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The Roadmap to Healing: Opening Your Heart Chakra
Posted by Carol Tuttle on 09, July 2012
It is not just in the western world that the heart has been the part of the body associated with the emotional centre of each human being. All over the planet, since civilisation began, people have considered the human heart to be not only the physical core of the body and soul, but the point at which emotions are most powerfully felt, the location from which powerful emotional energies are produced and nurtured. As such, in ancient Hindu, Buddhist and other religious texts and writings, there are numerous mentions of the human heart, and its wonderful capabilities. However, just as the heart is capable of producing beautiful sensations and deep, transcendental and physical love, it is also seen as the source of a huge amount of pain and difficulty, and this is something which has endured throughout the centuries and is as relevant today as it has ever been. Almost nobody alive or dead has never experienced heartache, heartbreak or extreme emotional difficulty. Such feelings can arise from a vast range of sources, and can have devastating effects if left unchecked and misunderstood.
Many of us now in the twenty-first century are experiencing problems based in the heart as never before – the more we become disconnected with our spiritual selves and our potentially endless spirituality, the more we face difficulty in relationships and in our own sense of self worth. Millions of people around the world are struggling with the problems which arise from low self esteem, distorted self image, a sense of distance or misunderstanding between themselves and their loved ones. Relationships are seen as less important than they were in the past, marriages and long-term partnerships are more likely to break down, infidelity is becoming normalised and all of these things are having a devastating effect on the hearts of us and the hearts of those around us. If you would like to strengthen your connection with a loved one, or would like to find ways of overcoming any emotional pain and suffering you have experienced in the past, you may need to spend some time focussing on your heart chakra, the fourth chakra which resides in the centre of your body.
Love is the key
Love comes in many shapes and forms, and in many different guises. We are all aware of this, and most of us have experienced more than one type of love in our lives. Parental love, brotherly or sisterly love, romantic love, compassionate love, selfless love – all of these forms of love are as valid and as important as each other, and all have their source in the energy centre which resides in our hearts. The energy which is produced by the heart chakra is the energy which allows us to have meaningful relationships and empathy and longing for other people, whether they are family members, close friends, or potential or existing partners. Such feelings of love are one of the things which make our earthly existence worthwhile, and greatly enriches our lives every time we encounter them or recognize them.
Feeling loved and loving somebody else and ourselves is vitally important to maintaining a happy mental, spiritual and physical existence; we all need love in order to motivate ourselves to do anything in this world, for a life without love is an empty existence, and a life without love for yourself is a tragic, dark and dangerous place to stay. However, it cannot be denied that so many of us are suffering from exactly these reasons – our lives have become distracted by material gains, by concepts of success and wealth. We have begun to lose the time and interest in developing a deep love for one another, and we are leaving each other in pain and loneliness all too often.
What is the heart chakra?
The energy of the heart chakra is depicted as being a deep, emerald green in colour, and ties us to all living things around us. This green colour is the same as that which we readily associate with new life and natural surroundings – it is tranquil, yet energised, mysterious yet vibrant. One simple way of opening your heart chakra and associating your energies with your heart is to recognise the beauty of the world we live in, to spend time outside under green trees, or to fill your home with flowers and plants. The energy of the heart chakra is essentially an enriching and nurturing one, one which calls us to take care of one another and go to some effort to make each other happy. True love is a selfless act, and one which is unlimited in its potential for growth and expansion. Fittingly, the Sanskrit word for the heart chakra is Anahata, meaning an “unstruck sound”.
This poetic metaphor refers to the potential of the heart, the beautiful music or resonance it can produce if only we find the person or people, or indeed the way of seeing ourselves, that can ‘strike’ it and cause it to resonate forever. However, the Anahata is also all about individual choice. The heart chakra must be ‘struck’ through our own willpower and choice, and the choice to share our love with others, and not hesitantly guard it or refuse to open it to the world. This is the energy of human compassion, of charity and passion, of forgiveness, of hope, of caring and contemplation. The heart chakra rotates with the very best of the essence of human nature.
The Difficulties of the Heart
We are all culturally and personally accustomed to the kinds of difficulties that can arise through having a closed heart chakra. The ancient poets wrote extensively about the pains of heartbreak, of unrequited love, of self-doubt and disillusion, of families falling apart and refusing to communicate. The same themes occur time and time again in every religious text, and throughout history, these thoughts and feelings have paved the way for the great narratives which we still come across today, in popular novels, television series and movies. Why is this? Simply because these are essentially universal themes, the kind of storylines which everybody can ultimately relate to on a deep, moving and personal level. Indeed, the most trying times of our lives generally come about in conjunction with a closed heart chakra, from the first flutterings of loves in our young and impressionable bodies, to breakdowns of family ties and marriages. Simply the feeling that we cannot find love, or cannot find the right partner for our needs and desires are symptoms of a closed heart chakra, as are the failings in empathy that we experience when we are plagued by romantic temptation, or jealousy, or anger and confusion directed at a loved one.
