Generosity is about overcoming our habituated self-centeredness, our sense of limitation, of fear of the future, of not having or being enough. This desire to have and achieve more is a common desire that drives many into the study and application of magical operations. This fear causes many, particularly those new to magical operations, to focus their work on one or more of the Elements and ignore the others in their drive to see some results, to get something done, to achieve where previously there was only failure and disappointment, often in the material world.
Many new students also exhibit the tendency to attempt to work with all of the Elements, but to ignore the Void from which they arise. Unfortunately, this imbalance from the start strengthens rather than weakens the hold our psychological demons have on us, and it is no surprise that many end up worse off after a few months or year of work than when they started. However, there is a simple solution to this problem, and it is, as the alchemists say, “Child’s play”.
Typically in many Western esoteric practices we work with the Four Elements of Earth, Water, Air and Fire and give scant mention of Aether, or Spirit. The reason for this is simple: too few of the teachings actually know what to say about this Fifth Element. Yes, many will refer to it as the source of the other four, the Mother Element if you will, or say something akin to its Sanskrit name, Akasha, or Space, but often this is wrong in context of Eastern studies as well. Calling Aether, or Spirit a sort of cosmic glue is in part true, but when we work with the Elements within ourselves, within our physical bodies, such as in the Middle Pillar Exercise, the usual ideas bantered around are inadequate at best. Jean Dubuis recommended that prior to any esoteric work we spend a few minutes meditating on our Crown, or Kether, referring to this point at the top of our head, and slightly above as well as inside of it that corresponds to Kether on Tree of Life when it is projected onto the human body, but also referred to as Spirit, when the Elements are placed along the Middle Pillar instead of the Spheres of the Tree.
Regardless of which model, Elemental or Spheres of the Tree of Life that we use, the importance of this often neglected and misunderstood point cannot be understated.
Within the framework of Elemental attributions, we see that Earth corresponds to our bones; Water to our circulatory system, Air to respiration, as well as skin, and Fire to digestion and body heat. Wherein then does Spirit find itself? If we look at the Sanskrit word it means space, and is not only outer space, or that which is above the earthly elements, but it is also the cosmic womb from which the individualized elements arise or are created, depending on your point of view. Thus, any spaces within our body are attributed to Akasha, and yet it is also said to be everywhere. There is no place where it is not. However, this space is also not without awareness as if often suggested in definitions given in contemporary esoteric definitions, and is in fact our primordial or original awareness, it is where all gnosis or intuitive knowing is derived from. This is mind. For when we speak of anything spiritual, what we are really speaking of is mind, pure awareness, direct and unobstructed by duality or limitation. This is all too often forgotten, or more likely cluttered by a host of vague and abstract notions that have been wrapped around the idea of spirituality over the last century.
It is important that we start and finish our meditations by concentrating, or more accurately, simply resting in the nature of this original space or mind. When doing so, it becomes dynamically clear how our own mind constantly generated thoughts, images, idea, emotions and other such things to distract us from simply resting in this pure and uncontrived state for more than a few seconds at most. It is these same thoughts and ideas that are bubbling up to the surface as we enter into meditation that are the causes of our magical impotence, emotional struggles, and that wonderful phrase coined by Dr. Joseph Lisiewski, The Slingshot Effect. You see, these bubbling distractions of our mind are in fact the creations of our ego, or sense of self, jetting out to avoid the inevitable rest we must take in order to simply be whom we are, and experience life directly, and unfiltered. They are in magical terms, our own Elemental creations run amok, like the broom in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.
However, the more we work at it, the easier it becomes, and eventually we find that we can do it. Along the way we discover a great deal about ourselves, about the Elements too, and how they relate to the world outside of us (Outer Elements), our physical body (Inner Elements), and even how they arise and return to the Primordial Void, or Abyss, in the form of subtle energetic patterns (Secret Elements), neither disrupted by our self-absorbed thinking of either pity or greatness, or by the density of the material world. It is from this point, this state of relaxed awareness, that we understand the nature of the Elements, the Elementals, the interconnection of thoughts, ideas, and action, as well as the essential unity of the Outer, Inner, and Secret Elements – directly through the power of our mind.
When meditating on the nature of this state, to assist in our realization of it, and to then just relax and allow it to manifest naturally, there are several aspects with which we can start. First this is a unity, from which all things – thoughts, feelings, and forms – arise and return. Second, it is vast and empty of anything that we could call exclusive, or limiting. All potential exists within it. Thirdly, it is infinitely joyful, blissful, and as such, loving, and unifying. There are other aspects as well, but these are enough to get us started.
In this way we become as vast as space, or the Cosmos itself, and realize why the ancients place the mind in the heart, and not the head, as well as generosity and courage. For we too become courageous, generous, and awake, when we realize that the mind truly is our source of all limitation, as well as Illumination. To achieve more we must become more, to become more we must identify with that which is limitless rather than limitation, and the only thing which is limitless is Spirit, or the Cosmic Womb of Space itself. This also means that we begin to act more like the Cosmic Man, or Being, rather than a limited clinging, grasping, and selfish being of clay and earth. The more we identify with the Unmanifest, the more we can manifest; the more we give, the more we receive. The more we enter into the work with generosity and gratitude, manifested though actions and not simply words, the more we experience Divine Grace and its attendant charismatic powers, or what are called siddhis in the Orient, the Lesser and Greater Accomplishments.
In Kabbalah for Health and Wellness there are several meditations that address the Elements while placing Spirit, or Mind, at the center, in the heart, its true abode. It is important to work with the Elements in this fashion so that we do not become stuck on one idea of what Spirit, (or Akasha) is, and its importance in our process of unfoldment. Strangely, in this process, we are asked, as it is said in the Corpus Hermeticum, to identify with everything, for everything is God, Atum, or Mind. Also, we find, that another method is to identify with nothing, or rather Nothingness, Emptiness, the Abyss, the often ignored primordial source of the Tree of Life itself.