Working With Solar Plexus (Manipura) Chakra

“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” – Joseph Campbell

solar_plexus_chakra

It seems fitting to discuss the Solar Plexus Chakra today since tonight is the first Full Moon of the planetary New Year. The planetary New Year began on July 26th and marked the opening of the Lion’s Gate. For more on the Lion’s Gate click here for a “fun overview” or here for a summary with a side of history. (Note: Lest my Leo Sun Sign friends go giddy over this news, keep in mind that the Ascendant is typically a more accurate “read” of your disposition than the sun sign. There are several mathematical concerns associated with how we calculate Sun Signs in our modern era, namely, the astrophysical reality that “modern” calculations are about twenty or so days off, so tread lightly. I suggest investing time in obtaining a Natal Chart interpretation, especially focusing on the Ascendant and 12 Houses, rather than relying on the meaningless stock drivel offered by many newspaper back pages and fandom quick-fix websites.) But I digress.

Part of the power of this planetary cycle comes with a resonance between crown, heart, and solar plexus and since an alignment between Sirius and the galactic center occurs on August 8th, I will revisit this convergence once we’ve discussed each of the seven major chakras. So, here goes on the Solar Plexus front!

Solar Plexus, or, Manipura

Color: Yellow

Gemstones: Citrine, Amber, Topaz

The chakra’s themselves are energy centers that distribute prana (life force). Both the yogi Patanjali and Siddhartha Gautama (later known as Buddha) viewed physical sensations as sources of mindfulness and, as such, pathways to understanding levels of higher consciousness. Manipura (or “lustrous jewel”) is said to be the center of personal identity, specifically, the ruler of our personality and sense of self-esteem, self-worth, and self-confidence.

Self-worth, however, is the chief quality of Manipura and with this our concept of the True Self. It is from this chakra that the phrase “gut feeling” derives. We can all point to examples where situations were presented to us and we felt a tug, nudge, or in some cases, an outright punch in our gut. That feeling was a message from Solar Plexus and I suspect that when the punch occurred, many of us ignored it and carried on with our task or situation that, most likely, resulted in disharmony, fear, depression, stagnation, or a feeling of emptiness or notion of lost centeredness. That, my friends, was evidence that you were going against the True Self that Manipura represents.

One of the most popular of Shakespeare’s lines comes from Hamlet, “To thine ownself be true.” Said another way, the Greek γνῶθι σεαυτόν, or “Know Thyself” was the inscription above the Temple of Apollo at Delphi in Ancient Greece. Indeed, “Know Thyself” was the maxim that every seeker who entered to consult the Oracle was encouraged to do, first and foremost. To know thyself is to listen to Manipura, the seat of identity and personal Truth. This is the part of us that is always whole and intact, regardless of how far we steer from the True path. We can always return, though sadly many people do not; we can always reset and rebalance Manipura but, as with most things, it requires work.

The purpose of Manipura is transformation and, as we know, transformation typically does not occur overnight. Most websites and books by Western authors associate the word “ego” with Manipura, going so far as to claim that Ego Identity is the nexus of the solar plexus chakra. I refrain from using the word “ego” simply because, with it, comes many negative connotations, namely, an assumption of self-absorption, narcissism, not to mention the Freudian psychosocial residue that is the antithesis of what Indian Yogic Philosophy intended when they articulated the Chakra system.   Freud’s intention when using the word “ego”, in fact, was to denote the thinking mind: “We have formed the idea that in each individual there is a coherent organization of mental processes; and we call this his ego. It is to this ego that consciousness is attached” (Freud, 1923). Rather than embrace the bastardized and misused definition of “ego” that is common to laypersons (the term ‘ego’ is rampantly misused by many who also ought to know better), it is best to banish the word when discussing the Manipura and, instead, use the more appropriate phrase, Place of Personal Power, or, if you like, The Intuitive Truth Compass.

So what does it mean? It means that only You can know yourself; only You can find your Truth. For those who feel the sickening gut twitch as they drive to a job they hate each day, it means the Manipura is out of balance and requires work toward realignment. The gut tug is a sign from Manipura that you are not being true to yourself, that, on some level, you realize this but out of fear, social expectation, or conditioning, you keep moving farther and farther from your Place of Personal Power. There is always a way back to the Truth of You, however.

solar-plexus-chakra-mark-preston

Archetypes of Sacral Chakra

Positive: The Warrior.  Someone empowered who knows who they are in relation to the world. Their sense of self is balanced and they have the fortitude to see their Truth and the strength to help it materialize.

Negative: The Servant.  Someone whose personal identity is attached to the external world and who constantly seeks validation from others. They suppress their personal power in favor of expectation, and an often-misinterpreted idea of “duty”. They give so much of themselves to what they have been conditioned to think is “success” or “approval” that they feel empty, depressed, hopeless, stuck and deflated.

Working with Solar Plexus / Manipura

  1. Let go of your attachment to being safe. Certainly, basic survival aspects related to safety are essential, but by letting go of attachment I mean that you need to allow yourself to take risks. If we remove ourselves from risk then we are also removing ourselves from opportunity for growth and insight. All things interconnect and the idea of safety to risk is no exception. This does not mean that you should quit your job and move to the mountains to live like an ascetic; it means that you should acknowledge that the world is not a safe place. It also means that you should be willing to take risks, small ones at first (perhaps trying a new dish at a restaurant or taking an alternate route to work). Baby step your way toward freedom and, in this context, freedom means releasing your attachment to safety.
  2. Make a list. Make a list of goals and intentions and sub-bullet those goal entries with steps you will take to bring them into reality. For example, if you want to find a job that resonates more with Who you Are, you first need to KNOW who you are. You might plan to do some research into industries that you think align with your core values. You might then determine what additional training, if any, you require in order to be competitive in that industry. You get the point. The idea is to take small action steps toward realizing your goal. If at any time during the list process you feel the gut tug, then listen to it, perhaps you need to adjust the approach.
  3. Affirmations.solarplexus-affirmations
    • I am worthy of the life I say I want
    • I am confident in my ability to make my life work.
    • I choose the power of life.
    • I honor the power within me.
    • I can do whatever I will to do.
    • I accomplish tasks easily and effortlessly.
  4. Traditional Meditation and/or Guided Meditation. There are many excellent guided meditation videos on YouTube and I urge you to find one that works for you.
  5. Journal or Art Approaches. Assume the identity of Warrior vs. Victim and create a dialog between the two similar to automatic writing (or, if you prefer, Jungian Active Imagination). For those who are inclined toward the visual arts, meditate on the Solar Plexus chakra and allow yourself to paint, sketch, collage, whatever your medium, while focusing on the vibrant yellow that composes Manipura.
  6. Reflection Questions: Ask yourself these things and, if you like, write responses to them in your journal.
    • How can I create a sense of myself and let others know who I really am?
    • What are my talents and gifts?
    • How do I define character and integrity in others? In myself?
    • Reasons why I am worth of the life that I want.
    • Is following the crowd (expectations, etc.) limiting me from discovering my True Self? Why or why not?

Thank you for reading and, as always, take what works for you and leave the rest behind. Please, don’t take my word for it; go see for yourself.   Be the journey.

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About Lightning Heart

Nomad. Poet. Philosopher. Teacher. View all posts by Lightning Heart

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