“What is this life flowing in our bodies like fire? What is it? Life is like a hot iron ready to pour. Choose the mold and life will burn it.”
Happy October! We have officially arrived at the third chakra energy point, the solar plexus.
If the root chakra is all about stability, survival and unity, and the second chakra introduces duality, choice, emotions and sexuality, the third chakra then brings in the concepts of power and will.
Power, both internal and external, is expressed through energy. The element of the third chakra is fire. Earth and water (the elements of the first and second chakras) are heavy, cool and flow downward. Fire is weightless, hot and dances upward. The fire of our will propels our movement and helps us overcome inertia to enact change.
The third chakra is located above the navel, at the solar plexus. Its external representative in nature is the Sun. It is active with much “yang” energy (as opposed to yin). Cardiovascular exercise like jogging or vigorous dancing is great for the third chakra, as are core strengtheners like boat pose and Pilates.
Wheels of Life author and chakra expert Anothea Judith believes that our society as a whole is currently at the third chakra level of being, because we are so focused on the issues of power, authority, control, freedom, free will.
When will be break through to the next level, the heart?
Like most Americans, I often live as if I am in control over my own life and destiny. It’s true, I am in control of what I choose to focus on, how I choose to respond to situations, the decisions I make in my personal life. At the same time, we all know that at the end of life comes death, for everyone, and yet we do not know when or how death will come.
In order to forget this ultimate fact, we will do just about anything to maintain an illusion of control.
A lot of things have happened in my personal life this year. In January, I had a baby. In July, I married to her father. On our honeymoon, she came down with a fever and ended up needing to be hospitalized while we were traveling in Colombia. Thankfully, she recuperated in a few days with the help of Western medicine.
I, on the other hand, was on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
The normally solid-seeming fabric of my day to day life was coming unraveled. If one thing was clear, it was that I had no control. I had to trust the universe and Life with a capital L. I had to sit still and let it unfold.
Only I couldn’t always sit still. I sought a feeling of personal control and power, however temporary. I sought this feeling in a variety of ways. I found myself compelled to shop (which I normally don’t like to do). I bought souvenirs, new shoes and clothes, flashy earrings. One day, I decided to eat chicken for lunch even though I am usually contentedly vegetarian. Another, I decided to have my hair drastically cut. The last night I spent in the hospital with the baby, I smoked a joint, blowing it out the window of my private bathroom.
I had a palpable need to feel powerful and in control. I shopped, ate meat, changed my appearance, smoked, not as a diversion but because I needed to act out and do things that give me a semblance of relaxation and control.
This grasping for the impossible (total control) is the root of addiction. And, as Buddhist teacher Pema Chodron writes, “We all know what addiction is. We are primarily addicted to me.”
In order to uproot our addictions and balance our third chakras, we need to let go of the clinging to a sense of control. This is a lifelong practice. This is a daily practice.
May your month be full of sunshine (if not heat); free will; powerful, compassionate choices; warmth and communal fires.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise