The Taoist Five Elements are a map for understanding ourselves through the wisdom of Nature. Despite our modern lifestyles, humans are deeply connected to and affected by the natural cycles of the Earth’s seasons. Following this greater cosmic framework, we will explore each element’s lessons for our daily lives, bringing the broadstrokes concepts of the Five Elements into the laboratory of seated meditation practice. No experience necessary.
Each session includes a brief introduction to each element followed by a guided meditation. The goal is not intellectual understanding of the concepts (e.g. study and note-taking), but rather a felt exploration of the way each element is already woven through your everyday life, and how to connect with each one intentionally when its wisdom is needed.
The order of sessions follows the creative cycle of the Five Elements:
- Wood: growth, direction, vision
- Fire: joy, movement, action
- Earth: slowing, nourishing, ripening
- Metal: discerning, letting go, essential/non-essential
- Water: depth, unknowing, stillness
While discussion may reference information covered in a previous session, there are no prerequisites, and it is not necessary to attend every session. Attending all five sessions will give you a well-rounded foundational understanding of the whole cycle of elements, but don’t let a single calendar conflict stop you from exploring!
Please prepare a comfortable and supportive seat for practice: an upright dining chair or a firm cushion on the floor. Lying down is not recommended, but guidance on posture and options for every body will be given at the beginning of each practice.
About Your Instructor
Rachel Elizabeth Maley is a leader of Living Tea and the creator of Still Life Meditation, a center for meditation and self-inquiry in downtown Elgin, IL. An artist since a young age, Rachel has practiced meditation in various forms for more than 20 years. Particularly influenced by Zen and Cha Dao (the Way of Tea), Rachel’s practice is defined by what a mentor calls “expert noticing”— a consistent desire to pay attention, learn more, and delight in even the smallest of things.