Module 5: ANAHATA Chakra
“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.”
~Thich Nhat Hanh
“You, yourself, as much as anyone in the entire Universe, deserve your love and affection.”
You have the right to love and be loved.
To give and receive unconditional love.
You have the right to this love from others, yourself and the Divine.
Our fourth chakra lives at heart center governing the cardiorespiratory system, chest, upper back, shoulders, arms and hands. Anahata translates to “unstruck or unhurt.” Igniting the fire of our will and working through ego in chakra three allows us to enter into the realm of the heart, the midpoint of our energy system and the greatest healing place on earth. The element of the fourth charka is air representing the breath, life and the phenomena of love. Love is the foundation of all life for it creates, gives and sustains life. The Divine is love, you are love. Chakra four relates to the following aspects. Pay attention to anahata chakra when experiencing challenges in these areas:
relationships (with self, others, body, food)
compassion & forgiveness
A favorite yogi friend of mine always says in her classes, “Come to the altar of your heart.” I just love that phrase! To me, it symbolizes that in this chakra our divine feminine and masculine energies merge to empower healing and create balance. Having worked individually with Shakti and Shiva in chakras two and three, they marry in chakra four. This is yoga: union.
Life force or “prana” both ascends and descends through the physical self and also joins at heart center. Accepting our bodies, emotions, and desires in the lower chakras enhances our connection to Source above, to Divine inspiration which enables us to bring it down into the reality of our lives. Here at heart center, the emotions and desires we’ve kept stuffed in our legs and bellies comes into the light of love. Once allowed into this sacred midpoint we can receive support from Source for healing our pain and the layers of ego we took on to survive it. Skipping this step keeps us stuck. Working with this second emotional center is essential for knowing deep peace, joy and true health.
The question begs to be asked here, what is love? In a word: presence. Love is simply being with what is completely, it’s Feeling All Truth. Drop trying to understand, figure it out, get rid of it. Just feel it. You don’t have to like it, but it’s necessary to fully be with your current experience in order to transform it.
“Nothing ever goes away until it’s taught us what we need to know.”
This is what compassion means, “to suffer with” or “to be with.” Remember this is the essence of “asana,” the sanskrit word for yoga pose as well; simply “to sit” with what is. Your life is your best teacher and what you feel is a guide home to your True Self. The learning is hard work but well worth it.
Most people find sitting still crazy difficult, even impossible. Practicing presence during The FAT Experience is in particularly hard. I’ve found for myself and my clients that doing this really hard thing of connecting compassionately to our Fear, Anxiety and Tension inevitably reveals grief (remember the iceberg picture from module 3). This is the most repressed emotion because it’s the last step in healing the original wound that birthed the ego layer that’s emerging in the moment. This makes grief the emotion we’re conditioned to be most afraid. Expressing grief shows vulnerability, it reveals our humanness which most of us learned is unsafe. To feel our heartbreak and heal it takes surrendering into it completely, it takes vulnerability, beautiful feminine traits we’ve been trained to fear and control. Just on the other side of fear and grief however, lies joy.
“What makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful.”
At some point in our lives we all experience heartbreak, perhaps many of them. These can be as mundane as being teased or having inadequate parental connection when young, to physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse. These are the points at which we disconnect to survive subconsciously (or very consciously) deciding we’ll never let that happen again. We shut down “ashaya,” the abode of the heart, for protection. We erroneously take charge of our pain by hurting ourselves through disordered eating and other behaviors which create misery within a mirage of control and safety. It may even give us the illusion of love from others as we are praised for essentially abusing our bodies through diets, food obsessions, perfectionism and harsh exercise. Heart hungers get easily confused with body needs in this dynamic. Let’s do some work now nourish our heart honestly.
Practice Point: Heart Menu