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Excerpt from "The Toltec Path of Transformation: Embracing the Four Elements of Change"

An Introduction to the Four Elements of Change

by HeatherAsh Amara

Each of the elements has a complementary action—an art—for you to learn. We begin with air, but working with the four elements is not a linear process. The elements and their actions blend and support one another to create a container for change.

Air represents the mental body. The action of air is to clearly see. The first element of change focuses on the art of clear perception. The journey to center is greatly sped up by a compassionate and supportive mind. Since you have probably spent much time in fear-based or judgmental thinking, the mind is probably one of the most difficult aspects of self to change. With patience and practice and a conscious shift in attitude, you can move from the heaviness of a fearful, disruptive mind to the lightness of a clear, supportive mind.

Fire represents the energetic body. The action of fire is to clean. Fire represents your spirit and the energetic aspect of your being. The second element in your new structure, fire, will teach you about the power of cleaning. The fire element is about action. After you witness through the eyes of air, you move into cleaning out what is no longer true. Cleaning is not something you do just once in your life, then it’s over. Action, just like learning to walk, is about repetition and practice.

Water represents the emotional body. The action of water is to open. The gift of water is learning to open yourself to all things. It is easy to stay open to things you like or that feel good; it’s more difficult to stay open to things you dislike or that feel bad. To open means accepting all that life brings while simultaneously choosing to work for positive change. Opening is not a passive, discouraged acceptance of your inner world or outer reality. It is a courageous internal movement of trust into the new life that is unfolding.

Earth represents the physical body. The action of earth is to nourish. The final element in your circle is earth. Earth represents the physical body and the importance of nourishing yourself from the inside out. Self-nourishment is about learning what actions (from what you eat to how many hours you sleep to who you spend time with) deplete you and which vitalize you. When you feed your center consciously, you will support your physical body in being as vibrant and healthy as possible.

As you read the following chapters, each dedicated to one element, choose one or more of the corresponding practice exercises that feel most relevant to you. These exercises will help you integrate the qualities of each element into your daily life. At the very end of each chapter, I also share a way to nonverbally anchor yourself in the wisdom of the four elements by building a personal altar that honors the individual qualities of air, fire, water, and earth.

The final chapter in The Toltec Path of Transformation, The Fifth Element: Beyond Structure, explores how, once you embody the four elements, you can step beyond your structure completely and into the fifth element, your divine center.

HeatherAsh Amara is a teacher, guide, and author of numerous books. As the founder of the Toltec Center for Creative Intent (toci.org), she has facilitated hundreds of workshops in the Toltec tradition and taught extensively with don Miguel Ruiz.

$16.95. Available October, 2012 at all major booksellers.

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