Now let’s talk more about you and your sense of power. We begin by defining that word to mean not power over something or someone, but a return to an innate sense of strength, of will, of esteem and in that, a remembering of our own sacredness. It is interesting to note that the third chakra is located in the softest part of the torso, where there are no bones in front of the solar plexus to hold the human body upright. Hence, the only thing to hold us vertical, our chakras aligned on top of each other, is an act of will from the energetic source of the body. Conversely, when self-esteem is low, when the will is broken, when we are tired, and have no vitality, then this area of the body collapses (Anodea Judith, 1996). So how vital are you, dear warrior? How much enthusiasm do you have for life? How much enjoyment do you take in? Are you often spontaneously playful? Do you have a strong will? And if so, do you use it constructively or destructively? These are all key questions for our third chakra.
This chakra puts the psyche in motion. It is the first dynamic chakra after the first two, which are more instinctual and tend to follow the path of least resistance. But eventually, at a point in our life, we are asked to leave passivity and tradition behind, to take charge of our destiny, make things happen by engaging our personal will and in the process, individuate, laying the foundations for our self esteem. This means risking being judged, disapproved of, possibly rejected, and believing in ourselves anyway. It also means breaking away from the ways we have let ourselves be defined by parents, peers, culture and instead, begin to define ourselves. In other words, take our power back.
Hence, the development of a healthy sense of self is built upon the maturity of the two chakras underneath it. Only when we feel safe in the world, in taking up space on the planet, and feel vital in our physical body (chakra one), can we draw healthy boundaries in our relationships (chakra two). And only as much as we relate to our world and the people around us in a mutually respectful and nourishing way, do we then begin to taste who we are and what we are capable of. Yet, just like stones are polished by the flow of the river to emerge as crystals, our personal power evolves through challenge and difficulty. Just like muscle is built through effort and by using weights, our power needs leverage too, it needs to push against all the experiences that life throws our way. Instead of shying away from the unknown or the too hard, we need to confront, act, even fight for what we stand for, and above all, do so with the third chakra.
There is a great quote from the Brihadaramyaka Upanishad (IV.4.5) that says:
“ You are what your deep driving desire is. As your desire is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny.”
A great maturity is needed to recognise which urges to act upon and which ones to control. In order to have conscious choice, we need a mind that is clear and that can discriminate between the various impulses of the lower chakras, which ones are the result of our conditioning and which ones belong truly to our soul’s highest expression?
Lisa Romero is a wealth of wisdom in Waldorf Education, following the tradition of Rudolf Steiner and a wonderful presenter. In her talk about and to teenagers, she talks openly about the blooming range of emotions and sensations related to desire and sexuality (the development of chakra two). She teaches 13-year-old boys: “when you are around the same girls you have been around with for years now, but suddenly, you are feeling what you are feeling, and thinking what you are thinking, ask yourself: ‘is that my will talking or my willie?’ And consider: what is it that you are seeking to create with your thoughts and actions?”
There are in fact, many adults in the world today that would have benefitted from that same chat. As human beings, we need to know that there is a consciousness in us that has choice over our actions, even our thoughts. After all, that is the point of Mindfulness Meditation, taking the world by storm. We all have a will that needs to be engaged and aligned with the highest wisdom in our heart chakra. And the heart, in turn, needs to be collaborating with the sacrum, to create the life we would like to lead, to unfold our unique destiny. We can no longer afford, in this new world, to have our sexuality divorced from our soul.
So meditation is essential on the path of warriors. It bears many fruits that nourish the third chakra. One of them is overcoming the fear of making mistakes when we begin to steer our ship towards self-realization. We need to learn from our own experience in order to reprogram our living cells from the memory of our ancestors. And we need to know that we can fail and survive, fail and still be loved–first and foremost, by ourselves. For how can we transform and be autonomous if we are not accountable to ourselves? Anodea Judith, in her book Eastern Body, Western Mind, (Celestial Arts Publishing, 1996), puts it beautifully: “only when we take responsibility can we really make change. If it is someone else’s fault, we can only wait for them to change. We might wait forever.”
She adds: “ I have seldom found much correlation between high self-esteem and accomplishment. Often the people with successful careers, extraordinary looks, or loads of money had the lowest self-esteem. Those with healthier self-esteem seem to be the ones with fewer expectations and more permission to simply live. Those who treated themselves well, took care of their bodies, were connected to their feelings, and allowed themselves pleasure had higher esteem because they felt better”. Feeling full, they felt confident. They had energy. Their sense of self was less defined by external accomplishments because there was a presence inside.”
So I leave you, dear warrior, with this last question for you to reflect upon before we delve into the depths of the heart chakra: how do you define your Self? For you need to have a self before you can surrender it… Till we meet again in Anahata, the third chakra.