The Crown Chakra “Live in the Present Moment”

Crown ChakraThis blog post addresses the seventh energetic centre, the Crown Chakra. This chakra represents our connection to spirit, and our capacity to allow spirituality to become an integral part of our physical lives. Whilst our energy system as a whole is animated by spirit, this chakra is directly aligned to seek an intimate relationship with the Divine, and is considered the chakra of faith, prayer or meditation.

The physical location is found at top of the head – you may have noticed this energy during times of meditation or prayer, feeling a deep connection to a life force energy or other dimension of life in the form of inspirational or prophetic thoughts, transcendental ideas and mystical connections that go beyond the usual realm of normal consciousness. This force nourishes and influences the mind, body and spirit and distributes itself throughout the entire body and lower six chakras.

In Eastern spiritual traditions, the crown chakra represents “nothingness”, an eternal energy with no beginning and no end, from which all physical manifestation begins. “No-thingness” may be an easier concept to comprehend, because nothing is not just nothing, it is all; the nothing space between atoms, the nothing time of moment to moment, vibrant with possibilities and potential to manifest. In the beginning there was nothing, in the end there is nothing, but within you will find the entire Universe…

purple galaxyWe may think of connecting with spirit as organised religion, but it is important to differentiate as religion is primarily a first root chakra experience whose main purpose is to protect the group, primarily from physical threats. Spirituality on the other hand is an individual experience, directed towards releasing fears of the physical world and pursuing a relationship to the Divine. Spirituality is often called upon during a time of leaving this physical world, however it can be part of a regular human life. We may find ourselves at crossroads throughout our lives in which we need to let go of a previous phase and metaphorically “die”, in order to access consciously the energy of the crown chakra to Live in the Present Moment, spiritually awaken and transform. In seeking union with the Divine, we are asking to remove all “illusions” (physical, psychological or emotional) from our lives in order to separate from group mind mentality and to awaken an internal voice of authority.

Spiritual Crisis, “Dark Night of the Soul” or Spiritual Awakenings are Crown Chakra related and usually 3-fold:

They begin with a deep longing and awareness of an absence of meaning and purpose that cannot be remedied by ordinary solutions such as shuffling external components of one’s life i.e. being given a pay-rise, promotion, marriage or new relationship.

Secondly, strange new fears such as the fear of abandonment or ageing as if they are losing a sense of identity.

The third symptom is a desire to experience devotion to something greater than oneself.

Some people find surrogates to devote themselves to such as a corporation, political party, sports team, personal exercise routine or even a street gang; all of these material earthbound surrogates will eventually fail. No matter how much you exercise, you will age! If a company lets us go the pain experienced is undoubtedly due to the sense of devotion given. We are not meant to be devoted to any human being, material item or perceived powerful form. Devotion is meant to be directed upwards and to take us with it. When this “dark night” occurs it is common to label this a psychological dilemma, but it is more appropriate to see the root of the issue is spiritual; that the cause of the crisis comes from within. Whilst psychological counselling can help with navigating this crises, the content of one’s inner dialogue related to matters of the spirit is a crucial aspect of recovery.

Emotionally, Mentally & Spiritually:

Questions you may like to ask yourself include:

    • “What questions have you asked that seek insight into your life’s purpose?”
    • “Have you judged your life as meaningless?”
    • “Do you desired to be healed?”
    • “Have you ever desired to connect with the Divine in a deeper way than you currently do?”
    • “Do you bargain with God? (rather than pray/meditate in appreciation?)”
    • “Are you waiting for “God” to send you an explanation for painful experiences?” What if you were answered and told “I have no intention of giving you insight into your questions at this point in life”, what would you do then?
    • “Have you started and stopped a meditation or prayer practice?” If yes, what reasons do you have for not maintaining this?
    • “What spiritual truths are you aware of that you do not live by?” List them

“Our goal while on this earth is to transcend our illusions and discover the innate power of our spirit. We are responsible for what we create, and we must therefore learn to act and think with love and wisdom and to live in service to others and all of life” – Caroline Myss

In Sanskrit the name “Sahasrara” has been given, which translates to “thousandfold”. The element associated with this chakra is thought.

