Q: My question is regarding the element of akash. Is it possible to become more aware of this just by sitting in open spaces like in a field or looking at horizon points, staring at the ocean, or looking up at the sky or just spending some time in open spaces? Does that help with becoming more aware of this element within you and around you? 

Sadhguru: It could help, but the general tendency for most people when they are in open spaces is to cover and protect themselves, considering the variations in temperature that one may experience in different places. At the same time, yes, it is a possibility, but it need not necessarily be. If you happen to sit out, you can make use of that. But the simple way is to first take charge of the most obvious transactions – of breath, food, consumption of water and the temperature of the body and the temperature outside.

The simple way is to first take charge of the most obvious transactions – of breath, food, consumption of water and the temperature of the body and the temperature outside.

Just pay a little more attention to these obvious transactions. It always amazes me how the breath, which is such an obvious transaction, does not happen quietly – it moves the entire body – but most people never ever notice it! If you cannot notice your breath, how will you notice anything subtler than that? Yes, it could be good being in nature, but it is more important to notice these obvious transactions like breathing, eating, drinking, walking or touching anything. If you bring more awareness to these transactions, it would be a better way to start than going and sitting in a field. You will see, the experience of life will rise to a completely different level.

Most human beings are not paying attention to these simple things that they are doing. They are gulping down what they eat and drink. They breathe completely unconsciously. They touch anything and everything without knowing what they are touching or feeling. Largely, it is happening like this for most people. You can be far more attentive to these things without slowing down anything – this is important, because people think that if you have to pay attention to your breathing, you should not be doing anything else, you must just be breathing. No. 
 
The beauty of being human is that we have a cerebral capability of conducting complex activity within us and we are still able to pay attention. It is like when you are driving, you can still have a conversation with someone – two levels of attention are happening. You could be doing whatever you are doing, while still paying attention to the breath. Breath is one thing that is always happening, so you can pay attention to that. You can also pay attention to the food that you eat and water that you drink. This is a better way to start than going and sitting out in the field.

Editor’s Note: Find out more of Sadhguru’s insights into the five elements on Isha Blog.