When people say, “I am fired up about this !”, it usually means that they are excited, enthusiastic and motivated about that thing. We never say I am “watered”, “aired” or “soiled” about doing something. The other elements simply don’t carry the same resonance in this regard. It is always Fire that is the element that really powers movement and action.
The element of fire can manifest within us in many ways. For example, when we feel angry about something, it is this element operating in unproductive ways. While in anger, it may feel great, even tremendously empowering. However, we cannot sustain this emotion for very long and so, after a bout of anger, we usually feel low, listless and drained, not to mention the incessant mental chatter that comes along with it. It takes time to re-gather ourselves and feel normal again.
Fire can be a powerful and consuming force. A large forest fire can take weeks to extinguish, even as it burns down large tracts of land, trees, homes, and wildlife when it spreads out of control. Similarly, if the element of fire is not properly managed within our system, it can express itself in undesirable ways, leaving our energies scattered and distracted.
Fire also – in many ways – nourishes life. The Sun is a huge ball of fire that fuels all life on this planet. The body temperature – an indicator of health, life, and death – is an effect of fire in our system. There are five distinct ways in which fire is represented within our bodies – the fire that fuels digestion and reproduction, the fire that aids visual impressions allowing us to see, the fire that invigorates the body, the fire that digests sunlight making the skin radiant, and lastly the fire that energizes the intellect. Perhaps what interests us the most as intellectual beings is the fire that ignites the intellect, and that is why we often depict intelligence as a lighted bulb.
Fire is a small part of our system composition – it is said to be only 4% of our elemental makeup. But it can rise up swiftly depending on how it gets expressed. Fire gets expressed as anger, greed, lust, inspiration, motivation, love, or joy. However, the expression of fire is entirely within our hands.
These fires operate in subtle ways. If the fire element is not kept in balance, the digestive, reproductive and other processes can become dysfunctional, the intellect can become weak.
There is a unique process in yoga called the “Bhuta Shuddhi” specifically created for the cleansing of the five elements. In Sanskrit, “Bhuta” means “elements” and “Shuddhi” means “purify”. This is a simple process, which if taught properly, can enhance the capabilities of the body, mind and energy system.
Fire is an especially difficult element to access. Other than Bhuta Shuddhi, here are a few other things to help maintain the balance of this element as well as cleanse it :
1) Emotions of anger, fear, hatred etc have to be kept in check. This means we have to be aware of our thoughts and feelings at all times. Simply observing these emotions as they surface without reaction or employing mindfulness throughout our waking hours can help diminish these unproductive emotions.
2) Doing certain types of hatha yoga practices can activate this element and it can act as a tremendous force of empowerment bringing overall well-being in terms of physical health and mental balance.
3) Engaging in activities that spark your motivation, enthusiasm, excitement will help channel this element not only toward your betterment, but also of those around you. That fulfillment in itself can create ambience of joy and love which is the kind of fire that we all wish will burn within us.
4) Daily exposure to sunlight, the source of all fire, cleanses and purifies this element in our bodies. Bathing in Sunlight can bring a new kind of resurgence and energy in the system.
5) Light a fire with dried wood without the use of any oils and sit in front of it for a few minutes. Doing this regularly can also cleanse, purify and energize the system.
In Eastern cultures all the elements that make up Cosmic Matter are held in reverence. Reverence for these elements is an intrinsic part of the “Bhuta Shuddhi” process. But if that process does not appeal to you, then with every breath that you take, every drop of water that you drink, every bit of food that you eat, express gratitude toward the Elements. These Elements hold our bodies and energies together in ways beyond our current level of perception. Being in gratitude and reverence generates a new kind of receptivity and boosts the functioning of the elements in a way that enhances our well-being. Time to be “Elemental”
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