The element of fire surrounds us in the form of energy use. Sunlight is the greatest grace our solar system offers us, sustaining all life on earth. Sunlight is a gift of endless abundance, with the plant life of earth converting that energy into forms we can use (Starhawk, p.99). As endlessly inventive humans, we continue the conversion by creating electricity, powering our lives in ways unimaginable a century ago.
This week we will use sensory awareness (as in September for the element of water) as a spiritual practice. Sensory awareness or “reverential contemplation” is a Unitarian Universalist way to access our first and sixth sources. Through deep breathing, grounding the self, and paying attention, we can increase our connection to the world around us, reminding us we are part of a “great conversation” among all life on earth. It is intended to help develop observational skills and awareness of place. We will focus on the physical energy active around us, the lights and power we use all day. This practice will focus on indoor electrical use, but could also focus on the natural energy outdoors (in warmer weather!).
Physical Energy Observation
Choose one room in your house, preferably one you spend a fair amount of time in.
Breathe deeply. Feel your feet firmly, yet loosely, planted on the ground. Let your worries and stresses sink down into your feet and into the ground. Breathe deeply. Stay with this until you feel centred.
With your eyes closed, what does the room feel like? Do any images come to mind? How would you describe the space? What can you smell? What do you hear? How do you feel?
Open your eyes. Look around and notice everything in the room that uses electricity. The overhead light. The lamps. The television. The computer. The kettle. The radio. The blender. The radiator.
Now turn each energy user off one by one, starting with the smaller users. Pause after each one. Close your eyes. See if you notice any difference in sound, light, the feel of the room.
Turn off everything you can and stand in the room. How does it feel now? How do you feel?
Turn each energy user back on. Close your eyes and take a couple of deep breaths. Shake out your arms and legs. Open your eyes.
Take a minute to reflect on the experience.
This exercise is adapted from Starhawk’s The Earth Path.