Overview of Throat Chakra (Vishuddha)
Without the rootedness of Muladhara (root chakra) to bring patience and a feeling of Self security, there would be no wholeness that invites us to open to the Sacral chakra realization of “Who I am is enough.” It is only through the acceptance found in working with Sacral that the inner knowing and intuition of Solar Plexus can grow, leading us to the flowering of the Heart Chakra, where opening and love and universality blossom. All of these must be in balance before we can attune with and fully allow the resonance of the higher chakras: Throat, Brow, and Crown.
Throat is considered the gateway to higher spiritual realms and is thought to be the point from which humans are differentiated from all other earthly life forms. Humans have the capacity of speech, and despite the gross misinterpretations endemic within lingual constructs, the ability to communicate in this manner is unique to our species. Granted, arguments can be made for the communicative abilities of dolphins, whales, or primates that cite a human inability to recognize speech based communications in other species, but that is a topic outside the scope of this post. For the sake of simplicity we will assume in this post that humans, at least in the context of complex vocal-chord based speech, stand apart from our fellow planet mates.
Vishuddha is referred to in some teachings as “the mouth of God” and this notion, at least in a Judeo-Christian context, may come from the Kabbalistic association of the position of the throat with the medulla oblongata (portion of the brain housed near the base of the skull). This base point, in Kabbala, is named sefirah Daat, or, “knowledge” and bridges the gap between the seven lower sefirot and the three higher sefirot. It is not always wise to engage in a comparative religion discussion since the Judeo-Christian tradition is, in many ways, diametrically counter to many of the spiritual philosophies that emerged from India (Buddhism, Hinduism, Samkhya, to name just a few), but acknowledging similarities can, if done mindfully, show a theme of consensus in many ways. Chakra work is no exception. So, find the points of similarity if you must, but, by all means, apply them mindfully, with truth, and always in appreciation of the context from which they sprang. It is best to see things as they are; see them with eyes and minds that are free from the layers of socio-religious conditioning, but this takes a good deal of work and you must diligently apply yourself before you taste the delight that comes with freeing your mind! As always, I invite you to free your mind at Total Prana. Be the journey.
Now to the application side of working with Vishuddha!
Throat Chakra, or, Vishuddha (literally translated as ‘purification’)
Gemstones: Turquoise, blue agate, aquamarine
Basic aspects affiliated with Throat Chakra include symbolic thinking, etheric body, The Voice, creativity, communication, truth and lies. Throat can close due to physical or emotional injury or abuse and is compromised through gossip, lies, and dishonesty. All forms of substance abuse negatively impact Throat Chakra (smoking, recreational drugs, alcohol, overeating) and cause disruption of energy flow toward Brow and Crown, thereby decreasing the will and preventing us from realizing our vitality. The most damage is done to Throat Chakra when we fail to express our Truth due to fear of being shunned, ostracized, and looked down upon. This chakra affects the quality of our communication as it is linked to our personal integrity.
Archetypes of Throat Chakra
Positive: Communicator of Truth
She shares truth to the best of her ability in right speech, right intention, and right timing. When something does not resonate with her, she has the courage to say so, to say NO, or to choose another path. She does not accept work or relationships that do not resonate with her Truth and she masters fear of change to realize that without living and speaking her Truth she will not progress. Although her path may be unconventional at times, she lives it, speaks it, and embraces it, realizing that it is her path, her Truth, her journey, and she does this, as always, with right speech, right intention, and right timing.
Negative: The Silent One
She accepts things that do not resonate with her; she will not say ‘no’ for fear of risking popularity or hurting others; she fears following and speaking her personal Truth and lives in a cocoon of pain, depression, misery, and silence, often prone to drug abuse/use, alcoholism, food issues, or other outlets that lead to deeper Throat blockages. She hides her feelings from others and if she does speak them, she does so inappropriately, without gentleness, and her feelings and words are often misunderstood because she has suppressed them so long that the thread between her Higher Truth and her outward appearance has unraveled. She says yes when she means no and she does this from a place of fear, guilt, and a misguided obligation that harms no one but herself.
