Keeping a cool head is not easy these days. There are so many issues that have our minds bound up in a web of negative emotions. We indeed have much to be angry about, sad about, and worried about, from economic concerns to environmental threats. It is perfectly natural and normal to feel these things in response to troubled times. Yet, these reactions rarely do us any good. If left unchecked, our stress and negativity can undermine our health and threaten our relationships, and, without those things, we have no chance of finding effective solutions to difficult problems.
So, what do we do to keep negativity at bay when facing problems like these? I believe the key, as always, lies in energy, especially in the principle of “Water Up, Fire Down.”
The essence of “Water Up, Fire Down” is exactly as the phrase implies: healthy energy balance is only achieved when cool water energy circulates toward the head, while fire energy stays low in our belly. If you feel calm and focused (“cool headed”), and you feel energized and motivated (“fire in the belly”), then you know your energy is following the ideal circulation pattern. But, if you feel hot-headed and unfocused, and you often feel tired and unmotivated, your energy circulation is going in the opposite direction—“Fire Up, Water Down.”
How can you correct your energy pattern? You can begin by centering yourself in your body’s physical energy center, the lower dahnjon. Your lower dahnjon is at the literal center point of your body—about two inches below your belly button and two inches inside. This is where you need to bring your fire energy, down from your head and into your abdomen. Fortunately, that is easy to do; all you have to do is focus your mind on that spot, your lower dahnjon. That’s right; it’s that simple . . . almost like magic. It works that way because of another energy principle: “Where mind goes energy follows.” By simply focusing your mind on this area when you feel upset, unfocused, or stressed, fire energy will begin traveling down to the abdomen. Then, you can start to build and stabilize your energy through physical exercises like the ones I suggest in my new book, Water Up Fire Down.
Another important way to establish a “Water Up, Fire Down” condition is to examine the content of your own mind. As mentioned earlier, energy follows the mind, so you will keep drawing fire energy to the brain if your mind is constantly bombarded with chatter. The more you become lost in your thinking, the more fire energy rises to the head. When we say someone is “hot headed,” we mean that he or she is quick to anger, and, if you have ever been angry, you know why we say this—the head becomes feverish and the face flushes red. And, along with that comes a torrent of thoughts about the person or situation that angers us.
The same kind of “hot head” situation happens whenever our mind becomes flooded with thought for any reason. Other negative emotions, like jealousy and worry, do the same, and cerebral activities and stressful situations also cause seemingly uncontrollable waves of thought. So, it is important to find some way to calm and quiet the mind. Simply shifting the mind to the lower dahnjon, as described above, is a good start, but you can also seek to quiet the mind through calming, meditative activities.
Lastly, you can begin to cultivate positivity in your mind to replace the “hot” emotions of the mind. Remind yourself that you have a choice to feel any negative emotion you have by telling yourself, “My emotions are not me, but mine.” Once you are able to let go of the negative thinking of your mind, you can replace them with soothing, positive emotions that quiet down the constant busyness of the mind.
Emotions Are Just Energy
Finally, I’d like to leave you with a simple idea that might help you control the effects of stress and negative emotions in your life: emotions are just energy. This is important to realize because too often we think of these things as beyond our control, but that is not true. All your emotions, and your stress response, too, are there to serve you—to make your life richer and to enhance the beauty of this wonderful world. And, you will be able to become the best version of who you are meant to be if you can maintain a “cool head” and a “fire in the belly” to make a difference in the world.