All Chakras Are Sacred
Most of us are familiar with the concept and idea of the chakra system; the (usually) seven energy centers of the body, which correspond with a physical endocrine organ or system in the body, or an organ that secretes body and mood altering hormones (for instance, the throat chakra is linked with the thyroid gland). But as spiritual seekers, a lot of us tend to view the upper three chakras as more important, and discredit the value of the lower three, seeing the body as more a vehicle for experiencing the spiritual, and therefore, of less value and importance. But I really feel that this idea and viewpoint couldn't be more wrong!
While it's certainly true that the upper three chakras are more closely linked with the ideas that we associate as having something to do with the divine or our spiritual experiences, it's also true that if it weren't for our physical bodies, we wouldn't be able to have these spiritual experiences and feelings in the first place. Our bodies give us the vehicle for living life, for feeling emotions, interpreting our worlds, manipulating our environment, and expressing ourselves. And its the ignoring of our bodies that makes deep and profound spiritual experiences harder and harder to have. Our bodies give us ways to interpret our spiritual experiences that make the whole thing more meaningful, like orgasms and other forms of physical pleasure, hormones that literally increase our feelings of joy and excitement, and a mind that allows us to find a multitude of creative ways to express how we feel.
Throughout our lives various chakras will go in and out of balance, based on what we are experiencing, and it's important that we pay attention to the ways that our bodies are communicating these imbalances. Our bodies give us clues as to what is wrong by manifesting as physical or emotional symptoms, with everything from decreased sex drive to full blown infections in our throat, or diminishing physical function in certain areas of our body. What can feel like a medical crisis may actually be a spiritual crisis, but we just aren't making the connection.
Back in 2013, I experienced a year of illness, most of which manifested itself in my throat. I had multiple illnesses that manifest themselves in my throat, everything from strep throat, to bronchitis and tonsillitis, as well as plain old viruses that would get stuck there and wouldn't budge for days, or even weeks in one case. No matter how much I tried to slow myself down, eat well, and get rest, I kept on getting sick. Medical doctors felt there was no underlying reason for it, beyond the fact that I worked in a pharmacy and was probably being exposed to all these bugs before I was really recovered from the previous one, and so I would get sick again. But after several months of this going on, one of my friends asked me if maybe I wasn't expressing something? Perhaps I was keeping some deep and dark emotions bottled up, and these infections were my body's way of trying to get me to say it already?
I thought about this for a long time, weeks really, and I almost had myself convinced that nope, I was expressing myself well enough. I was journaling my "negative" emotions, I was crying when I was upset, I was doing my best to process what I felt. But after my seventh illness in about as many months, I finally was struck dumb with the idea that I was only expressing these feelings to myself. Sure, journaling is a great way to process emotions, but if you're not taking any steps towards finding solutions after you've written them down, or if you're continuing to brood on those thoughts, you haven't really made any progress. And that's exactly what was happening to me. My journal was filled with whining about how I felt, but I was never attempting to work towards solutions. My husband and my friends, the people I lean on for support most often, had no idea how I felt. Even though I was writing, or crying, or expressing anger, I was only doing it when no one else could see, hear, or intervene, and so these feelings were, in actuality, still quite bottled up.
It was when I took the first steps toward confessing my struggle with anxiety and panic attacks, and deep depressive episodes that were leaving me drained of all patience, compassion, and ability to give to anyone, that things started to move in the right direction. I only got 2 more throat infections that year, (this was past September), and when I did get them, they were shorter lived and much less severe. As I talked out my feelings with a counselor, I was working on an action plan to care for myself when I was falling into negative patterns, or feeling fragile. As I took more steps towards mental well-being, my physical well-being followed.
The reverse is often true as well. When we care for an area of our body on a physical level, it can affect positive changes on an emotional and spiritual level as well. For instance, if we eat foods that make us feel good on a physical level, our digestive system is cared for, and we feel secure in ourselves on a spiritual level too, which manifests as a more balanced solar plexus chakra. When we choose to do activities that challenge our brains (like sudokus, or watching informative television, rather than VH1 or E! channel), we begin to reframe the way we think about things, and this is reflected in new ideas about spirituality, and as a result, a more balanced crown chakra.
This lesson, about the sacredness of caring for the lower three chakras, has been very important as of late. As you know by now, about two months ago, I had a baby, and it was a bit of culture shock to me when I lost the time (and energy) to do some of the things I usually did to connect with my spiritual practice. When the full and dark moons hit, I wasn't looking outside at the night sky and reflecting what I wanted to release or manifest, I was either caring for Emelie, or I was sleeping if she was sleeping. I felt really upset that meditation wasn't really possible on a daily, or sometimes even weekly basis anymore, because all of my time was being eaten up in either caring for my baby, my other children, myself, or catching up on housework, which had to be largely ignored by me the first 4 weeks as I recovered from the c-section. I felt cheated out of a connection with the sacred in my life. Until last week, when it suddenly hit me that connecting with my physical world WAS a spiritual experience too, if I let it be.
Our lives won't always be about spiritual communion. There are times when our physical realms will reign supreme, and that's okay. These more grounded times in our life give us time to reflect on the wonder in the world around us, the divine nature of our bodies, or how the divine is expressed in our children, or in ourselves. Being in a time where we need to be more body-centered is a chance to grow on that level, and to connect it back to our spiritual practice. This change in my viewpoint was a huge break through for me, because not only was I was now feeling that divine presence back in my life, but I was finding these beautiful new ways to experience it. Meditation, nature walks, ritual, and prayer are all lovely ways to experience the divine, but then, so is seeing your baby's face light up in a smile for the first time, or being taken aback by your toddler's random desire to express his love for you with a neck-crushing hug, or really appreciating the time you get alone in the shower, and deciding to use that time to really care for yourself physically. Suddenly, these physical experiences transform from "mundane" to "out of this world."
Coming back to our bodies is the same as getting back to spirituality. You just need to change your perspective a little bit to see, and experience it.