Strengths associated with the crown chakra:
    • Faith in the presence of the Divine
    • Devotion and spirituality
    • Humanitarianism
    • Selflessness
    • Living a life of meaning
    • Inspiration and having an inner knowing or inner guidance
    • Insight and awareness into healing
    • Trust that goes beyond ordinary human fears
    • Values, ethics and courage
    • Ability to see the larger pattern
Fears associated with the crown chakra:
    • Spiritual issues such as the “dark night of the soul” or spiritual abandonment
    • Loss of identity
    • Loss of connection with life and people around us
    • Boredom
    • Alienation
Physically:

Blocking this energy is associated with disorders of the muscular skeletal system and epidermis (skin). It is also associated with energetic disorders, depression, apathy, confusion, chronic exhaustion that is not linked to a physical disorder, extreme sensitivity to light, sound or other environmental factors

Recommended Exercises:
    • Following your thoughts in meditation – shake your body out, sit upright or lay down with your eyes gently closed in a relaxed manner in a quiet space. Go within and observe each thought without judgement and ask, where did this come from and what thoughts preceeded it until you find the origin of the thought. Eventually you come to a type of infinite source with no objective origin. After doing this with a few different thoughts, allow yourself to observe thoughts like clouds in the sky; no need to track, deny or retain them, simply watch until there are few or no thoughts passing through; you too will have returned to “the source”; remain here as long as seems appropriate, then return slowly to normal consciousness.
    • Meditate on the sacred message “Live in the Present Moment”
References:

Anatomy of Spirit, Caroline Myss, PhD, 1996

Working with your Chakras, Ruth White, 1993

Wheels of Life, 2nd Ed, Anodea Judith, PhD, 2015

The Third Eye Chakra “Seek Only the Truth”

Third Eye

This blog post addresses the sixth energetic centre, the Third Eye Chakra. The sixth chakra is involved in both conscious and unconscious psychological forces that influence our direction, perception and discrimination in life.

The physical location of this chakra sits at the center of the head, behind the brows – consider where an Indian bindi may be placed on the forehead. You may have noticed this energy centre during times of meditation or dreaming.

The Third Eye Chakra is developed throughout life as we learn lessons to do with “detachment”. Whereby one opens and develops an “impersonal mind” and understands the difference between thoughts motivated by strength and love, to those motivated by fear. The practical application of detachment does not mean that we no longer care, it is a term used for stilling one’s mind from fear-driven voices and having a sense of self that is so complete that external influences have no authority over one’s consciousness. This clarity of mind is the essence of spiritual wisdom.

As our brain commands our behaviour through its relationship to thought and perception, it is also associated with imagination and becoming conscious. By “Seeking Only the Truth” our minds are compelled to continually search for the difference between the ever present forces of truth and illusion. In doing so we are then able to detach from subjective perceptions to see the truth or symbolic meaning of a situation, release the old and embrace the new.

Becoming conscious means letting go and living fully in the present moment, understanding that no situation or person will be the same tomorrow. We can then “flow” with life rather than fight against it. We can contribute the best of our energy to every situation with the understanding that we can influence, but not control, what we will experience tomorrow.

symbolic sightSymbolic sight

This form of “seeing” can be developed with discipline in the following ways:

    • practising introspection to become aware of what you believe in and why
    • keeping an open mind and learning to become aware when it is shutting down
    • recognising defensiveness as an attempt to keep new insights from entering
    • interpreting all situations and relationships as having symbolic importance, even if it is not immediately obvious what this is
    • becoming open to receiving guidance and insight through dreaming
    • releasing thoughts of self-pity, anger or blame
    • practicing detachment by making decisions based upon the wisest assessment you can make in a given moment (rather than trying to create a specific outcome)
    • refrain from making judgements about people or situations; we cannot possibly see all the facts or details of any situation or foresee the long-term consequences of our actions
    • recognise when we are being influenced by fear and make decisions to weaken fear
    • act upon inner guidance and give up the need for “proof” that it is real; the more you ask for proof the less likely you are to receive any
    • learn to trust and live in the present moment, mindfully; refrain from living in the past or worrying about the future

Becoming conscious can be far more attractive on paper than it is in practice; pursuing consciousness theoretically through books, conversations and workshops allows us to fantasize about getting to a promised land without actually having to make any changes in our lives. The effect is we become overloaded with information regarding truth, but are still living in an illusion. Becoming conscious means changing the rules and beliefs that we maintain and live by.

