|The Third Chakra:|
Please read the following statements and check the ones that are more than a little true for you.
WHAT THE STATEMENTS SAY
Statement 1 refers to the correspondence between the third chakra and the digestive system. As this system assimilates and digests physical energy, so the third chakra assimilates and digests psychic/spiritual energy. A third chakra blockage is often expressed physically.
Statements 2-4 demonstrate what happens when we reject our personal power. We feel that we can't change our lives. We resist the power plays of others. We find that it's easier to operate from a sense of obligation (the power of other people's ideas) than to do what we want to do.
Statements 5 and 6 point toward confusion between egomania and healthy self-esteem.
Statement 7 demonstrates that when we're uncomfortable with the idea that we have individual selves worth nurturing, it's difficult to imagine a purpose for that self.
Statements 8-10 provide more sophisticated arguments against the use of power. If success means dishonesty and manipulation, if powerful people are disliked, and money and spirituality are incompatible, we're better off being powerless.
THE WRONG USE OF WILL
The first chakra represents personal oneness; its challenge is that of being in harmony with physical existence and our own physical bodies. The second chakra expresses, through the energy of personal desire, both the movement away from oneness towards individuality, and the desire to regain oneness through the experience of others.
If we are uneasy about expressing our desires and our sexuality, we are even more reluctant to exercise power.
There's ample evidence in the external world that power can be abused. The names of Hitler and Mussolini come to mind. More recently, we have the examples of Watergate, the behavior of the CEOs of certain huge corporations. We have heard about the ways in which some religious and spiritual leaders have abused their power.
Countless examples closer to home, such as the tyranny of our parents, bosses, lovers and mates, and coercive "friends," may convince us that power is a drug like any other. Once tasted, it becomes an addiction.
WHERE NICE PEOPLE GET STUCK
I feel safe in saying that you who are reading this are trying to live your life according to spiritual principles you've chosen. I'm that kind of person, too, and because of that, third chakra energies continue to challenge me.
It becomes clear why we get stuck if we substitute the word "ego" for "power."
Some popular synonyms for ego are selfishness and self-centeredness. It can also be connected to the belief that one is more important than others. We feel that people who operate on the level of ego aren't attuned to spirituality. We believe that they are interested only in what they can get, not in the common good. We suspect that they don't see themselves as part of the One.
We don't like them, and we wouldn't want to be like them. We may believe that we have to be as unlike them as possible. It's important, we say, to think of other people first, to not be too proud of our accomplishments, or in extreme cases, not to think too much about ourselves at all.
It is true that people who think only of themselves, who abuse power, who are coercive with others, and who have little care for the common good do have unbalanced third chakra energy-but so do people who resist the use of personal power.
In order to regain conscious direction of third-chakra energy, we need to establish a new understanding of what power means. In itself power, like desire, is neither good nor bad. It's simply a neutral energy, available to be used.
The sun is a literal image of power in our world. Without it, we would be cold, hungry, and depressed. We know that the sun doesn't abuse its powers. It shines on rich and poor alike, and gives its energy to both flowers and weeds.
Our power is capable of the same radiance. Yet, just as we need to respect the energy of the sun and be responsible in our enjoyment of it, so, if we want to avoid the traps that the use of power seems to set, we need to understand more about some of its expressions.
Louise Hay once wrote that in her experience most people would rather talk about sex than about money.
Her remark indicates what an emotional subject money is for us. It so often gets tangled up with our beliefs about our self-worth, our deservability, and our guilt.
We may think that we aren't good enough at what we do to earn a living wage. We may feel that money is somehow dirty, something with which a spiritual person should have no traffic. We may believe that money, like power, is addictive.
We no longer live in a society in which goods are bartered. We forget that that money, like power, is only a form of energy and that the exchange of money for goods or services is an energy exchange.
In researching and discovering your beliefs about money, it is especially valuable to trace their history. How did your parents feel about money? Were there arguments and/or an atmosphere of anxiety when bill payments were due? Did you get a weekly allowance? Did you work for it? Did you get your allowance taken away if you didn't do a good job?
Is money a form of nurturing for you? Is it a form of love? How do you feel when you don't have it?
These questions should get you started.
I mentioned above that money issues get entangled with those of self-esteem, and self-esteem is another major issue in third-chakra imbalance.
Ego and power don't necessarily have the same meaning; neither do ego and self-esteem. This is another area of confusion. Working with third-chakra energies is truly a balancing act.
(Please note: the issue of self-esteem is intertwined with that of self-love, an area related to fourth-chakra energies. Self-love will be discussed further in the next lesson.)
Take the statement: "If someone gives me a compliment I a) act modest, b) say, 'Oh, it was nothing,' c) wish they hadn't mentioned it." In the past, when people praised something I'd written, my tendency was usually a). I had modesty down. I didn't say, "It was nothing" because that would demean the intelligence of the one who praised me, and I didn't wish they hadn't mentioned it; I was thrilled.
Nonetheless, my modesty was excessive, and I wanted to shed it. Here's where the balancing act comes in.
I could have gone to the other extreme and said, "Oh, did you like it? Yes, this is one of the best pieces I've ever written, and I'm so proud of myself; I really think I'm a fabulous writer. Would you like to read a dozen more pieces I've written?" That's ego run amok.
Instead, I will say (or write, since a lot of this correspondence goes on by email) some variant of the following: "Thank you so much for taking the trouble to write to me. Your remarks inspire me to keep on writing." This both acknowledges the compliment and returns it.
Many of the people who write to me aren't only communicating to tell me I'm a skillful writer; they thank me for making a difference in their lives. They might say, "The most recent newsletter addressed exactly the issue I've been working on," or "I was feeling depressed today, but now I feel much more hopeful."
BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO USE THEIR GIFTS WISELY
Imagine for a moment that we (and all of life) are the children of a loving energy that desires only that we realize our full potential.
Other life forms know this. A crystal shines joyfully; a beautiful flower has no ego concerns. When we humans realize that our gifts originate not within our personal beings but from an inexhaustible source, when we know that our purpose in expressing them isn't ego gratification but the manifestation of our soul's purpose, we can be as free in our expression as any other creature.
We are truly blessed when we allow full expression of our gifts in the spirit of sharing, as each point on a crystal cluster increases the cluster's radiance.
Smoothing the Way: Amber
When we're loving and taking good care of ourselves, we tend not to get overwhelmed by anger and stress. These emotions (and any negative emotion), serve the valuable function of telling us we're blocking our self-esteem and creative powers. Clearing up these emotions is often a necessary first step to wholeness.
Depression is a profound state of disconnection from well-being. When we're depressed, we usually have trouble creating anything but more depression. On the other hand, even a small increase in cheerfulness can open the way to more positive emotions.
Amber is very helpful for depression. It's not actually a crystal but is fossilized tree resin or sap. Sap, the life-giving element that flows through a tree, is a wonderful metaphor for spiritual, creative energy. Holding a piece of amber while meditating and visualizing golden, cheering, enlightening energy flowing through your being is a powerful way to release depression.
The Process of Realization: Citrine
This crystal is most directly connected with helping us to channel creative energy into the realization of our dreams. One of its principal roles is to assist us in processing our beliefs and habits so that we can release those that do not serve us.
For example, a belief such as, "Money slips right out of my hands" or "People who are prosperous aren't good people" will send out vibrational messages that we don't expect to receive abundance or maintain a state of prosperity. Instead, we will receive matches to what we are transmitting. We may find ourselves always getting unexpected bills. We may always see evidence that people who have money aren't good instead of learning about people who use their money generously.
Citrine also helps to balance our expression of personal power. Although gold is a color for the third chakra, it is also an alternate color for the seventh (crown) chakra, which relates to our sense of interconnectedness with All That Is. Working with citrine can help to achieve balance between these chakras. This leads to a balance of the personal expression of power and the sense that one's actions affect all living beings.
From Thought to Physical Reality: Pyrite
Another stone that helps us create possibility is pyrite. Like calcite and fluorite, it's a distinctly geometrically shaped stone in its natural form. Fluorite is usually either cubical or an octahedron (double pyramid), while calcite usually forms in a three-dimensional parallelogram (aka rhomboid).
Generally, the geometrical crystals are believed to have a relationship to the mind. Calcite, described below, helps us to integrate new ideas and beliefs into physical reality. Fluorite helps to refine and focus these ideas.
