1)The Links Between Humanity And Fire
A passionate individual can be described as “fiery”, a force of nature to be reckoned with. An individual with inner fire may also be a person others are drawn to for their inner light, like moths to a flame. When we fall in love it is said that our passions can become “inflamed”. So how does one go about building and controlling an inner fire? Plato believed in a “Divine Spark”, that each of us have a little bit of commonality within us of divine origins, as if we we are all sparks from one flame. Kabalism, Gnosticism, and Sufism all have similar ideas, that God is a source of divine light and that light lives within us. Sometimes the apostles were depicted with flames above their heads as a sign of heavenly inspiration. The book of Daniel speaks of Chariots of Fire, which other traditions have associated with the Merkaba (a transportative vortex around the body that ascended masters can utilize through meditation to travel to other dimentions and transform the self). The Egyptian pharoes were depicted with solar crowns as symbols of RA and their divine right to rule. The scientific “Big Bang Theory” has all the solar systems emanating from one great explosion, and in fact it has been found that we do share chemical elements of stardust within human DNA.
Fire is a cardinal force of nature. Fire has the power to burn flesh or keep it from freezing, it can cook food or burn a house down. The taming and utilization of fire separates humans from the animal kingdom along with the advanced usage of tools. Since the times of the cavemen mankind has sat around campfires in circles for protection from wild animals. This light source in the dark of night was also a place of story telling and the ‘inner fire’ I write about has a story telling element in it. The Greeks believed the greatness of humanity began when Prometheus, a Titan, stole fire from the Gods and gifted it to humans. This brought them closer to Godlike status, as it lifted them from helpless slaves to nature and thus angered Zeus. As punishment Prometheus was strapped to a rock for eternity. This myth is payed an homage every Olympics with the running of the Olympic torch, which originates at the site of the ancient Temple of Hera. Thus, fire is thus associated with the pinnacle of human athletic greatness and godlike power.
2)Feeding Your Inner Fire Through Breathing Practices
When starting a campfire a light breath will help the tinder spread the flame as well as awaken dying embers. A strong sustained gust may put a fire out. As oxygen feeds a fire, finding the balance, rhythm and calm in your breath can steady you through difficult times as well as stoke your passions. Years ago, in choir I was taught to breathe through the diaphramn by expanding the lower part of my rib cage while lifting the naval instead of puffing my chest up towards my chin. An easy way one can practice this is by placing a finger on the sternum to make sure it doesn’t move up or down while breathing. When I was on the swim team, before a dive I would use the same tactic to stay underwater longer and reduce my drag by surfacing less frequently. As I transitioned into a passion for weightlifting, my knowledge of breathing techniques also came with me. I would breathe very deeply before lifting any weight I thought impossible to lift. I would picture an energy field around me, that every oxygen molecule was a fuel source. I would envision that air was not empty or dead space at all but a boundless energy source to be drawn upon.
There is also Kundalini breathing techniques known as “breath of fire”. In the Hindu traditions and in yoga there is a practice of mastering breath called Pranayama. Within this are various breathing techniques such as slowly breathing in for a count of 10 then rhythmically forcing it out in fiery short bursts for a count of 20. Once you master this, you can alternate nostrils and try to isolate one lung at a time. As you build your lung capacity you can up the count. The metaphysical idea of Kundalini is that there are Chakras or energy fields along the base of the spine that when activated rise like a fiery serpent. One can envision this by looking at images of serpents or the chakras while noticing sensations in the lungs and spine. In Vajra Buddhism there are certain techniques where one looks at an image of the buddha for meditational purposes, and can gain an inner essense of fire. One breathes in deeply while staring at the image, as if breathing it in. The word Vajra means “thunderbolt vehicle” or “diamond”, thus it is an activating and transformative energy one gains by looking upon the Vajrayana Buddha. I happen to have one for sale here…
3)Using Obstacles as Fuel for Your Inner Fire
Life often hits us with unexpected challenges and misfortunes. At times I have felt like I was climbing a mountain through the woods, not exactly seeing where I was going, when suddenly a log fell in front of me obstructing my way. I can also liken this to a person gathering firewood, carrying a heavy load when someone adds to the pile. Sometimes that load just becomes too heavy to sustain and something has to give. I become angry or sad at the hardship, the disability given. Anger can rot a person from the inside out and stress takes a toll on the human body. What you do with that anger matters, but just as you shouldn’t hold in a burp or a sneeze or it hurts, my motto is better out then in! That’s when I say it is time to burn a ‘log’. You can use it to cook with, use it for light or heat, or use it to clear some brush in your path through a contained fire by using water (calming elements) around a given parameter. But whatever you do, don’t light all the woods ablaze with you in it or just lie there under the weight of it all! Sometimes we are taken into situations unwilling, it is what we do with these situations that matter.