In Sanskrit the name “Ajna” has been given, which translates to “to perceive”. The element associated with this chakra is light.

Strengths associated with the third eye chakra:
    • intellectual abilities
    • self-evaluation of conscious and unconscious insights
    • emotional intelligence
    • receiving inspiration
    • generating great acts of creativity and intuitive reasoning
    • being able to learn from experience
    • having an “open mind” to ideas from others
    • truth
Weaknesses associated with the third eye chakra:
    • feelings of inadequacy
    • unwillingness to look within
    • clouded judgement
    • judgemental
    • negative outlook
    • fear of or being unable to rely on external counsel
    • fear of one’s shadow side
Physically:

Blocking this energy can give rise to brain, neurological, eye or ear issues.

Emotionally, Mentally & Spiritually:

Questions you may like to ask yourself include:

    • “What beliefs do I have that result in the actions of others being perceived in a negative way?”
    • “Is there a negative behavioural pattern that keeps surfacing in my relationship with others?”
    • “What attitudes do I own that dis-empower me?”
    • “What beliefs do I continue to accept that I know are untrue?”
    • “Am I judgemental?” If yes, what situations or relationships bring out this tendency?
    • “Do I have excuses for behaving in negative ways?”
    • “Can I recall any instances where I was confronted with a new way of thinking and truth that was intimidating?”
    • “What beliefs and attitudes would I like to change, and am I willing to commit to these changes?”
    • “Can I be comfortable with thinking about my life in impersonal terms?”
    • “If I was to live a more open and conscious life, what fears does this raise?”
Recommended Exercises:
    • Meditation, with closed eyes focus your attention at the centre of the head between the brows, and imagine cleaning the screen of your mind until it is clear and blank
    • Chakra colour visualisation – sit relaxed, close your eyes, take 3 deep breaths then imagine a bright disc of white light above your head. This white light contains all of the colours of the chakras, which can be pulled down the spinal column.  Meditate on each chakra point for a couple of minutes and pay attention to how the colour feels and whether you feel comfortable or not. Allow the colour to stream into the relevant areas to “wash away” any feelings of disturbance or tension. Once you have focused on each chakra (listed below), check all of them to see if they retain the colours and see the whole body as a continuous rainbow. The colours that feel the most nourishing or energising most likely represent energies that you need the most at this time. Colours that feel the least welcome represent areas that are avoided or where there may be difficulty. Pale or weak colours represent weak areas. Play around with these colours until they feel balanced to you.
        • Chakra 1 – Root – Red
        • Chakra 2 – Sacral – Orange
        • Chakra 3 – Solar Plexus – Yellow
        • Chakra 4 – Heart – Green
        • Chakra 5 – Throat – Blue
        • Chakra 6 – Third Eye – Indigo
        • Chakra 7 – Crown – Violet
    • Meditate on the sacred message “Seek Only The Truth”
    • Chant the mantra “Om” to create sound vibration in the body to harmonise with the third eye chakra.
    • Yogic Eye Exercises
meditation
References:

Anatomy of Spirit, Caroline Myss, PhD, 1996

Working with your Chakras, Ruth White, 1993

Wheels of Life, 2nd Ed, Anodea Judith, PhD, 2015

Eastern Body, Western Mind, Revised 2nd Ed, Anodea Judith, PhD, 2004

The Throat Chakra “Surrender Personal Will to Divine Will”

throat chakraThis blog post addresses the fifth energetic centre, the Throat Chakra. The fifth chakra is involved in numerous emotional and mental struggles to do with choice, expression, responsibilitycommunicationattitude, faith, honesty, consequence and willpower.

As the name suggests, the physical location is found at the throat – you may have noticed this energy as your trachea constricting when you feel scared or out of control, or the feeling of power when singing out loud! Sitting between our heart and mind energetic centres, a balanced Throat Chakra surrenders to the Divine to make decisions and find expression of our true self. This is the first of the three upper chakras to do with connection to the higher-self, spirit and soul.

Symbolically the Throat Chakra develops as we mature from the tribal perception that everyone and everything has power of us, through to the perception that we alone have true authority, to the final understanding that true authority actually comes from aligning ourselves with our truth and Divine Will.

Whilst each chakra has fears appropriate to that chakra, the throat chakra is very much focused on the notion of releasing our power or choice to that of Divine force. Every choice we make has an energetic exchange; every thought and feeling that we experience has a consequence whether that be biological, environmental, social, personal, or global. “Your biography becomes your biology”; every dis-ease has a connection to the power of choice that we have made throughout our lives, therefore the throat chakra is involved with every illness.

throat

the Sacred truth | Surrender personal will to divine will:

The essence of the Throat Chakra is faith. We all reach a point in life where we realise that our personal power is unsufficient to get us through a crisis and question whether some other “force” is playing a part in our lives. Gaining awareness of this personal power limitation opens us up to become receptive and open to seeing life symbolically as a spiritual journey alongside a physical journey. This does not mean that we no longer delight in the comfort and delights of physical life, merely that we are liberated from the physical illusions.

If we could understand the energetic consequences or karma of choice, especially when made out of fear, we would see that these choices produce unwanted side effects. We may live with the illusion that we are in charge of our lives by seeking wealth and status so that we do not have to follow the choices others make for us, it is however only when surrendering our personal will to Divine will that we become empowered and conscious.

In Hindu the name “Vishuddha” has been given, which translates to “especially pure”. It relates to speaking and expressing genuine truth. The element associated with this chakra is “ether” or sound.

Strengths associated with the throat chakra:
    • faith
    • self-knowledge
    • self-expression
    • personal authority
    • honesty with oneself, and others
    • clear communication
    • following one’s dream
    • releasing expectations
Weaknesses associated with the throat chakra:
    • lying
    • dishonesty
    • poor communication with others
    • addiction
    • judgemental
    • critical
    • indecisive
Fears associated with the throat chakra:
    • releasing the power of choice to a Divine force
    • by speaking our truth we will be outcast
    • needing to know why things happen as they do
Physically:

Blocking this energy can give rise to throat, thyroid, mouth, teeth and gum issues.

Emotionally, Mentally & Spiritually:
    • Questions you may like to ask yourself include:
    • “What is my definition of being “strong-willed”?”
    • “Are there people in my life that have control over my will-power?” If yes, why?
    • “Do I seek to control others?” If yes, why?
    • “Do I express myself openly and honestly?” If not, why?
    • “Do I feel able to receive guidance and act upon it?”
    • “What fears do I have associated with Divine guidance?”
    • “Do I argue with myself in situations that require change that I continually postpone taking action?” If yes, what are these reasons for not wanting to act?
    Recommended Exercises:
    • Neck rolling
    • Yoga shoulder stand and fish pose
    • Take a vow of silence for an extended period of time to better tune into subtle sounds and open up other avenues of communication (especially with one’s higher consciousness)
    • Open oneself up to the mysteries of the universe by expressing oneself with art which is a language more universal than that of the human tongue
    • Sing, hum or read aloud to open the throat chakra.
    • Chant the mantra “Ham(hum)” to create sound vibration in the body to harmonise with the throat chakra.
    • Meditate on the sacred message “Surrender Personal Will to Divine Will”
  • References:

    Anatomy of Spirit, Caroline Myss, PhD, 1996

    Working with your Chakras, Ruth White, 1993

    Wheels of Life, 2nd Ed, Anodea Judith, PhD, 2015

    Eastern Body, Western Mind, Revised 2nd Ed, Anodea Judith, PhD, 2004

    Speak Your Inner Truth With the Fifth Chakra, The Chopra Center, Michelle Fondin, 2016

The Heart Chakra “Love is Divine Power”

The Heart Chakra – “Love is Divine Power”

Heart ChakraWe are all born with the basic right to love, and to be loved. This blog post addresses the fourth energetic centre, the Heart Chakra, also known as the middle chakra as it mediates the physical lower chakras with the spiritual higher chakras. A balanced heart chakra determines our overall health, vitality and strength.

As the name suggests, the physical location is found at the chest, over the heart – no doubt you’ve felt this energy as your heart bursting with love, or with the pain of heart ache and loss.

