Elemental Deficits and Excesses

Getting to know the Elements by their Excess or Deficits

Each of the four elements Earth (embodiment), Air (inspiration), Fire (assertiveness), and Water (receptivity) are necessary at every moment in order to have critical thinking going on. Other names (that is, synonyms) for critical thinking as it is thus defined are ‘being’, ‘wholeness’, ‘connection’, ‘focus and concentration’, ‘relationality’ and ‘person-centeredness’. Without one of the elements present to the requisite degree or with two of the elements deficiently present, problems of functioning arise. In fact, all personal problems can be understood in terms of deficits of an element or of more than one element. When their are deficits of an element, inevitably there is an excesses of the polar opposite element. The polar opposite of Fire is Water and the polar opposite of Air is Earth.

The Air/Earth Polarity: Deficits and Excesses

Excess Air/Deficient Earth

A person who at any given moment shows excess air/deficient earth will demonstrate the following characteristic personal flaws:

1) absent-mindedness; the failure to remember details/responsibilities.
2) clumsiness; the failure to be aware of how one’s body is being used in a given space.
3) dissociation; the failure to be aware of the significance of material events.
4) impracticality; the failure to appreciate the practical demands of a particular situation.
5) inaccessibility; a failure to be present in the situation in a committed way.

Excess Earth/Deficient Air

A person who at any given moment shows excess earth/deficient air will demonstrate the following characteristic personal flaws:

1) depression; a failure to transcend the material limits of the respective situation.
2) dullness; the failure to bring inspiration into a situation.
3) humorlessness; the failure to have levity (lightness) in a situation.
4) overseriousness; the failure to accept the things you cannot change.
5) despair; the failure to have hope.

The Fire/Water Polarity: Deficits and Excesses

Excess Fire/Deficient Water

A person who at any given moment shows excess fire/deficient water will demonstrate the following characteristic personal flaws:

1) narcissism; the failure to adequately consider the ‘other’, whether the ‘other’ is a person, group or part of nature.2) selfishness; a failure to give equal regard to another in a situation.3) coldness; the failure to experience/demonstrate sensitivity.4) harshness; the failure to be gentle in a situation to the degree where the other is disrespected by your action.5) sociopathy; a failure to care when your actions are harming others, including taking pleasure in others’ suffering.

Excess Water/Deficient Fire

A person who at any given moment shows excess water/deficient fire will demonstrate the following characteristic personal flaws:

1) passivity; a failure to assert oneself in a situation.2) helplessness; the failure to even be able to ask for help.3) dependency; the failure to develop a sense of self/one’s preferences.4) Depression; the failure to find one’s power/voice in a situation.5) Victimization; the failure to avoid agressive and/or dependent others in a situation.

Resolving Elemental Deficits and Excesses

At each moment we are functioning either healthfully or not. If we are functioning healthfully, we are synergizing (putting together in a wholistic way) earth (body), air (spirit), fire (mind) and water (heart). If we are not functioning healthfully, either or both of the polarities of Air/Earth and Fire/Water are significantly out of balance. To resolve elemental deficits and excesses can be anywhere from easy to difficult, depending on the person’s particular representation of the elements at a given moment.

For example, a person may be worrying excessively at a given moment about the grade they will receive on a test. While they are worrying they probably have excess water and excess air, and deficient fire and deficient earth. If the person in this reality of the example is given the chance to sit in a semi-lotus position (to ground them) while doing pranayamic (a Sanskrit word for intense nasal breathing) inhalations and exhalations (to strenghthen them) then the worrying may be put to an end for the moment, at least, for that person.

Other conditions may be resolved in other ways, including the utilization of nature (being outdoors), dietary changes, breathing exercises and counseling.

Specific Strategies for the Resolution of Elemental Gaps (Excesses or Deficits)

Excesses of Air/Deficits of Earth

1) Grounding Exercises, such as walking slowly or yoga.
2) Eating root vegetables, such as carrots, or eating legumes (beans).
3) Doing detailed, repetitive work, such as proof-reading.
4) Taking a long hike.
5) Wearing dark-colored clothing that is heavyweight.

Excesses of Earth/Deficits of Air

1) Going to a Temple, Mosque, Synagogue or Cathedral.
2) Climbing a high hill or going to a mountain top.
3) Repeating the Serenity Prayer several times each day: “God grant me the courage to accept the things I cannot change, the power to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”
4) Breathing deep, slow breaths.
5) Slow repetitive chants of a meditative sort.

Excesses of Fire/Deficits of Water

1) Watching an evocative theatre performance.
2) Chopping onions.
3) Being around babies.
4) Reading evocative literature.
5) Swimming in the ocean.

Excesses of Water/Deficits of Fire

1) Stamping your feet.
2) Eating garlic.
3) Fast breathing.
4) Angry soundings, making angry sounds.
5) Red clothing