I recently found and interesting exercise from an old Franz Bardon book (Initiation into Hermetics). Most of the time, these old "occult"/"hermetic" type books generally work on the level of manipulation of the five elements and rarely venture beyond this. Sometimes, however, one stumbles upon useful practices, such as this one, enabling one to get a better bird's eye view of how the elements and forces play out within one's individual consciousness.
The aim of the exercise is increased mindfulness around conditioned personality traits that normally play out unconsciously throughout one's waking existence.
The exercise is pretty simple, and relates to noting down (in a private diary) for a few days, all of the seemingly positive and negative traits (ie. personality) one experiences over the time period. Each is then assigned to an elemental quality (ie. fire, water, air, earth). I also added the 'force' dimension (ie. 3 gunas: rajas/activity, tamas/darkness, satva/conscious-harmony).
Some entries might look like:
- "Quick temper while on the phone today, impatience" (Fire, Rajas)
- "Resistance to going to bed late at night, knowing it was helpful" (Water, Tamas)
+ "Motivation to wish well for random stranger this morning" (Fire, Satva)
+ "Appreciation for food today during lunch" (Earth, Satva)
There is no effort to change these reactions, but rather develop observation & remembering skills.
There's also no hard-fast rules for assigning the qualities, the aim is more around becoming aware of how the elements and forces play out within one's consciousness during the day.
After a few days, a useful side-exercise would also be to notice the witnessing consciousness within which these elemental forces play out.
(Ride Waite 'Wheel of Fortune' card below, depicting the interplay of elements and forces).