Skip to main content

Verified by Psychology Today


Which Energy Runs Your Life?

Do you express more fire, water, earth, or air energy?


Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony." ~Thomas Merton


In my last article, I talked about a simple way to increase your energy: ha breathing. This is an easy but highly effective way to boost your energy in general, to give you more vitality to do whatever it is you need to do.

But in Huna, as in many ancient teachings, there is not just one energy but four distinct energies. Each energy has specific characteristics:

  • Fire: dynamic, masculine, passionate, heat
  • Water: nurturing, feminine, magnetic
  • Earth: stability, support, strength
  • Air: movement, possibility, cooling

This isn’t complicated. We all intuitively know about the energies. For example, you probably know that you need the nurturing energy to calm a frightened child. You intuitively sense that you need the dynamic power of fire when you have to make a big presentation. You may not have called these energies by name. Often people are totally unconscious of the fact that they are slipping into and expressing the different energies.

But sometimes people bring the wrong energy to a situation. For example, in a brainstorming session, you want ideas to flow and all possibilities to surface. This is the energy of air. But what if someone on the team is determined to remain in earth energy: grounded and practical? That person can stymy the creative flow, shooting down ideas before they have a chance to be developed.

I heard a story of a young couple that were in a car accident and brought to the hospital. Their injuries were severe and it took days before doctors could tell their families what the outcomes would be. After many hours of waiting in the hospital, the two dads finally had to be medicated to keep them calm while the moms were relatively okay. Why? The fathers were more used to the dynamic energy of fire. They wanted to do something, to get results, to make it happen! Standing around waiting was driving them nuts. The mothers on the other hand had settled into the patient energy of earth.

Most people, before learning about the four distinct energies, major in one or two. But the ancient Hawaiians thought it was important to learn to use each energy properly and to balance them within our own systems. Life presents us all with a wide variety of situations and issues. When the Ancient Hawaiians worked with energy, they were very specific about which energy they were calling forth for a particular situation. The distinct frequencies of the four energies allowed them to respond most effectively to those different situations. When we understand all four and tap into them consciously, we have access to their full power.

Before you know about the four energies, it’s easy to be imbalanced, to mainly express the one that has been your major. You might be the absent-minded professor who can’t find his socks (air). Or the competitive athlete who has to win at everything (fire). You might be the mom who still reminds her forty-year old son to wear a raincoat (water) or the supervisor who begins each interaction with, “This is the way we’ve always done it around here” (earth).

When I first became involved with Huna, I majored in fire energy. When I did energy exercises with others, they felt my energy as very “hot.” In daily life, I spent the majority of my time being proactive, getting things done and pursuing goals. There was nothing wrong with this. In fact, my abundance of fire had helped me accomplish a lot at a very young age.

But to live a fully satisfying and empowered life, I needed more balance and more familiarity with the other three energies. To be the loving father and husband I wanted to be, I needed to access more of the nurturing energy of water. To get my new business ventures on solid footing, I needed to access the stability of earth. To become the published author I wanted to become, I needed the creative energy of air.

Can you see how much more effective you could be by consciously accessing the different energies? By allowing them to be more balanced in your life?

Begin by identifying your major energy and noticing your level of imbalance. Ask yourself, “Where am I uncomfortable?” Are you anxious when you’re not on solid ground, when the unexpected happens or the future is unknown? Your major is earth. Do you have great ideas but can’t quite get around to implementing them? Probably an imbalance of air. If you are really good at taking care of others but not great at going after your own goals, you might have a water imbalance. On the flip side, if you are a real go-getter but uncomfortable nurturing others, you might be majoring in fire. Once you’ve identified your major one, you can begin to expand in your use of the other energies.

It took Western scientists quite a while to observe energy and identify it as the basis of everything. I’m guessing it will take them a while to distinguish the different types of energy. But when they do, I’m pretty sure the distinctions they make will sound very much like fire, air, water, and earth!

About the Author: Matthew B. James, MA, Ph.D., is President of The Empowerment Partnership, where students learn Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), Huna and Hypnosis. To find out more about Huna and energy, listen to Dr. Matt’s free webinar Huna and Energy Explained: How to Increase Your Personal Mana/Energy - Part I.

More from Matt James Ph.D.
More from Psychology Today