Chakras are depicted as colourful circles of energy to show where their vibrational frequency resides.
The fourth chakra is the heart chakra, also known as the anahata chakra, meaning unstruck, unhurt or unbeaten. It is situated in the middle of the seven chakras and is located at the centre of the chest and is ruled by the planet Venus, the planet associated with love.
It is the yang chakra, a positive energy that takes on the role of balancing the lower three chakras with the upper three chakras.
The heart chakra governs how we see ourselves, our relationships and other people, all creatures and the surrounding world.
The heart chakra is also where unconditional love is centred. Unconditional love is when we love without criticism or placing any expectations or judgements on others. We see all darkness and light and we use understanding and compassion to enable us to continue to love regardless.
The heart chakra is represented by a lotus and the 12 petals signify elements of humanity: lust, fraud, indecision, hope, anxiety, longing, impartiality, arrogance, incompetence, discrimination and defiance. The petals are obstacles that we have to acknowledge, understand and work through so that we can pass them to reach a place of divine, fearless unconditional love.
Wounds that are filled with our deepest insecurities and fears reside in the heart chakra. Anything that has caused us emotional pain can get stored in this area and if we do not clear it, it can then become a blockage that prevents love from flowing freely. We will be out of touch with our feelings and struggle to give love or to receive it.
When we are holding onto pain we are unable to feel anything fully and we have a deep fear of being vulnerable because we feel this will expose our scars and make us unlovable. We build up walls and protect ourselves from love rather than opening up and letting the pain out and healing energy and love to enter in its place.
Despair, loss, extreme highs and lows, separation, panic, fear and numbness are all psychological stages that are associated with an overactive heart chakra. We will be manipulative, irritable, controlling, jealous, inconsiderate unforgiving and the love we give will be dependent on whether the other person abides by the numerous conditions we set out.
If the heart chakra is overactive we will have no sense of self, feel unworthy, untrusting, guarded, defensive and negative towards the people and the world around us.
When our heart chakra is balanced we lose attachments to external possessions, become unselfish, trust ourselves and others, attain peace, wisdom, patience and we find emotionally stability. Our morals and ethics are at a high standard, we are in tune with our conscience and our intentions are centred helping us to stay on track so our lives head in the right direction.
We are also able to make decisions based on our heart and feelings outside the realm of karma. By following the heart instead of allowing unfulfilled emotions and irrational desires to interfere we are operating from our higher self so that we are not bound to the laws of karma.
Before we can even begin to offer anyone else profound and absolute love we have to first fully accept and unconditionally love ourselves.
“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” ~ Oscar Wilde
We can begin to heal the heart simply by forgiving ourselves for all of our flaws, imperfections and errors. When we let go of the weight that we have been carrying around with us we are free to live the life that feels right for us today, not tied into a past that is draining us. We can then begin living aligned to what we are passionate about and allowing the heart to lead the way, without allowing anxiety and fear to intervene.
The heart chakra is associated with the colour green, which is a healing colour. The element of the heart chakra is air, so by simply spending a lot of time outdoors and with nature we can allow the colours around us to balance and harmonise our energy, whilst we benefit from the flow of the wind. This is why often just by lying down on grass we instantly feel calmer and more at peace.
If we are indoors green lighting or décor can have a soothing effect on the heart, which can help us feel at ease, or we can just close our eyes and visualise the colour in our mind.
There are many crystals and gems that can also help to balance the heart chakra. Green and pink stones are the two most powerful colours to enhance healing and to stimulate the heart chakra. Choose from Agate, Adventurine (green) Alexandrite, Beryl (pink), Bloodstone (green), Calcite (green), Celestite, Coral (pink), Danburite, Diamonds, Emerald (green), Garnet (green), Gold, Kunzite (pink), Malachite, Moonstone, Quartz (rose pink), Tourmaline.
Breathing exercises also help to clear the heart chakra, as again, this chakra is associated with the element of air. Sitting in an upright position we inhale deeply through the nose feeling the belly area expand and then hold for approximately five seconds. As we inhale we should feel the chest expanding slightly as this allows the heart chakra to open up. Whilst we are pausing the universal energy stored in our lungs can begin to rejuvenate and recharge the circulatory system. We can then exhale slowly through the mouth before pausing for a few seconds and then repeating. Deep breathing allows the flow of energy (prana) to move around the body and helps to relieve any tension surrounding the heart area.
The Metta mediation is a Buddhist practice that is used to assist the opening of the heart chakra and allows for unconditional love to occur by simply cultivating loving and kindness through our thoughts and feelings.
Sitting or lying comfortably, we relax the whole body and allow any thoughts to come and go until the mind slows down. Then we can either think of a mantra or phrase to repeat in our minds, such as, “May all beings be happy,” or we can visualise a place where we feel happy and content to stir up a good feeling.
As we stay in this calm setting we will begin to feel the sensations of good feelings ripple through our body and minds. The more positivity we place into our minds, the stronger our bodies will respond to the thoughts. During the mediation with each deep breath we inhale good thoughts and positive feelings and exhale any negative ones.
Once the meditation is complete we can keep hold of the good thoughts and feelings and pass them on to those around us through acceptance, forgiveness and unconditional love.
“Remember in our inmost being, we are all completely lovable because spirit is love. Beyond what anyone can make you think of feel about yourself, your unconditional spirit stands shining with a love that nothing can tarnish.”
~ Deepak Chopra
Author: Alex Myles
Editor: Travis May
Photo: Flickr/Beth Phillips