As anyone with school age children knows, the end of summer is a busy time, with back-to-school planning and shopping, and last minute adventures designed to squeeze the last moments of fun out of the warm weather before the routine of school days takes over. Two weeks ago, I started the book Chakras for Beginners by David Pond. Two weeks it took me to finish a book with 158 pages of text. Another week plus to write this post, which I’ve broken into two posts, as I don’t feel right about burdening anyone with a “short” essay of over 2,000 words. Then another week or more to edit for myriad reasons, all legitimate, but when I put them down on paper, they come across as nothing so much as excuses.
I’m not feeling any voracious reader love right now, and I’m certainly not feeling like a prolific word creator.
When I started David Pond’s book, I was cursorily familiar with chakras from a regular yoga practice, as well as acupuncture, but I was intrigued to learn more.
The chakras are our bodies’ batteries for the various levels of our life energy. Any blocks or restriction in the energy will result in malfunction, expressed as disease, discomfort, lack of energy, fear, or emotional imbalance. When your chakras are balanced, life’s simple pleasures begin to hold more meaning for you.
The chakra system gives you the tools to help you identify the source of conflict within yourself, balancing the physical, emotional, and spiritual energies, and resolve the conflict. If the inner world is functioning properly, then everything in your outer, or physical, world will fall into place.
There are seven chakras: (i) root, (ii) sacral, (iii) solar plexus, (iv) heart, (v) throat, (vi) third eye, and (vii) crown. Pond reveals the colors and locations of the chakras, the predominant drive and core issues associated with each chakra, the level of consciousness and perspective of each chakra, and most importantly for my purposes, the symptoms of imbalance for each chakra.
My real takeaway after 158 pages? My chakras are unbalanced, and the only real way to get myself balanced is to learn meditation and surrender to the divine.
I’m hoping I can accomplish my surrender by practicing yoga more, and that I can experience balance simply by adding meditation to my life.* We shall see. But first, the chakras (in a rather abbreviated and simplified manner).
The root, or first, chakra, is located at the base of your tailbone. Its associated color is red. Its predominant drive is survival, its core issue finding your place on earth. When your root chakra is balanced, you are grounded to the earth, you feel a strong connection to your space, your surroundings, you experience a sense of being fully present in your body, a sense of safety and security.
To achieve and maintain balance in the root chakra, your station in life – your home, your job, your family, your physical surroundings – must all provide adequate resources to meet your specific security needs, needs that are not the same for everyone.
Imbalance in the root chakra is primarily expressed as insecurity.
To awaken the root chakra, Pond suggests taking a field trip to a location where you feel most invigorated and stimulated, most connected to the earth’s life force. For me, that means taking a trip to the beach. I’m always good with a trip to the beach, no matter the season.
The sacral, or second, chakra, is located in the pelvic area. The associated color is orange, and the predominant drive is pleasure. The core issues of the second chakra are sensuality and sexuality.
The second chakra drives you to feel life entirely and awaken your emotional life. Balance in the second chakra allows you to enjoy life fully and take delight in sensual pleasures as an integrated part of life, leading to creativity and self-assurance.
Imbalance in the sacral chakra is expressed in a hedonistic lifestyle, a lack of values, addictions, jealousy, and over-attachments, as well as feelings of inadequacy and anxiety.
To awaken your sacral chakra, Pond suggests taking a bubble bath and focus on the delight of your senses, forgetting about what you “should” be doing and simply surrendering to the pleasure of the moment.
Solar Plexus Chakra:
The third chakra is located at the solar plexus. Its associated color is yellow, its predominant drive, power. The third chakra is where you develop and hone your principles, your ethics, where you define your boundaries, the spot from which self-control, restraint and discipline arise.
Balance in the third chakra is expressed by being able to get more accomplished because you are not in constant conflict with those around you.
Imbalance in the solar plexus chakra is expressed in power conflicts, living a life where everything is a competition, a challenge, or a test. Imbalance leads to a constant fear of what will happen if you relinquish control.
Pond suggests that if you feel yourself in the midst of a power struggle, to awaken the third chakra ask yourself if (i) is your survival truly at stake, and (ii) if you win the battle, does it matter to you?
If you can answer no to both questions, then it’s not your issue, and you don’t need to let your ego take over. Because ultimately that’s all that a power struggle is: your ego.
The fourth chakra is located at your heart. The colors associated with the heart chakra are green and pink. The chakra’s predominant drive is love in all forms: personal, or romantic, love; compassionate love, or feeling the beauty of each soul without judgment; and universal love, or awakening into the experience of heaven on earth.
Balance in the fourth chakra will appear as the ability to deal with life’s challenges and tests with a touch of grace and subtlety. The fourth chakra is where the individual energy chakras one through three meet with the chakras five through seven that are all about connecting the self with the universal. Finding what you love to do, doing it, and showing the resultant joy, shows a true heart. Forgiveness is the greatest attribute of the compassionate love of the fourth chakra. True forgiveness is knowing that we all own a piece of darkness as part of our experience, we all have drives that are less than honorable, yet not judging ourselves or others for their past mistakes.
Imbalance in your heart chakra will manifest itself as guilt and shame, over-sentimentality, an inability to separate your problems from those of others, and an inability to accept the generosity of others. If you are unbalanced in your heart chakra, the author suggest re-examining your yin chakras, the personal energy chakras one, two, and three and asking yourself the following questions: (i) have you found the right physical environment in which to live? (ii) are you able to fully enjoy your pleasurable experiences? and (iii) are you courageous enough to stand on the principles in which you believe?
Stay tuned for Lesson 1.2, coming soon.
* I will be ramping up my yoga practice just as The Boy heads off to first grade, and Lesson 2.0 in the Path to a Better Something Series will begin my exploration of meditation with “Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation” by Sharon Salzberg.