The Heart Chakra resonates with our emotional perceptions, which determine the quality of our lives far more than our mental perceptions. This energy centre helps to propel our emotional development, and teaches us how to act out of love and compassion, and to recognise the most powerful energy we have is love. More than any other chakra, the heart represents our capacity to “let go and let God” in order to find inner peace. The passive yin energy allows ourselves to simply let things be the way that they are. It encourages us to expand beyond our limited egos into a wider sense of connection with all of life; to rise above the confines of our own needs, and to find joy in service and altruism.

joy

The Heart Chakra does not just address the matter of becoming connected, it is a matter of seeing that we are already deeply connected. Rather than seeing ourselves as alone, we can see that we are in fact “all-one”.

Love is the energy that keeps a family together and relationships in tact. This mysterious force is full of paradox; we fall in love, we are lifted by love, we are bound by love. It requires both closeness and distance in order to find balance and equilibrium.  

People who have an underdeveloped heart chakra see love as conditional, they can become critical, negative, isolated, and can become submissive in love which simultaneously resists closeness.  They may also require approval from others and have feelings of not deserving or not fitting in.

Excessive love may sound counterintuitive, but an excess can occur when we overcompensate for our own wounds. This is desperate in its need for constant assurance. Consider the scenario of a friend who complains to you that they have put on weight over the weekend after spending it with their parents; they are usually very health conscious, but felt they had no choice in eating things they wouldn’t normally choose to. Turns out their mother’s way of showing love is with food, so she over-feeds the child even though they are not hungry, and sulks when the child says no; the child eats so not to hurt the mother’s feelings. The result is that child feels smothered and does not look forward to the next visit. Both the parent and child have acted codependently, and the emphasis on love for the other is out of balance.

Love Rose

In Hindu the name “Anahata” has been given, which translates to “unstruck”. It relates to the detachment required to look at different and apparently contradictory experiences of life. The element associated with this chakra is “air”.

Strengths associated with the heart chakra:
    • love
    • forgiveness
    • compassion
    • dedication
    • hope
    • trust
    • the ability to heal oneself and others
Weaknesses associated with the heart chakra:
    • jealousy
    • bitterness
    • anger
    • hatred
    • inability to forgive (others as well as self)
Fears associated with the heart chakra:
    • being alone (lonely)
    • rejection
    • commitment
    • following one’s heart
    • the inability to protect oneself emotionally
    • emotional weakness and betrayal
The Sacred Truth | “Love is Divine Power”

Whilst mental energy is generally considered to be superior in our modern, fast-paced, consumerist society, it is actually emotional energy that truly motivates our body and spirit.  Love in its purest form – unconditional love – is that of the divine. We are as much attracted to the power of love as we are intimidated by it. We are motivated by love, inspired by love, controlled by love, healed by love, and destroyed by love. Love is the fuel of our bodies, and each of life’s challenges are a lesson in some aspect of love.

Physically:

Blocking this energy can give rise to heart issues, asthma, lung issues, breast issues, upper back and shoulder issues.

Emotionally, Mentally & Spiritually:

Questions you may like to ask yourself include:

    • “What emotional memories do I have that require healing?”
    • “What is my understanding of forgiveness?”
    • “Are there people in my life that I have not forgiven?” If yes, what is holding you back from letting go of the pain associated with them?
    • “What have I done that requires the forgiveness of myself, and from others?”
    • “Do I use emotional wounds to control people or situations?” If yes, what are they?
    • “Have I been controlled by the wounds of another?” If yes, how can I prevent myself from being controlled in that way again?
    • “What fears do I have about becoming emotionally healthy?”
    • “Do I associate emotional health with no longer needing an intimate relationship?”
Recommended Exercises:
    • Arm circles
    • Yoga chest opening poses such as fish and cobra
    • Alternate nostril breathing
    • Journaling for self-discovery
    • Chant the mantra “Lam” to create sound vibration in the body to harmonise with the heart chakra
    • Meditate on the sacred message “Love is Divine Power”
References:

Anatomy of Spirit, Caroline Myss, PhD, 1996

Working with your Chakras, Ruth White, 1993

Wheels of Life, 2nd Ed, Anodea Judith, PhD, 2015

Eastern Body, Western Mind, Revised 2nd Ed, Anodea Judith, PhD, 2004

The Solar Plexus Chakra “Honour Oneself”

This blog post addresses the third energetic centre, the Solar Plexus Chakra. This fiery sun yellow coloured spinning disc of vibrational energy completes the physical trilogy of the human energy system and primarily relates the development of personal power and self-esteem.  As the name suggests, the physical location is found at the navel, over the solar plexus – you may even feel this as a “kick to the guts” when somebody criticises you! 

The Solar Plexus Chakra is similar to the first (root) and second (sacral) chakras in that it primarily relates to a physical form of power. Where the root chakra resonates to group or tribal power, the sacral resonates to the power of flow between the self and others, this third chakra relates to our own personal power and assists in the process of individualisation and the forming of “self”.

As we develop a sense of self (usually during our early formative years), the intuitive voice of our solar plexus becomes our natural and constant source of guidance. How we feel about ourselves and whether we treat ourselves with love and respect can determine the quality of our life and our capacity to succeed. If we are unable to like and respect ourselves, we become incapable of making healthy decisions and can hand our personal power over to the hands of someone else.

People who have a low sense of self-esteem attract relationships and occupations that reflect and reinforce this weakness. Self-understanding, acceptance and the bond we form with ourselves is therefore one of the most crucial spiritual challenges that we face.

In Hindu the name “Manipura” has been given, which translates to “lustrous gem” because it shines bright like the sun. Like the sun, this fire in our belly within gives us vitality and sparks action. If we are not loving with ourselves by giving ourselves the room to breathe, explore, to make mistakes, then we have no air for the fire to burn and can become cold and despondent.  The element associated with this chakra is “fire”.

Strengths associated with the solar plexus chakra:
      • healthy self-esteem
      • self-respect
      • self-discipline
      • warm personality
      • generosity
      • ethics
      • strength of character
      • ambition
      • the ability to generate action, handle a crisis and take risks (follow through on gut instincts)
Weaknesses associated with the solar plexus chakra:
    • overly aggressive
    • manipulative, power hungry, deceitful
    • temper tantrums
    • stubbornness
    • competitiveness
    • arrogance
    • hyperactivity
    • eating disorders
    • addictions
Fears associated with the solar plexus chakra:
    • rejection
    • criticism
    • appearing foolish
    • physical appearance (obesity, baldness, aging)
    • others may discover our “secrets”
The Sacred Truth | “Honour one-self”

The goal here is to mature in our self-understanding and the relationship we have with ourselves, learning how we stand on our own and take care of ourselves. The spiritual quality compels us to create an identity that is separate from our tribe.

Physically:

Blocking this energy can give rise to arthritis, gastric ulcers, indigestion, anorexia or bulimia, liver or adrenal dysfunction.

Emotionally, Mentally & Spiritually:

Questions you may like to ask yourself include:

    • “Do I like myself?” If not, what parts and why? Are you actively working to change?
    • “Am I honest with myself and others?” If not, why?
    • “Am I critical of others?” Does blaming others protect you in some way?
    • “Can I admit when I am wrong?”
    • “Am I open to feedback from others about myself?”
    • “Do I need approval from others?” If yes, why?
    • “Am I afraid of taking care of myself?”
      “Have I allowed myself to be in a relationship with somebody I don’t really love because it is better than being alone?”
    • “Do I respect myself?”
    • “Am I afraid of responsibility, or do I feel responsible for everything and everyone?”
    • “Do I wish my life were different?” If yes, am I doing anything to change this?
Recommended Exercises:
    • Jogging or Power Walking
    • Sit-ups
    • Yoga sun-salutations
    • Breath of fire – rapid diaphragmatic breathing
    • Laughing
    • Meditate on the sacred message “Honour One-Self”
    • Chant the mantra “Ram” to create sound vibration in the body to harmonise with the solar plexus chakra.
References:

Anatomy of Spirit, Caroline Myss, PhD, 1996

Working with your Chakras, Ruth White, 1993

Wheels of Life, 2nd Ed, Anodea Judith, PhD, 2015

Eastern Body, Western Mind, Revised 2nd Ed, Anodea Judith, PhD, 2004