The illustration in the cover of this blog post is an image of Daenarys Targaryen (also known as Khaleesi, Mother of Dragons, Queen of the Unsullied etc.) one of the heroines from the popular HBO series Game of Thrones. I made a watercolor drawing of her for this post because I think Daenarys exemplifies what this post is about: doing what you can with your circumstances and letting it feed your inner fire. For those of you without HBO, here is a short example of why this girl is so baddass. In season 1 of GOT, Daenarys is a young girl married off to a brute of a man by her conniving brother, so that he can gain her husband Khal Drogo’s army in his quest for the throne.
Drogo gifts Daenarys three fossilized dragon eggs as a wedding gift. By midseason Khaleesi speaks her husband’s foreign language and she has used her sensuality, courage and diplomacy to win him over as well as his clan. She becomes joyfully pregnant and her abusive brother meets his just fate at the hands of Drogo making her heir to the throne. At the end of the season her baby was still born and her husband has died. She has lost her family and her power she commanded over his people. She lies down on her husband’s funeral pyre with her fossilized dragon eggs and emerges unburnt with three baby dragons to a crowd of incredulous newly converted followers. This cements her image as a phoenix of a woman, who uses every adverse circumstance she is placed in to gain a larger army and lay her own claim to the throne. Had she never been treated as a slave, had she never been devalued, she would not have understood the struggles of those she liberates and persuades to her cause.
4)Allowing Pressure to Solidify Your Inner Fire
People with inner fire are attractive, passionate people. It seems they have a secret others don’t know. They posess an inner knowledge, a twinkle in their eyes, a charisma which others are drawn to. Perhaps it is a warmth to the personality, perhaps it is an empathy or wisdom which could not be found without prior knowledge or struggle. We have all heard stories of people who lost a sense such as sight but gained extraordinary hearing as the body found ways to compensate. I have always been facinated by bioluminescent beings such as the firefly…a being that carries it’s own light within it through chemical reaction. What seems to be magic is only a byproduct of natural selection and necessity of survival.
In terms of jewels “fire” is used to describe sparkly iridescence. The more “fire” a stone has the more valuable it is. Often the greater the pressure in the conditions where a diamond was formed, the more fiery flash a diamond exhibits. Honor your journey and feed your passions. Polish your passions, through the heat and pressure you are subjected to. Hold them in your soul as a flame that cannot be extinguished, that radiates through your being like rainbow flash through a milky Opal stone. Stress and anger can crush a person but can also be a driving force forward if you have goals and projects ready to go. When times get tough you can either be crippled under this pressure of devastation or you can force yourself to shine. What makes the difference between the two is willpower and a plan of action.
5)Using Your Environment to Kindle Your Inner Fire
I understand when you are facing difficulty and have your lost your way it is easy to forget what makes you shine. I find that it is helpful to keep imagery around my home or environment that reminds me of my passions. Images can be like affirmations, little reminders and bits of kindling to re-light your fading embers through depressing times. This can be an image of a phoenix on your wall, or something as simple as a piece of jewelry with a fiery stone which symbolizes your inner fire. The process of creating art itself has abeen something which powered me through the fires around me in life and filled my inner engines with fuel when they were running empty. You create your environment but your environment also speaks volumes to and about you. If you are feeling drab but you put on a red outfit, and wake up to an empowering image every day when you wake up, you may feel envigorated. Some like it hot, some like it cold (but those people are lame and old). Keep it spicy my friends! Feel free to check out my shop page on here for artwork to build your inner fire as well as wearable art at www.Etsy.com/ArtbyDamaris