Marital problems are a growing cause for great upset and depression amongst people of all walks of life. In recent decades, the rate of divorce and separation has increased dramatically as a result of many different factors, none of them easy to deal with or overcome. Infidelity seems to be rising, as well as frustration borne of a lack of understanding or affection for one another. Outside of marriage, closed heart chakras cause children to feel alienated or misunderstood by parents, things like financial matters, envy, bitterness and deep-rooted anger separate brother from sister, and split families right down the middle, occasionally never to be brought back together again. One of the most potent problems which come about from closed heart chakras is the inability to forgive others, and to hold grudges against those that have caused us some pain. We all occasionally feel some level of bitterness towards those who have broken our hearts or have caused emotional anguish for us. To not let go of this pain, to continue to reopen old scars and project hatred and anger towards those who have done us wrong in the past is bound to bounce back upon ourselves, and cause even more pain and difficulty for our own lives and hearts over time.
Closed heart chakras can also produce problems which move out of the emotional realm, and cause difficulties for our mental and physical selves, too. Such problems and illnesses associated with closed heart chakras include everything from allergies, high or low blood pressures, heart diseases, breast cancer, immune disorders and difficulties with the lungs. As such, an open and properly turning heart chakra is a vital component for a healthy and happy life, in more ways than one.
Medicine for your heart
It often takes a great deal of time, commitment and energy in order to properly open the heart chakra. In order to do so, the individual needs to learn to let go of their past problems, their bitterness and regret that is directed towards those that they believe have hurt them. To mend a broken relationship requires a lot of patience and willingness from more than just one person, and forgiveness and resolution can require a lot of courage, and the ability to put one’s ego to the side and attempt to see things from someone else’s perspective. As such, in order to open a closed heart chakra, you must be willing to spend time discussing with other people and yourself your problems and hopes for the future, before making positive steps towards resolving your problems. Certainly there are people in your life that deserve more from you, where even a simple touch, such as a hug, can go further than words with a friend, child, parent, or spouse. If there is someone that you haven’t forgiven, someone that caused you a great deal of pain, try writing a letter to that person expressing how their actions made you feel. This technique can be hugely beneficial for opening the heart chakra, as it allows you to put your feelings and frustrations into a tangible, physical form that can be looked over many times from many different perspectives. Hopefully, over time, and through reading such a letter over and over again, you can begin to see that what has been unforgiven isn’t necessarily something that cannot be forgiven, that forgiveness is something that will benefit you much more than it could ever benefit them.
There are many, many small activities and exercises that we can all do to stimulate the healing process within our hearts. For example, thinking back through your life and examining the things which you have overcome, the difficulties you’ve faced and dealt with successfully can allow you to develop a sense of compassion and love for yourself. Being proud of exceptional achievements – no matter what they may be – allows you to love yourself further, and equips you with the kind of heart that can love others just the same. Reading through old diaries and journals can also help you gain a sense of perspective on your life, maybe there are problems which you’ve faced which were far easier to forget and move on from than you may have imagined at the time, or maybe you need to be reminded of the person you were before a certain event or happening occurred. Our lives are full of powerful and meaningful experiences, both good and bad. Our heart absorbs them all, and needs to be taken care of as best we can in order for us to continue loving ourselves and those around us. Try this simple aromatherapy meditation exercise to start cultivating and garnering the energy of your Anahata Chakra now.
Lavender is a strong scent that has the power to invigorate and restore your Chakra. The plant has medicinal properties – it can heal the body in addition to the soul. While meditating, indulge in the scent of lavender, using a dried plant, a scented candle, or bubble bath. What kind of feelings does this scent evoke in you?
(Interesting Note – I was drawn to buy a bundle of lavender yesterday and have been breathing its wonderful scent in deeply since then)
Close your eyes and imagine your heart, beating in time with your pulse. Picture the emotional wounds you’ve felt throughout your life as visible scars on the surface of your heart. Then, see yourself rubbing lavender over those scars, and watch as they disappear. The surface of your heart is smooth and undamaged. Now imagine freeing yourself from the pain you’ve experienced in the past – what does your life look like?
A Healthy and Happy Heart Chakra
Although healing this Chakra takes dedication, it can be an extremely rewarding experience. A life with an open fourth chakra is based on mutually nourishing family bonds, colorful friendships, and the fostering of self-love. Past wounds can begin to heal as they are permeated with positive, Heart center energy. People with a healthy fourth chakra center can move beyond feelings of vulnerability or regret and recognize that they deserve to experience love in all its forms. Investing some time into enhancing your heart’s natural vitality can only improve your ability to give and receive in loving relationships. With all those you love in mind – including yourself – show a little tenderness to your Heart Chakra center today.