be in relationship with the unmanifest, the subtle and the hidden.
In other words, our thinking is not healthy unless we are leaving room for the unknown within it. We need to be able to recognize, not just “It’s a ship. It’s a car. It’s a career.” All of that needs to be balanced with, “Okay, what else is here that I haven’t noticed yet? What else is there that I don’t know?”
Without this recognition of what else exists besides what we notice, we do not have, in our mind, the capacity to formulate relevant questions. Without Water’s capacity to recognize the unknown in the midst of the known, and thus generate healthy questions, we are not very effective thinkers. That’s the liaison between Earth and Water in the mind.
What does Metal contribute to the mind? It contributes the architecture or structure of the mind, otherwise known as belief. Beliefs are structural. In terms of Earth and cognition, Earth feeds Metal. Cognition naturally leads to conclusions, which then become beliefs. Beliefs then become structural, allowing Earth’s cognition to take place within form, rather than churning around and around within endless formlessness. Metal’s structure of belief allows Earth to reach conclusions, in conformity with the sense of truth.
What does Fire contribute to the mind? Fire’s greatest contribution to the mind is consciousness itself. Through awareness, what are you aware of? A mind that is not aware can do a whole lot of thinking and churning around, but something is missing—namely data, accurate data.
You can do a lot of thinking about your girlfriend, but are you actually aware of your girlfriend? Is reality actually making it into your thought process? Without awareness, the mind is not worth much. Fire’s primary relationship to the mind is that free flow of data from reality. With awareness, perception enters into the mind. Between the perceptual and the conceptual, there had better be a pretty close relationship!
Would you like to learn more about building a strong and healthy mind? Join us at the Earth Seasonal Retreat: Cultivating a Healthy Mind, September 24th 2023.
For more Earth element resources, check out our Seasonal Resources page for Late Summer.
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