Stoking the Fire

Card #343 – Stoking the Fire

There are times when it is crucial to stoke your inner fire, to summon as much energy as you can. In the ancient Yoga Aphorisms of Pantajali it is written, “Energy is like a muscle, it grows stronger through being used.” Depression (and so many people today seem to be subclinically depressed) is largely a crisis of energy. When its icy winds start to blow across the landscape of your soul, get up and get moving! Summon your inner fire, that’s the force that helps to keep you alive. If you don’t feel the inner fire, then act as if you did. Don’t allow yourself to become paralyzed. Don’t fall asleep in the snow. You can summon the fire by engaging in physical movement. Get up and do some physical work like cleaning the house, simple work that brings tangible results. The more resistance you feel to doing that work, the more sure you can be of transformation if you do it anyway. When the fire starts to grow, move toward more intrinsically meaningful work; meaningfulness blows on the fire. The smoldering embers of your soul catch fire as the temperature of meaningfulness rises.

Eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, not poisoning yourself with smoke, pills, inferior foods, toxic relationships, are crucial to stoking the fire.

In the photo, the fire is growing as Michael blows on it through a narrow copper pipe, the end near the fire partly flattened to focus the air flow. Focus builds fire. Pick your target and hit it. If you feel overwhelmed by lethargy or stress, begin with near targets, easy to hit — cleaning the house, for example — focus on the work immediately at hand, the rubber-meets-the-road plane of action. For example, focus on your posture and movement as you work with broom and dust pan, and do the work as efficiently and gracefully as you can. As the fire rises, you can bring your focus to more challenging tasks. Don’t let resistance — mechanical, bodily, interpersonal, financial, circumstantial — extinguish your fire, use it to stoke the fire. Walking briskly on a cold day can raise more inner fire than walking at the same pace on a very warm day.

Yes, there are times to back off, times to relax, or even surrender. And fire can easily become focused on the wrong thing, on a dark obsession. Some focus all their fire on the hot pursuit of the hottie, and the results can be tragic. But since you have drawn this card (depending on what position it is in), this indicates a time that cannot be met passively or with your fire focused on illusions. This is a time to focus and intensify your fire on something worthy. The fire to be summoned is not only inner; you may need to raise your inner fire to focus your energy on a process in the outer world that needs to be energized, and that is worthy of your energy.

In many senses, now is a propitious time to stoke the fire.

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