Module 4: MANIPURA Chakra
“Our highest endeavor must be to develop free human beings who are able, of themselves to impart purpose and direction in their lives.”
You have the right to act.
To take the actions necessary to create the life you desire.
You have the right to claim your power and use it to heal, enhance and protect your life.
Our third energy center lives at the solar plexus influencing digestion and overall metabolism as well as the pancreas and adrenals. Manipura translates to “lustrous gem.” From grounding and flowing in the first two centers we come into our personal power in chakra three. Rooted in the body and informed by emotion we are ready to take action towards liberating ourselves from the ego and manifesting our Divine Dharma. This is no easy task. Symbolized by the element of fire, the work at manipura is to burn through layers of False Self. Fear, Anxiety and Tension flare up when we’re evolving the soul to new heights. The purpose of this center is to direct our energy and strengthen our will so we’re free to co-create with The Divine by following our bliss. Issues in these areas of life highlight the need for solar chakra attention:
strength of will
Here we meet “shiva” the Divine Masculine energy. Merging the two, masculine (shiva) and feminine (shakti), we come into balance and are able to bring our desires from darkness to light, from within to without. Creation begins with the feminine principle as essence, inspiration, intuition, the felt sense of life potential. Shiva enters to destroy what stands in the way of shakti and supports her in transforming dreams into reality. This is an alchemical process.
This chakra represents our ego identity. It’s here we ask (and answer) the question “Who am I?” Ego attaches self-definition, the orientation of manipura, to things outside of ourselves, to the material realm. Our identity becomes dependent on body shape/size, wealth, our jobs, our relationships (co-dependency), etc. This is the cause of most human suffering, especially painful body image. Body image distress is born of the belief that our worth and ability to be loved is dependent on our worth in the world. With the sense of self separate from Atman, we are vulnerable to addictions.
Shame is the imbalance of the third chakra. Shame differs from guilt in that guilt is “feeling bad” about something we do, whereas shame is “feeling bad” about who we are. Most of us inherited shame about our bodies and selves from various places; church, family, media. Many attribute this to the construct of original sin; the idea that we are innately wrong as humans because we are separate from God, that we “fell” from God. It bears repeating again, that yoga philosophy holds we are born perfect and simply forget this. The work is to remember and heal through the layers of ego that were developed to protect our hearts from the pain of this core belief. When we are connected to Source by being fully embodied in the present moment, accepting and allowing every part of our current human experience, there’s no shame, no suffering.
Being here is a continual practice. The karma of Forgetting Atman Temporarily is all of ours and has deep ancestral roots. No place is this more deeply entrenched than the non-acceptance of the feminine body in all her dynamic dimensions. The work of healing body image is a hard one and it takes continued conscious awareness to maintain Peaceful Body Image. It takes a tremendous amount of energy and embodied action. Most of all, it takes courage.
Manipura is about will. Aligning our personal will with the will of The Divine which is communicated to us by our bodies through shakti. It takes an inner strength to live out the path of the heart. It’s much easier, though unfulfilling, to stay stuck and play small. To shed away the personas we’ve developed to survive is terrifying but it is simply part of the process. Yoga gives us the “soul skills” we need to do it.
As you’ve probably already noticed working through this course so far, there’s a difference between will and will power. Most of us can push ourselves to do something that’s out of our comfort zone when it’s in the energy of fear. Forcing a change like running to burn calories so our stomach is flatter is using will power, it’s fighting with ourselves. It is fear based because it is driven by a non-acceptance of the self as is. This is fueled by that samskara, by the karma mala of “not enoughness.” This is why the behavior is unsustainable long term without becoming addictive (causes anxiety if not done) and more and more self-destructive. For example, turning into a compulsive exerciser or going back to being completely sedentary.
This is driven by the attachment to the scale, to numbers, to certain body contours. Do what’s in alignment with love for your body in this moment without a “goal.” That will bring peace, not the outcome. The yama and niyama we explore along side chakra three are aparigraha; non-attachment and tapas; discipline.
“Let your concern be with the action alone, and never with the fruits of action. Do not let the results of your action be your motive, and do not be attached to inaction.”