What I’ve gleaned from reading, is that Right Livelihood is living freely, without capitalizing on others. It is gaining your livelihood while also lifting up the world and others around you. Our livelihood must come from the elevation of the existences in experience around us. As soon as we seek to make a livelihood by extracting it from someone else we are not in “Right Livelihood”. Once our mission becomes to capitalize or manipulate someone into giving us money, we are outside of Right Livelihood.
The Four Nutriments identified by the Buddha are Food, Sense Impression, Volition, and Consciousness. I found this immediately interesting from an elemental perspective as they lend themselves well to elemental classification. Food as earth, Sense Impressions as air, Volition as water, and Consciousness, as always, fire.
The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide on Personal Freedom, by Don Miguel Ruiz presented an ancient Toltec perspective on our lives and how the hidden “agreements” we make with ourselves and others have a huge impact on the world and reality we see around us. I strongly encourage everyone to read it as it is only 140 Pages and very well written. Without giving too much of the book away, I wanted to discuss each of The Four agreements in relation to our elemental philosophy.
Emotions happen to us, they are not something we have direct control over, however, what we do or how we act once they do happen to us is what we can control. A virus is an outside influence that becomes dangerous or harmful once it is inside of us and begins to spread throughout our cells. We can take preventative measures to avoid viruses, but once they are inside us there is nothing we can do but protect others and maintain ourselves while the virus is expunged. Emotions work in the same way. Something outside of our own being triggers a response within us, and it begins to spread across our consciousness, at times taking over our very lives leading us to become slaves to our own emotions. The key to maintaining our own autonomy over emotion is to know that these emotions are not a part of us, just as a virus is not a part of us. Understand that yes we are feeling emotion, but that emotion is not who we are, and says nothing about us other than how we are currently feeling.
The practice of meditation strengthens and balances our air element by focusing on our mental well-being and strengthening our connection to the intellectual aspect of ourselves. On top of this, meditation can also be used in connection with other emotional or spiritual aspects of our life and health, and because of this is incredible for our general mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Even just 10 minutes a day, will see a measurable change in your life.