Human beings have become the masters of all five elements on earth. We have learned to sail vast oceans and bring water to our crops. We have carved beautiful objects from wood and built massive structures with it. We have also moved tons of earth with huge machines, and we have extracted cement and asphalt to lay millions of miles of roads and other surfaces. We have extracted metal to manufacture amazing creations, from the implements of war to the towering skyscrapers. But no other has changed the course of human history like the element of fire.
Harnessing fire has allowed us to survive through the eons and to move even into the coldest regions of the planet. Using its power, we have been able to forge metal, cook food, and release the energies trapped in fossil fuels. In short, it has allowed us to become masters of the natural world.
But this is only the fire we use in the outer world. We also have fire energy that we carry in our energy bodies. Although all elements are needed for life, fire is the one that gives motion to life. It is the source of our passion, our motivation, and our success in the world. Developing its energy within the self is essential for health and vitality.
Have you ever sat and watched a campfire or a roaring fire in a fireplace? The orange flames dance and flicker, mesmerizing us with their beautiful motions. The flames are quick and active, and yet at the same time peaceful and serene. They embody the qualities that we need to bring to our actions in the world.
Unfortunately, however, fire energy can easily become imbalanced in the body; it is a sensitive and temperamental energetic element. If we have too little fire energy, we are always cold and listless. If we have too much, we become feverish and quick tempered. Also, its distribution, movement, and balance with water must remain in check within the body, a principle known as “Water Up, Fire Down.” In other words, we need to keep a “fire in the belly” while also keeping a “cool head.” In our stressed and overstimulating world, this is not always easy. Follow this meditation to help build and balance fire energy within your physical and energy bodies:
For this meditation, it is best to be in the presence of fire. A nice, roaring campfire or a fireplace is a great choice, but even a candle or some burning incense can work well. If that is not possible, sitting near a heater or in the light of a sunny window could suffice.
- Sitting in half-lotus meditation posture in front of your fire source, begin by relaxing the body as you contemplate the nature of fire. Breathe naturally into your lower abdomen.
- Close your eyes and place your hands on your knees with the palms facing upward. Straighten your back to create a straight line from the top of your head to your tailbone.
- Begin to visualize fire energy entering your body through the warmth you feel on your skin. Imagine the orange, glowing energy seeping into your body. Feel the warmth gathering and settling into your lower abdomen.
- After 5-10 minutes, breathe deeply three times into the abdomen, and return to waking awareness.
Maintaining Your Fire Energy
Keeping a healthy level of fire energy in your body is very important to health and wellbeing. To do that, you must keep your lower dahnjon, your center of physical energy, strong and activated. Regular physical exercise using the lower body is one important way to do this, so establish a regular routine of walking, biking, or some other activity of this sort. Or, you can use dahnjon building exercises like the ones used in Body & Brain Yoga practice.
Also, fire energy in the body and mind can be disrupted by emotions, so regulate your emotions carefully and always focus your fire energy into your lower abdomen. Stress, fear, and anger can cause your fire energy to rise quickly to the head, so when you feel emotions rising, breathe deeply and focus on your dahnjon.
In many ways, the fire in our bodies is like the fire we see burning in the outside world. It is very useful for helping us do things in the world, but it can be dangerous, too, if it burns out of control or has not been properly focused. If you learn to use it well, though, it can become the power you need to accomplish your true purpose here on Earth.