“Be universal in your love. You will see the universe to be the picture of your own being.” –Sri Chinmoy
Many people consider the heart chakra the most important, but I caution against assigning supreme value to any single one. The reason is that all of the chakras work together; when one is unbalanced, they all tend to tilt.
Anahata governs our physical heart and lungs and is essential to vitality and the spiritual nourishment of love. When we ground ourselves in the love aspect we give our lives purpose and meaning. The ability to receive love is, for many people, as difficult as (or more so) than giving it. In keeping with the theme of balance and unity, we cannot fully give love until we can allow ourselves to receive it.
Heart Chakra, or, Anahata
Gemstones: Rose quartz, diamond, peridot
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, gateways to understanding levels of higher consciousness. Anahata (or “unstruck”) is said to be the center of love and Selfhood. In this context, “selfhood” does not connote selfie’s, or the billion-dollar self-help industry; nor does it connote egotism and its ugly cousins, vanity and narcissism. What it means is Unity, not universe+1. It is not interconnection; it is “I am One with the universe because I AM the universe.” There is no True separation between you and me and they, all of us, in our natural state, are Love and Unity. That, my friends, is Anahata, and the further we veer from that concept; the further we stroll down the dualistic road of separateness, the more of an imbalance we create in our heart chakra. So, Selfhood is not you, it is You as in OM, or, the Universal nature of Love. It is a concept that is made clear through feeling and experience, rather than explanation and logical discourse. After all, how does one describe the feeling of love in any accurate way? We can show love and feel love, but when we try to describe love the limitations of language cause us to fall short.
Anahata is not mere attraction, infatuation, or a passing crush; it is lasting love that transcends sex and romance and fear of loss. Lasting love does not mean co-dependence or jealous possession; it means a feeling of joy that remains in the heart forever, qualities like peace, unity, brotherhood and sisterhood. It is a love of life and an interest in the sacredness of all thing. Because unity is fundamental to the heart chakra (and all of the chakras) each must be balanced. Without embracing the fundamental truth of Personal Power offered by the Solar Plexus chakra, the Heart Chakra will not function properly, and so on.
Gentleness is at the core of this chakra so it comes as no surprise that the animal most often associated with it is the deer.
Archetypes of Heart Chakra
Positive: The Lover
Her love unites those is all-inclusive and unite others. She is not withholding; she shares her love with everyone – the mosquito, the dog, the neighbor next door. She appreciates the sacredness in all life, small and large, and sees herself in all things. She knows that to love is to live fully and appreciates and honors the Is-ness in each being.
Negative: The Actor/Actress
Her love is conditional, shrouded in expectations over what is proper to love and what is not proper to love. Hers is a selective love, an inconsistent love, a love of trends and fads and fashions. When the object of her “love” does not meet her expectations, her love is withheld. She loves in a framework of judgment, limitations, critique and imitation. Her love is based on status rather sacredness, on egoism rather than unity. Her love is not Love, but a performance that serves her notion of how she wishes others to perceive her.
Working with Hearth Chakra / Anahata
- Let go of the past and forgive those who may have hurt you. Grudge-holding serves no one, but ruminating over pain, loss, and abuse will inevitably lead to depression, unchecked anger, or worse. You cannot change the past, but you can let it go. It will not be easy, but it will be worthwhile. The past is what it is; let it stay that way. Acknowledge the lessons you’ve learned from your past (without overthinking, without ruminating) and move forward by cherishing the present moment and allowing yourself to love life. You owe it to yourself to do this – take the first step. The point of power is in the present and it is only from within the present moment that you can create love.
- Mindfulness or Guided Meditation. There are many excellent guided meditation videos on YouTube and I urge you to find one that works for you. For a beginner’s video on mindfulness meditation please go here. For detailed guidance on a mindfulness meditation practice, consider the classic book by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, Mindfulness in Plain English.
- Love opens and heals me.
- I choose to be united with all beings, visible and invisible, in the realm of love and light
- Joy is my reason for living.
- I look for the joy in myself and see it in all tings.
- I am worthy of love.
- There is an infinite supply of love.
- I live in balance with others.
- I am loving to myself and to others.
- Metta Practice (loving kindness meditation). This can be performed in the morning when you first wake, during the day, or at night before you fall asleep. Wherever the place and whatever the time, it is incredibly beneficial in shifting energy toward unity and love. The idea is to start small and move outward. A summary is below, but for a more detailed look at metta practice please click here.
- Assume your preferred meditation posture and location. Steady your breathing.
- Repeat the following (or a version that you can easily remember): May I be free from harm, May I be safe, May I be free from suffering, May I be happy, May I be healthy and strong, May I live in this world happily, peacefully, joyfully, and with ease.
- Repeat the phrases above, but substitute “May I” with the name of someone who inspires unconditional love. This should be someone you look up to and admire, i.e. parent, grandparent, teacher, mentor, etc. For example, “May mother be free from. . .”.
- Repeat phrases by substituting “May I” with the name of someone you consider a dear friend. For example, “May J-Jo be free from…”
- Repeat phrases by substituting “May I” with the name of someone about whom you feel neutral, i.e. your postman, the cashier at the grocery, the barrista at Starbucks, etc.
- Repeat phrases by substituting “May I” with the name of someone with whom you have difficulty, i.e. your boss, a coworker, your nosey neighbor, etc.
- Move outward by saying “May all beings in the air, on land, and in the water be safe, happy, healthy, and free from suffering.”
- End the meditation by saying, “May all living beings everywhere, on all planes of existence, known and unknown, be happy, be peaceful, be free from suffering.”
Special Dedication: This post is dedicated to J-Jo, a dear friend of mine who, at age 41, has allowed her Anahata to finally blossom.
Dear friends, thank you for reading and, as always, take what works for you and leave the rest behind. Be the journey.
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