Working with Vishuddha:
- Writing, Drawing. This is a seminal and transcendent form of communication, most importantly, a private form that will help you (re)discover your voice. The idea is not to write a novel or write for the purpose of publication, but only to write. Write without expectations, intention, or preconceived notions of what constitutes “good writing” or “bad writing”. Just write. Write poetry, engage in Active Imagination, write a piece where you Name your Fears and talk to them. Or draw, draw pictures of your fears and name them, draw pictures of sacred things, of guides and images and symbols that you consider powerful and empowered. You may draw images or caricatures of your fears, name them, and make cartoon bubble spoofs above their heads so you can see them in the harmless, absurb, and irrational light that they deserve. Whatever your venue, whether art or writing, put pen to paper (or paint, pencil, collage) and let your Voice express its Truth.
Note: I shared this notion with a work colleague last week that has a fear of rejection. Her fear of rejection is so pronounced that she will not submit her poetry for publication (and it’s good poetry!). I advised her to name the fear, give it a face and a voice and talk to it. She did this, made it sound like her mother-in-law (haha), named it Rejectiva, and said her next step was to purchase a cheap doll (“a voodoo doll thing,” she said) and hang that doll in her office, above her workspace, and whenever it spoke she would look at it and realize that, after all, it’s just a doll. By naming the fear and creating a story for it, she reclaimed some of her personal power.
- Chant or Sing. Whatever the choice, use your voice; make up poetry on the spot, entertain your cat or dog or spouse. If you’re so inclined, try chanting the Prajna Paramita (the Heart Sutra, one of the most important of all Buddhist chants). Here is a video for the English version, along with a script of the words here. Or, simply sit in meditation pose and chant Om Mani Padme Hum; perhaps, just OM. Find a way to exercise your voice and although this is a literal exercise it will have symbolic significance as well in terms of healing the Throat chakra. The intent is to free your voice and shed old patterns of fear-based thinking. It doesn’t really matter what you chant, pick a word or phrase that resonates with you and chant or sing it. Renowned Zen Master Seung Sahn was once asked whether it mattered if the Sino-Korean or Sanskrit was mispronounced during chants. His response was, “Taoist chanting, Confucian chanting, Christian chanting, Buddhist chanting don’t matter. Chanting Coca Cola, Coca Cola, Coca Cola … can be just as good if you keep a clear mind. But if you don’t keep a clear mind, and are only following your thinking as you mouth the words, even the Buddha cannot help you.” Pick a word you like. Chant it. Free your mind.
- I live in my Truth
- I express my love and goodness each time I speak.
- I express myself with clear intent.
- Creativity flows in and through me.
- My voice is necessary.
- I listen to the truth of others and I share my truth openly and honestly.
- I develop strength and will each time I meet a life challenge.
- I listen to the truth my inner voice.
On a personal note, I’ve been working with Vishuddha for many months now and am always amazed at how each chakra informs and feeds into the next. Up until a few years ago, I was in a job, indeed a lifestyle, that did not resonate with me; I felt trapped, drained, depressed, and a litany of other negative emotions. I made the decision in 2012 to pursue my Truth, rather, to devote time to discovering my truth, and in Spring 2013 I left my lucrative corporate job and moved to a secluded cabin in the hills. I’m writing this post from that cabin and it is only this year that I was brave enough to formally “come out” with my work in transpersonal psychology. Transpersonal psychology is not a conventional field and is often shunned by reductionist “mainstream” practitioners in much the same way as parapsychology. The creation of the Total Prana blog was one step in my Truth-speaking and, over the past few months, I’ve openly spoken about my research interests to prospective employers. It is not an easy Truth to tell, but it is my Truth and one that I am prepared to embrace. I am ready now to re-emerge into “the world” and let my true voice be heard, but this time it will on a path that resonates with me. I wish all of you good fortune on your own journeys.
There will be those who fall away from you when your Truth is spoken, but for each one who leaves, another will appear who appreciates, accepts, and resonates with your personal Truth. I have learned this from personal experience. I abide by it and because of this my voice has strengthened, my prospects have increased, and my life enriched. Truth-speaking and Truth-living is not easy, at least not at first; but, the more you speak and live it, the more evidence you will see of Higher Self (call it what you will) in your life.
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