Let’s review the five elements that form the base for To-Shin Do training from the inside out. In this issue of Ninja Now, we’ll look at the earth element.
The ground-holding power-exertion of the earth element shows up as the opposite of the free-moving evasive wind element, which will be described later From the earth element of influence, you are solid on your feet, dominating space, solidly repelling any attempt to fool you. Begin your training with an exploration of the Chi no Kata “solidity of the earth”.
The earth influence is associated with stability, directness, authority, and abundance of strength. You will come to see how this is the exact opposite of wind mobility. What if your attacker moves erratically, in and out of range? You certainly cannot beat his movement. You need a strategy that will focus on your strength and ability to stop him dead.
Theme – Vision produces strength
The primary earth motivation is the need for stability. We want to stand on our own two feet and set and maintain boundaries. The earth element reminds us of how good it feels to be in charge of our lives and enjoy a sense of down-to-earth fullness. We want to feel important. We want to make our own decisions and create our own benefits in life. We seek abundance. We want to build something of value.
The earth element influence produces people who are moved by confidence in personal belief and an ability to lead. This can, however, produce people who work so hard at building a foundation that they forget the value of an open mind ready for new possibilities.
In its most positive manifestation, this is a noble, magnanimous, generative, and commanding personality, inspiring others to greatness and abundance. People under the earth influence believe in their own intrinsic self worth. They never doubt that they are worthy of the highest and broadest of life’s gifts. This is not necessarily a need to impress others, but more of an ability to lead and generate abundance.
Positive Earth “Commander”
The positive earth element inspires leaders, commanders, and executives whose vision inspires the direction of all. Like the heroes of mythology and legend, when we are under the influence of the earth element we are far too big for anything to cause us worry, defensiveness, or fear. The earth element influence is also the ground of the “earth mother” type; solid, steady, and strong, ever there for loved ones and reliable in any crisis.
Positive earth sometimes produces what is referred to as majesty. As history-making leaders, they inspire progress girded by stability. As command generals, they bring out willingness to take on the worst of challenges. As visionary monarchs, they touch hearts with their broadness of vision and care for all. Veritable mountains of strength and nobility, such persons seem impervious to fear or doubt.
The positive orientation towards abundance becomes a form of wisdom. A sense of richness just naturally sees the positive values in any encounter, and can utilize each situation to generate to fruition that which must be. Grounded, confident, generative, and authoritative would be words typically used by others in describing a “positive earth” type.
Negative Earth “Controller” and “Tyrant”
In its most negative form, earth element influence results in a self-centered and arrogant personality, narrow-minded and scornful of new things, persons, or ideas. “I see two sides to every argument – my side and the wrong side,” sums up this outlook. Like a stick-in-the-mud, we resist progress even to the point of holding on to the familiar long after it has outlived its usefulness. Therefore, ever greater is our need to control others in order to resist change.
The weak negative earth influence produces the whiner who controls others through the kind of exaggerated stubborn weakness that engenders feelings of pity or a sense of guilt in others. We feel compelled to take over for the “weak earth” person. That is exactly how they get their way.
The strong negative earth element inspires the cruel dictator tyrant, whether head of a country or just running the office. Negative earth also creates the tight-fisted school principal who knows all, particularly the importance of strict discipline and order. This may appear as unquestioning assertion of authority, the police mentality of, “I just enforce the laws; I don’t make them”. Learning new skills is difficult because new ideas cause us to challenge things that brought previous successes.
As a limitation, the earth personality can easily get caught up relating only to that which produces a sense of security, comfort, or rightness. He or she can end up immobilized by the weight of all that is carried along. We can become so committed to command and control that we fail to see the value of any new thing that could provide for advancement. Stubborn, arrogant, narrow-minded, and egotistical would be words typically used by others in describing a “negative earth” type.
Negative Expression → → Positive Expression
Complacent → → Seeing the value of what we have
Demanding → → Confident
Repressed → → Conservative
Dictatorial → → Commanding
Self-centered → → Appreciating personal abundance
The mandala symbol for the earth element is the chinta-mani “wish-fulfilling gem”. In western symbolism, this might be represented by the cornucopia horn of plenty, or the jeweled crown of the monarch. Source of limitless abundance, the earth influence is further symbolized by the color golden yellow and placed in the south in relation to the other elements.