I'm mildly obsessed with fire images. There is a reason for this. It relates to a number of slow, gradual noticings I have had over time that have contributed to a growing, more consistent feeling of inner fire. Much of the time these days I feel lit up and fueled with a purpose, the details of which are in the process of being revealed to me. Seeing images of fire remind me to carry out this purpose, by taking conscious actions in the direction of it, one miniscule action at a time. These combined, tiny actions contribute to the feeling of aliveness, which feels like a fire burning. This is how I want to feel.
The gradual noticings that have contributed to my fire fall into three simple categories:
- The noticing of when I don't do or say what feels most authentic. This doesn't feel good. My body reacts against this feeling. It's not wanted.
- The recognition that it is entirely possible for me - at any moment - to choose to do and say things that allow me to feel more aligned with my Truth. This may seem like a no-brainer, but when this realization really hit home for me, everything changed inside. The fire was ignited in a big way. It was an explosion.
- The continual noticing of what it's like when I engage in tiny actions that are more aligned with my truth and support my inner fire, by simply doing things that feel good, and, not doing things that don't feel so good. By doing things that feel "good", I'm not referring to things that satisfy an urge or impulse, or acting in a way that provides instant gratification. I mean things feel right in my core, things that ring true on a deep level with my soul.
These kinds of noticings are the basis for my radiating fire. These noticings give rise to easy-peasy behaviors that in turn fan the flames of my fire. Things that are so, so simple:
- I take pauses, often. When I notice that I'm revved up and developing a crotchety edge, I pause to notice it. Usually this simple action helps to slow down my habitual task-mastering and impulse to get shit done. These pauses help me to notice my aliveness and to appreciate it, and also to halt the addictive urge to DO DO DO and the speediness inside that that creates.
- I check in with my body. This goes hand in hand with taking pauses: I stop and notice the sensations in my body. I do this right in the middle of activity. I look for specific sensations, but also for a general sense of ease or lack of ease. The body does not lie. It always tells me how I'm doing if I stop to check.
- I ask myself how I'm doing or what I need (I usually ask this silently). The specific question that wants to be asked varies. Sometimes the question is: "How am I doing right now"? or "What do I need right now"? Often an answer will spring forth instantly (e.g. "Rest". "A walk". "Get up and stretch". "Stop". "Do something different". My body is terse and doesn't beat around the bush.). Sometimes the question is "What wants to be revealed to me"? or "What is my next step"? And sometimes I wait with an expectant listening for an answer that feels like the one to hit me. It always does.
- I catch myself in lies and truths. It really helps when I catch the moments when I'm not being in Truth with myself. I notice that there are habits and patterns in which my untruthful behaviors are maintained. It could be so simple that it's almost imperceptible, like when someone asks me how I'm doing, and I say "fine", when the truth might be otherwise. It helps to catch these moments, and to inquire why I do that when it's not true. It also helps to catch the moments when my truth-telling is loud and clear, without hesitation, and to notice how these moments support inner fire.
My fire imagery attraction also stems from my years in yoga study. In the yoga tradition, fire is the element that underlies Sankalpa shakti: the power of determination. It is through sankalpa shakti that we acquire the ability to manifest what we want in the world. I have cultivated sankalpa shakti through my noticings, over time and through practice. The more action I take that is aligned with Mara-ness, the more fire I have, and the more aliveness I feel.
In the teachings of yoga, the seat of fire is thought to be located in the middle of the body, in the area of the abdomen known as the solar plexus (also known as the "fire center"). This is where much of digestion takes place, and It is fire that is considered to be the elemental force that fuels the digestive process and underlies the conversion of food into its micro-nutrient components to be absorbed and utilized by the body.
When I sense into the body, I can actually feel the fire in my gut, right around the area of the fire center. There is a distinct felt sense of it there. It feels like a drive. It has conviction. It has a direction and a velocity. It is momentum. It's stronger at some times, more quiet and still at others, but it persists. It is a beacon that maintains its signal and magnetizes to the Truth.
This feeling of fire is guiding me. It pulls towards what I want and what makes me feel most alive. And it is maintained by my continual movement in that direction.
What wants to come alive in you? What fuels your fire?