The Heart Chakra, Anahata: The fourth of seven Chakras, located right smack dab in the middle of the body and responsible for integrating the matter and the spirit in our lives. Those ancient Sanskrit people must have known a thing or two back in the fourth Century BCE for people are still finding wisdom in their tales foretold.
Legend goes that the Heart Chakra is responsible for integrating the 3 Chakras underneath it (Root, Sacral and Solar Plexus), with the 3 Chakras above it (Throat, Third Eye and Crown). It is a conciliator; a place where our male energy can meet with our female energy and become one. The earth meets the heaven for a little celestial celebration.
The analogy of love is not lost on it either and the Heart Chakra will be at its optimum when the giving and receiving of love, forgiveness, and tenderness is in balance. It is the only Chakra to have lateral components and it is fitting that those arms go with the giving and receiving of love. Playing alongside love, in perfect harmony, is the touch of the human experience and the interplay of that touch is a central tenet of Anahata.
The spiritual components of Yoga have always been a bit of a leap for me, just as believing in any standardized set of ‘beliefs’ have been. I am skeptical by nature and Yoga is missing a lot of the scientific method for sure, however some of the teachings, some of the ways of being, just resonate with me. They make sense, the way that eating whole foods and exercising makes sense. I don’t need to read the research to fully understand that the ancient so-called myths of balancing the Heart Chakra make my body, my mind, and my life, healthier.
The journey toward this healing began when I read an article on the Heart Chakra. It had an element of airy-fairy-ness (yes, that is a word) to it, yet I couldn’t help but think that parts of it made sense. It said in order to honor your Heart Chakra and to assist in restoring and nurturing it, there were 8 things that may help:
1. Be Green
2. See Green
3. Think Green
4. Be Love
5. Give Love
7. Practice Yoga
Every single one of these made me pause and reflect a bit, but the “Be Love”, really made me stop and think. Digging deeper into what was actually meant by number four on the list, the article went on to say, that the ‘Be Love’ piece was actually loving yourself and not accepting depletion of one’s self in exchange for some sort of perceived greater good. Not being a martyr. Not looking for validation outside of that own self-love. Wow, the ‘aha’ moment, when you realize that the love that you have been consciously surrounding yourself with – and in – all these years may have been being blocked. By. Me.
I thought about one of my favourite quotes, from Eat, Pray, Love:
“If I love you, I will carry for you all your pain, I will assume for you all your debts (in every definition of the word), I will protect you from your own insecurity, I will project upon you all sorts of good qualities that you have never actually cultivated in yourself and I will buy Christmas presents for your entire family. I will give you the sun and the rain, and if they are not available, I will give you a sun check and a rain check. I will give you all this and more, until I get so exhausted and depleted that the only way I can recover my energy is by becoming infatuated with …” (insert activity, thing or person here)
~ Elizabeth Gilbert
This is such a powerful quote for me and one that resonates to the very core of my being. It seems to provide evidence that my “Be Love” piece was highly charged with others’ energy and not so adequately filled with my own. These are hard words to say out loud. Like the main character in Eat, Pray, Love, I was becoming frenetic with other people’s energy, leaving me sapped and longing for more. “I am the planet’s most affectionate life-form (something like a cross between a golden retriever and a barnacle)” (Gilbert) and in recent years I have showered that affection on many people in my life, even when they were less than receptive to it.
Who knew that this journey, into the painfully quiet abyss, toying with loneliness and despair at times, would actually form the catalyst for the giving and receiving of love, in nurturing and sustaining amounts? That my seemingly overflowing heart, full of gratitude and love to all of the wonderful people in my life would get stronger and more grounded by a slow and methodical withdrawal into myself?
Thus the lightness in the dark and the darkness in the light, and now, my Heart Chakra is illuminated (and as always, a work-in-progress) continually dancing between the great comfort in being surrounded with my friends, alongside the growing comfort of being totally enveloped by myself. Who better to spend time with, right?