We are firewood, waiting to burn intensely into the night sky. In reading "The Power of Now" my eyes lit up when reading these words:
"When a log that has only just started to burn is placed next to one that is burning fiercely, and after a while they separated again, the first log will be burning with much greater intensity." -- Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now (page 42)
This is a very powerful book, where every second sentence seemed to resonate with me, but this sentence was especially powerful. The author also suggested the function of a good spiritual teacher or great therapist, is to be a fiercely burning source of heat that helps ignite you and make you present. It made me pause and consider the people in my life who have burned warmth into my heart.
The following night I thought about it in more depth. I considered that all people are pieces of firewood dancing in space and time as if each of us were, themselves a dancing ember in the night sky.
Who in your life helps your heart burn brightest? Who in your life dampens or extinguishes your flame? It's not necessarily members of family who ignite you always, but likely to be people who are already glowing with energetic fire. People who encourage your fire to grow, people who sit with you and encourage you to be still in the moment, so that the embers in your heart can catch alight. Until then you are just an idle log.
Ingredients for fire
Fire requires three components: fuel, oxygen and heat.
Without these three components, a fire cannot begin or continue to burn.
I considered that different people have different fuel.
For intellectually and creative minded individuals, new information, ideas and debate may help ignite your fire. For physical people, exploration, contact and experiences creates bursts of fire. For emotional people, it's other people who feel deeply, and can connect in love who ignite you. Finally, for spiritual people, it's those who can peer deep into our eyes, and help us learn more about our essence that spark us.
For some of us, all of these forms of fuels are successful in different proportions. Just as we have our own love language, so to do we have different ingredients for fire. The one common thread, is that we burn brightest when we are still, and placed the correct distance from the correct logs.
I considered that different people require different amounts of oxygen.
While a burning log can help others ignite, some logs may require moments of separation to truly breathe and burn up into the night sky. Too many nearby logs may smoother their flame, hence a good campfire is one well ventilate. A gentle breeze may help a fire, while too much may blow it out.
Finally, I considered the heat needed to spark a fire and keep it burning.
In nature, it may take a bolt of lightning and perfect dry conditions to start a new fire. Two pieces of wood, rubbed together in the right way, can also cause ignition. Typically though, fire is spread from one log to another. Without realizing it, you yourself, have probably helped ignite many others in various moments in life.
Moments of excitement cause sparks. How though, can we maintain a fierce burn. Only a log which is resting still can burning with ferocity, it can enter a wonderful rhythm of crackling in the fire. If you poke a log around a fire too much, it will never burn. Perhaps this analogous to a restless human, forever worrying about the future or obsessing on the past. Fear is like water to the open flame.
Composition of your fire
Different types of timber burn differently. I personally, would like to believe that all logs are capable of burning brightly, but some logs resist burning and are not the logs of choice for a bonfire. Some pieces of timber require space so they are not crowded for oxygen. Some people, at some points in their lives, or throughout their lives, become wet. Some logs steal the fire away from others - they drain energy. We would all do well to avoid them, lest we burn out. The best logs help burns others.
And in some rare movements, two logs are so compatible in composition and shape they attract like magnets, and together cause inferno. These logs may be different from us, but they challenge us eternally, in all the right ways. A fiery passion erupts as these two logs merge together as if one... not stealing fire, but throwing fuel onto each other. Lovers may act as gasoline, causing a firestorm and flame which burns far up into the sky. Close friends help build our fire with tender care, kindling such as leaves, and create a sweet smelling woodland smoke which slowly spires into the sky.
All of these images slowly drifted into the sky as I thought about the special people in my life who have helped me glow. I don't know if this fire analogy will resonate with others the same way it has with me, but if I've send you this link it's probably because I see you as an incredible piece of firewood that has in some way ignited my heart. Even in times of rain, it is you who help keeps me dry. And when the conditions are right, you help spark me in some way... and I hope I help spark you as well. :)
I hope these thoughts of mine, translated into words, encourage you to burn bright. This life is too short for mediocrity. You can be a dormant log your whole life, or you can surround yourself with the right fuel, oxygen and heat to create a raging inferno.
I want to chose the latter. :)