Wednesday, April 22, 2009
The Economy of Fire
Gaze into the fire. Observe the tongues of flame as they do their kinetic dance, moving according to some pattern of transmutation. It is natural what they do; the fire just moves and its energy is graceful, engaging...it calls us into its presence. We become quiet, that is to say, our mind quiets..our bodies, often around a fire, might just as naturally seek to move, inspired by the fire's movement.
This play of both movement and stillness is what we love about fire, why we generally just feel good in its presence...what is sometimes called " the wilderness TV" effect...the fire's rhythm and movement enables us to relax...as "something else" holds the mind's ceaseless talk, focuses it on this natural "screen".
Have you observed this experience when people are around fire together? No one feels the pressure to speak, motivated by the unconscious need to fill the social space, make small talk, as we say. If someone is quiet, we can see her across the fire and know they are with themselves and that's fine. The fire is holding the energy so we are free to engage or not....so too, the interactions between us then are more natural, more present, more honest, more spontaneous.
Consider that for most of human history before our relatively young industrialized paradigm took hold, almost all human activity took place around a fire. It is the first and central locale of culture. It is the hearth, around which the family gathered for cooking, eating; the holy place where all ceremony was enacted; where council was held; the source of light and heat; the sacred and the profane meet in the fire.
Fire is the egoless performer; its allows for freedom of expression without compromise, that is what we seek in all our "performances". Being the both the literal and symbolic source of energy, our exchanges before fire become sacred. Music, food, dance, prayer, play, discernment, all are "down to the bone" before the fire.
Having a group conflict, needing to listen more deeply in a relationship, unsure where to move next in your life, wanting to have a great party, desiring to teach a child an important lesson, don't know what to cook for dinner, wanting to deepen your practice...go to the fire, use its authentic economy of eternal flame.