The mind/body connection: balance and empathy in the fourth chakra
by Nancy B. Loughlin
Published in News Press on June 25, 2013. Posted with permission.
The heart, chest, upper back, arms and hands are the home of anahata chakra. This chakra is the center integrating the solid matter of the lower realms with the spiritual of the upper.
This integration is the key.
People with anahata imbalances are trapped in the conundrum of duality. The reality is often me/you, Republican/Democrat, guilty/innocent and right/wrong.
Nothing positive comes from this. The greatest happiness in life is when we recognize we are subsumed in the universe’s humming whole. There is no us/them.
The best way to determine if you could benefit from anahata cleansing and alignment is to look at your relationships.
Are you clingy and needy or closed off and withdrawn? Is your love and friendship pattern conditional in that you will reject others if they do not conform to your expectations? Are you guarded out of fear of pain, ridicule or rejection? Do you believe that when you are hurt, it is because of others’ nefarious plotting?
How often do you get into political arguments? Do you call people idiots?
As you develop a balanced heart chakra, it’s important to remember that everything is a relationship, not just with other people, but with our jobs, money, homes and possessions that fill them, our environment, and bodies.
Be honest when you ask yourself, “Is love for all my guiding motivation in all these relationships?”
Mercy bears richer fruits than justice because empathy is the driving force; justice, insisting that you know what others deserve for their sins, festers in duality. It’s impossible to wish another ill when you know his story. When you start screaming at the driver who cut you off, say, “Stop!” and reflect on how often you have made a similar move.
The breath is the anahata guiding element. It reintegrates you with others. Invite balance with equal-part breath. As you meditate, breathe in for nine, hold for nine, and exhale for nine. Alternate-nostril breathing, pinching one nostril then the other for the same equal counts, invites a balance in the right and left sides of the brain and body.
After pranayama practice, open your heart. Hold eagle-arm pose while seated at your desk, elbows and wrists crossed with your upper arms parallel to the floor. Switch sides. Drop your straight arms behind you, interlace your fingers, and roll your shoulders back and down. Forward fold. Finish practice by lying on a bolster or with a block between your shoulder blades. Visualize or wear green; chant YAM. Stretch your hands from fists to inviting palms.
Learning to love, really love, is challenging, but it won’t be as hard as you think.