Reflections on Water, Fire, and Temperature

With summer coming up, the trees are becoming green again. I was admiring their leaves when I noticed some old leaves on the ground that hadn’t been cleared away last year. So, in the evening, I gathered the leaves into a pile and burned them.

There were still some embers left when I poured water over the ashes, and steam billowed up as water and fire met with a crackle and a hiss. I enjoyed the sound and dancing movement created by that water and fire for a while, reminiscing about the source of life.

Water and fire come together, and life is born and creation achieved. When water meets fire and the right temperature is reached, the elements undergo chemical reactions and physical processes. I think it’s one possibility that a life form is born when a certain spiritual factor is blended into that process.

All the physical and chemical changes that occur in a life form happen along with changes in temperature. Temperature exerts a very important influence on vital phenomena, and all life forms respond sensitively to temperature. Even the human species walks on a fine line between life and death with a difference of a few degrees of body temperature. Just think about how much time and money we pour into maintaining an indoor temperature we find pleasant, or how much effort we put into preserving the right body temperature when we’re out in the elements.

It seems that in modern times, as people spend less time in direct contact with nature and pay less attention to their connection with the earth, many of them have a diet or lifestyle that makes their bodies literally and energetically “colder.” This is called “coldness” in eastern medicine—when part of the body feels cold or actually is cold—and is regarded as the source of just about every ailment. This derives from the perception that, as the body becomes colder, the blood vessels constrict, discouraging effective blood circulation and allowing the accumulation of various toxins, which results in illness and accelerates aging.

Stress can also contribute to poor blood circulation and cause temporary drops in body heat. During times of stress, it’s important to practice breathing deeply and making your head cool and your lower belly warm. You need to apply the energy principle of “Water Up, Fire Down” (Su-seung Hwa-gang in Korean) to balance the fire energy and water energy in your body.

A good way to increase your body temperature involves exercising to work the muscles, which generate the most heat. If you develop your muscles through consistent exercise, the capillaries repeatedly expand and contract and increase the production of heat in the body; because of this, it really helps maintain a warm body at all times. Exercises such as push-ups, sit-ups, and squats are very effective ways to work the muscles easily in a short period of time and raise the temperature of your body.

One more thing: if the temperature of your mind goes down, it’s easy to lose the strength and motivation you need to maintain the right temperature for your body. That’s why it’s also important to keep a fire in your heart by constantly instilling hope and passion in yourself.

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12 Comments. Leave new

  • Oh, I love this message so much. Thank you Ilchi Lee!

  • Now I understand better the relationship between enlightenment and temperature. Thank you, Ilchi Lee!

  • Dear Ilchi Lee, This message is so very meaningful to me right now! Maintaining water up/ fire down has been a challenge for me, but with this insight, I feel it will be easier for me. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

  • I love it! I was just having a simlar realization when I was in the Sauna in Korea Incheon Airport. I thought to myself, ” I wonder what consciousness is like in an extremely cold body, would it be very slow and steady, able to sustain long thoughts. And how would consciousness be in an extremely hot body, much hotter than a human body could handle.” What do you think?
    I think that consciousness changes depending on the temperature among other factors. Very interesting!

  • Erin Gruber
    May 30, 2011 11:50 am

    Thank you so much for this message! I use all the time to keep my mind’s temperature up with hope and passion. I am so grateful for this resource!
    Love, harmony, Life Particles!

  • Thank you.

  • Glad to see this topic here. I’ve been struggling with persistent “coldness” for years. I’m making time for push-ups and squats inbetween tasks at work. Doing so definately makes an immediate difference. I will keep going, to turn up my internal thermostat! I would love to see an article on the last part of your post: temperature of the mind, motivation, and maintaining heart fire via “instilling hope and passion in yourself”. Okay, looking forward to that blog post 🙂 !!

  • After reading this, I realized what happened to me few days ago, as I felt so nervous and stressed and lack of confidence. I let the temp of my mind/heart go cold – i literally felt it cold too. You say “if the temperature of your mind goes down, it’s easy to lose the strength and motivation you need to maintain the right temperature for your body. That’s why it’s also important to keep a fire in your heart by constantly instilling hope and passion in yourself”. I would add that I need to love myself more and experience more love so my heart keeps burning 🙂 Thank you.

  • Thank you for this message Ilchi Lee. Your insightful essay truly warm my spirit. I believe in what you say because I experience it my daily exercises.
    I wonder if anyone had given the picture a real close look. There seem to be a face there inside the fire… Wow!

  • Sholeh Gharib
    June 3, 2011 12:32 pm

    Thank you, great articles, it makes so much sense, i finished master training last week and started to run in the morning and do push-ups. I feel energized throughout the day and little things at work doesn’t bother me as much. temprature of your body and mind is the key, i will remember that :)with love,

  • Using your training methods has brought me back from a lot of stress. reading the message about keeping a cool head to accomplish my goals is very meaningful to me now.THANK YOU

  • Jungoui Hwang
    June 7, 2011 11:42 am

    Definitely, I need to do more push-ups, sit-ups, and squats on a daily basis. Thank you very much for sharing your profound insight!


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