Part 1 0f 7
By Kerri Burnside
“Seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world”–ACIM
What started me on my path to creating a joyful life was the realization that even though I had a good career, a beautiful home and great friends and family, I was unhappy. I could move, change careers, volunteer or get involved in “causes”, but nothing really changed. My stress load was high and no matter what I did or where I went, that pit of unhappiness followed me.
I remember reading the quote “there is no way to happiness, happiness is the way”-Buddha. It really resonated with me. It was so simple, I could just BE happy. This only frustrated me because if I knew how to be happy, I would.
Through pondering Buddha’s advice. I found that I was really out of touch with my feelings and my body. I had become adept at stuffing my emotions and ignoring the physical manifestations of stress. A breakthrough that I encountered was when I began learning about the chakras. Working with them gave me a process for changing me and how I viewed and interacted with the world. As I changed, my circumstances changed. Instead of seeking a path to happiness, I was happy.
What are the Chakras?
Chakra is a Sanskrit word which means “wheel of light”. There are seven main chakras and I like to think of them as the seven stages of growth. They lie along the nave of the spine and are the store house of your beliefs, emotions and experiences. Each chakra has its own purpose, association and connection to the body and its systems. In this edition I will introduce the root or 1st Chakra (Muladhara). 1st Chakra (located near base of spine)
If you think of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, at the bottom of the pyramid is all of our basic survival needs (food, shelter, security, money etc). In the chakra system this is the 1st or “root” chakra. If these needs are not being met, your fight-or-flight response of the autonomic nervous system is engaged and being happy is secondary to surviving.
The root chakra is developed first and is a packed full of all of our beliefs and experiences related to survival instincts. These include our right to be safe, to have our needs met, the right to occupy space, our right to be loved, our right to have money and to follow our life’s purpose. It is our connection to Mother Earth that brings earths energy up into the higher chakras. It also helps to ground the higher energies of the upper chakras into the earth plane. Being grounded allows us to nurture ourselves and meet our survival needs.
Muladhara In Balance: Ideally, this chakra brings us health, prosperity and security.
Muhadhala Out of Balance: If this chakra is blocked or you are losing energy from this chakra it can keep triggering your fight-or-flight response creating fear, dependency, anger and a high level of stress. It is the root area for addictions (emotional, physical or behavioral).
How can one restore balance to the 1st chakra?
The 1st chakra blockages can be a bit of a challenge to uncover because they are usually unconscious habits and beliefs. They are the ones programmed by our own “group.” Our “group” is the community that we come from and belong to: our family, friends, religion, neighbors, political party, etc. and provides all the beliefs about how the world should and should not work. As long as we still subscribe to this programming, we will unconsciously operate from these programs.
How to Disconnect from Groupthink: Evaluate what you were taught by your “group” and see if it is still true for you today. If it is, great! If it is not, it is time to let it go and replace these beliefs with what is in alignment with who you are today or who you want to be.
Additional suggestions for balancing the 1st chakra: Support the adrenals by drinking the recommended daily amount of water. Get plenty of physical exercise, spend time in nature and connect with the earth.
Kerri Burnside is the Co-Publisher of the Bellingham Muse. She has been teaching stress management for over 15 years and offers a weekly guided meditation for stress reduction that is open to the public. See the schedule and location here.
Here is a great short video giving you more information about the chakra system by SpiritScience.net