The heart is the epicenter of the entire chakra system. It’s the core of our being. Therefore, the basic right of the fourth chakra, which is situated in the heart region, is to love and to be loved. By definition the heart is about reaching beyond the self and connecting with others. This energy wheel, which is called Anahata in Sanskrit (which means unstruck), connects the three lower chakras that deal with the external physical with the three above, which are more mental and metaphysical in nature.
“Love is the force that runs our lives. It’s the all-pervasive glue of the universe,” writes Anodea Judith in her book Eastern Body, Western Mind. According to Judith, the fourth chakra deals with initiative versus guilt… love versus rejection… social acceptance and self-acceptance.
When this wheel of energy is balanced we are filled with compassion, empathy, self-love and peacefulness. However, when this center is closed down for business the very heart of us hurts. Our breathing shallows, our physical energy is low and we can develop a myriad of physical ailments since the heart connects us to everything.
Clear the way
Unfortunately, all of us suffer some type of heart blockage. It’s the price of being human. For instance, if you were raised with conditional love then your concept of self-love is warped. And that’s where the development of the heart chakra begins. Losing a loved one, the end of a relationship, betrayal and rejection also affects our heart.
“You’re never done working on your heart. We spend our whole lives making space, forgiving and perfecting the ability to love,” adds Judith who is considered an expert when it comes to the combination of chakras and therapeutic issues.
Is your heart out of balance?
When you have an excessive heart chakra, you become overly focused on the other person’s feelings and as a result you’re out of touch with your own center, explains Judith. You tend to be clingy because of feelings of insecurity. You also find yourself repeatedly asking, do you love me?” In essence, you are co-dependant. And without realizing it you may be driving the other person away. Ask yourself – are you demanding and possessive? Do you need constant reassurance? Have you found yourself in a vicious cycle where your neediness triggers rejection and only deepens your underlying wounds?
Deficiency in the heart is quite the opposite. You’ve erected a huge wall to protect your heart and no one is getting in. Of course, this is a normal response to heartbreak but some of us withdraw for good. If your heart is lacking energy, your heart has become a closed system and you’ve developed a conditional way of loving, says Judith. It’s almost as though you withdraw love as a means to manipulate and get more love. That’s not very loving. Because you’re depleted, you think you can’t afford to open up and give.
To determine whether you have a deficient heart chakra ask yourself these questions: Are you waiting for a knight in shining armor to rescue you? Do you want someone to fix the hurt you have inside? Are you dwelling on your old relationship – like Miles in the film Sideways — simply because it’s a time when you felt loved? Do you feel stuck in anger and have a hard time forgiving?
How to heal your heart
The heart is associated with the element of air. “For that reason, breath is an excellent way to expand the capacity in your heart,” says Judith. You can do this through yoga especially Anusara and Kundalini. Judith also suggests an easy breathing meditation: Inhale divine love from the universe and exhale love to the world.
Affirmations are another way to get the energy flowing. Some examples include:
“I am worthy of love.”
“I trust in the power of love.”
“I am loving to others and myself.”
Write them down on a green piece of paper (the color associated with the heart chakra) and put them up where you can easily see them. Practice is important, and can be likened to doing exercise. They work if you work them!
Forgiveness is the ultimate step toward healing. Make a list of things that you have not forgiven yourself for. This may involve making amends. Try to understand why you have acted the way you did. Imagine how you would react if you saw someone else do the same thing. Judith suggests saying these words to yourself: “I forgive you. You were just trying to…”
The next step, which is more difficult, is to forgive others. From a psychological point of view you have to work through your grief. Really delve into those feelings and feel them. And then in your own time try to let them go.
“To heal the heart is to reunite mind and body, the mystical and mundane, self and other into an integrated whole,” concludes Judith.
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