At the gross and objective level, the matter of an apple contains seeds, pulp, and so on. At a deeper level of scrutiny it is made of apple cells. Apple cells are made of molecules, which are made of atoms that, in turn, are divisible into electrons, protons, and so on. Such physical knowledge of the matter of apple does not lead, however, to the ultimate understanding of apple. Understanding arises only when you experience it—meaning, only when you see, touch, smell, and taste the apple. You will not know what an apple really is without experiencing it no matter how powerful or advanced a microscope you use to study its material nature.
When you experience an apple, you realize that it is essentially a “soft/hard, watery/fluid, warm/cool, and stiff rounded bundle of matter.” These experiential aspects of the apple are the four ultimate and essential material elements: earth, water, fire, and air. The earth element is the experience of softness/hardness of apple matter, the water element is the experience of wateriness or fluidity of apple matter, the fire element is the experience of warmth or coolness of apple matter, and the air element is the experience of distension or stiffness of apple matter. These four experiences are fundamental in that they are essential for knowing apple as matter at the ultimate level: the level of experience.
Just as the four essential elements together produce the essential or the most fundamental experience of apple as matter, they also produce the experience of the entire material world as matter. They are essential for experiencing or knowing matter as matter. So, they are considered universal elements. In this sense, they are the fundamental building blocks of the material universe that we experience.
Now try to understand your body through experience. Touch your forehead, cheeks, and other various parts of the body. What do you 'experience?' Essentially, the hardness/softness (the earth element). You also experience connectedness of various parts of body and various bodily fluids (the water elements), body temperature and digestion (the fire element), and bodily movements including eye movements, belly movement, breath movement, etc (the air element).
SOUL RESEARCH INSTITUTE NEWSLETTER, OCTOBER 14, 2011
EVENTS AT S.R.I.
Pikes Peak Library District (PPLD.org) is now carrying
"Health and Wellness Program" for Local Communities
Briargate Fire Department Community Hall
S.R.I. is offering local groups/ communities various meditation & yoga services for stress management, physical and mental wellbeing, & true awakening. Call if your group/organization needs help. Open to all. No cost. No Obligation. Contact Sam at 503 891 3079. Weekly, Sunday, 1pm-4pm.
"Soul Sisters Book Club"
Thanks to the selfless generosity of Mary Jo. We now have a book club. The group will meet every other Wednesday at 9:00 am, beginning October 19th at Mary Jo's home, 8635 Gatewick Dr in Colorado Springs. For more information, email Mary at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 282.9343. The current book for the discussion group is "The Dhammapada" introduced and translated by Eknath Easwaran.
Now think about our planet, the Earth. We really experience Earth almost entirely through the soil mass, water, fire, and air. At the level of experience, they are same as the four universal elements. In other words, at the fundamental level - the level of experiemnce - an apple, the human body, as well as mother Earth are essentially made of the same stuff!
If you were to develop such perception based on experience, sooner or later you will begin to feel one with the Earth. You will feel as if you are an extension of the Earth.
If you were to continue your contemplation and purification of your perceptions, a day will come when you will begin to feel that the environment, the material world is your extended body.You will go beyond the confinement of your body and experience the universal, without losing your sense of individuality. (Here I don't mean the sense of separate self). You will experience the "individual" and the "infinite" at the same time: The experience of being the grain of sand as well as the beach; a drop as well as the ocean.