Pyrite clusters have precise cubes scattered randomly on its surface. This geological quality also indicates its most valuable properties. By combining precision and randomness, pyrite helps us to blend our creative and intuitive abilities with the powers of logic and reason. The kinds of ideas we get with pyrite are both imaginative and possible to realize in a practical way.
Because pyrite is a bright, shiny crystal, inexperienced prospectors for gold have often in the past mistaken it; thus, it is often nicknamed, "fool's gold." Although its glitter deceived many prospectors, the more experienced miners knew that in the locations where pyrite was found, a little more searching could yield gold. In similar fashion, those who work with pyrite find it can lead them to treasure.
Changing Reality Perspectives: Golden Calcite
Golden calcite plays a complementary role to citrine. Once you've used citrine to help release limiting beliefs that prevent the flow of creating energy, you are ready to integrate new energies and beliefs. You may also be ready to integrate the ideas pyrite has helped you discover into your practical reality, i.e., daily life, relationships, and business. The crystal that most easily accomplishes this transition is golden calcite.
Like all calcites, it helps us to view our situations from a different plane of reality. Generally, it's difficult to imagine how to integrate new realities from the perspective of what is. For example, you may have a new idea for increasing your income, but you find yourself thinking of what hasn't worked in the past.
Instead, meditate with a golden calcite. (I find that a sphere is especially nice for this.) Ask your inner being (a word for the nonphysical part of yourself that is connected to infinite intelligence) how to allow this new possibility into physical reality. Since your inner being shares none of the limitations you may feel about change, it can, if you are receptive, help to make your view of reality become more flexible and adaptable.
Timing: Tiger's Eye
So far, I've described amber for helping to clear out negative emotions, citrine for processing and releasing limiting beliefs and fostering self-esteem, pyrite for creating new possibilities, and golden calcite for integrating these possibilities into physical reality. Two more crystals remain to complete the process: tiger's eye and rutilated quartz.
In thinking about the characteristics of tiger's eye, I always imagine the behavior of a stalking cat. If feline companions own you, you will be familiar with their pattern of absolute stillness, a slow, delicate approach, and the speed-of light pounce. I'm not suggesting you follow this precise pattern in pursuing the manifesting of your goals. The key is timing.
Cats are patient beings. Because they aren't burdened with feelings of inadequacy ("I've got to accomplish this so I can feel good about myself") or looking good to others, they can take the time to analyze a situation and choose the best moment to leap. With the help of tiger's eye, one who has self-confidence, has chosen an appropriate goal, and has, through the gift of imagination brought it close to creation, finds that, with appropriate timing, the realization of one's dreams is almost effortless.
A particularly nice way to partner with tiger's eye is to hold it and move it back and forth. In so doing you may come to appreciate this crystal's message: that the physical plane has been designed as a playground where our spirits can materialize our dreams as easily and joyfully as a cat changes the appearance of its eyes.
Pounce Power: Rutilated Quartz
Rutilated quartz, a clear or smoky crystal shot through with small golden needles of the mineral rutile, blends the personal power of the third chakra with the infinite spiritual energy of the seventh. (Clear quartz is connected to the seventh chakra, and because smoky quartz is the lightest of the dark stones, and because its energy is so light, it's also connected to this chakra.)
Rutile adds a high-energy dimension, making this an excellent stone to program for allowing your goals to manifest more quickly. It is especially effective for those who want, through the realization of their personal dreams, to make a difference in the world. The crown-third chakra connection helps people to consciously focus on the spiritual implications of their goals. Placing rutilated quartz at the crown chakra can deepen this connection.
Larch (Bach Flower Remedy)
Like Holly (for self-love) Larch, which relates to self-esteem, is one of the more generally applicable of the Bach Flower Remedies. Although this relates primarily to the third chakra, it's also connected to the fourth, in that self-esteem and self-love are linked.
Self-esteem relates to capabilities, i.e., what you feel you can do, what level of risk and challenge you can take on, and how much confidence you have in your ability to surmount obstacles. It is a quality in which most people are lacking.
To some extent, this lack stems from the unique nature of human infancy and childhood. Unlike, for example, the colt that can rise on its legs shortly after birth, we are basically born helpless and take a relatively long time to learn how to protect ourselves. Our parents, as guardians of our safety, feel that they must warn us against danger, constantly telling what not to do, where not to go. Many of us may get the impression that anything our parents haven't told us is safe is dangerous, an impression that may persist into adulthood.
This feeling (and resultant cautious behavior) may be aggravated when parents, while consciously believing that they're protecting their children, try to keep them from living more adventurous lives than they have done (and from straying too far from the family fold). Such a parent may say, "I'm only thinking of your own good, and you'll never make any money as an artist" or "She's a very nice girl but too different from you."
Classic Larch types are the people who say without resentment or jealousy, "I can't do that." They may use excuses, such as "I'm not well enough," or "It's because I'm a woman," but they genuinely believe that those who can are superior to them. This is rarely the case.
Milder cases of Larch are much more common. I often have clients say that they've been working on their self-esteem levels but that there's lots of room for improvement.
Larch can also be given as an adjunct to other flower essences. For example, people who need the courage to stand up for themselves (Centaury) find that a dose of self-esteem strengthens their resolve.
Gentian (Bach Flower Remedy)
People who are highly practical and reasonable are also unlikely to trust without supporting facts or to have undocumented faith.
Among the most valuable components in successful creation is the ability to have faith, to believe that something that's not presently in physical existence can be created. When we don't believe this, we are usually discouraged from taking bold action. Taking Gentian allows us to encounter difficulty without becoming discouraged and to keep going on, strengthened by the faith that we are supported by our trust in the possibility of miracles.
Gorse (Bach Flower Remedy)
Gorse is most easily described as an advanced case of Gentian. In this condition discouragement has been replaced by despair. One will keep on trying, but without any hope at all that there will be even the slightest improvement.
The Gorse remedy helps to lift the dark cloud of hopelessness and allow one to regard life and the future with new optimism.
Sunflower is in many ways the floral equivalent of citrine. Like the stone, it helps to balance ego energies, allowing those who have dimmed their light with feelings of low self-esteem to experience appreciation of themselves, and helping those who mask low self-esteem with egotism to experience a balanced self-appreciation.
Sunflower is particularly helpful in healing one's relationship with one's father. Those who experienced their fathers as overbearing and dominating may have learned to fear the aggressive aspects of self. They hide their own light. Sunflower teaches us how to use our light to heal ourselves and others.
Walnut (Bach Flower Remedy)
This is another essence for moving forward. It is particularly helpful when we have well-meaning family members and friends who warn us against making change. Often their fears are contagious, especially if we have any degree of ambivalence about our plans.
Walnut helps us to continue to move forward. In spiritual terms it can be seen as a bridge between the place we are coming from and our ultimate destination.
Beaver (Wild Earth Animal Essences)
Beaver, the builder, constructs its home so that there are many exits. This medicine can help us to build our dreams so that they have a sound foundation and at the same time are flexible in design, so that we can revise our plans to incorporate new possibilities.
Buffalo (Wild Earth Animal Essences)
This animal is the traditional Native American symbol for abundance. The tribe uses every bit of this animal. This reminds us to overlook no opportunities or means of increasing our abundance. Buffalo, being also a symbol of Spirit, reminds us to be grateful for what we have right now.
Rabbit (Wild Earth Animal Essences)
Rabbit, in traditional Native American interpretation, is called the fear caller, a creature whose fears draw forth the very predators it seeks to avoid. We can also see this as an example of the power of focused thought. When we choose what we think, through affirmations and awareness, we can draw anything towards us. Thus, Rabbit medicine teaches us to choose wisely.
Location: From the navel area to the solar plexus.
The Purpose of this Chakra:
To develop and focus our energy.
To shape our desires into personal power and will.
To develop self-esteem.
To have an impact on the outside world.
To live a life that is abundant in all ways.
MEDITATION FOR THE THIRD CHAKRA
This meditation will involve using the first-chakra stones and a crystal you choose related to the third chakra.
This is also a good meditation to do when you're anticipating or planning a situation in which you will need to assert yourself, before embarking on a new creative project, or whenever you feel the need to boost your self-esteem.
Even if you aren't doing the lessons in order, I suggest going on to the related third-chakra section on the solar plexus.
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A Dragon's Guide to Destiny