Chakra Four: love, compassion, devotion, bonding, forgiveness, integration

“For one human being to love another human being;
that is perhaps the most difficult task that has been entrusted to us,
the ultimate task, the final test and proof, the work for which
all other work is merely preparation.”
-Rainer Maria Rilke-

photo-1Here we are at the midpoint in our journey, the fourth chakra.  Making our way up, we now find ourselves in the chest, heart, cardiac plexus, where the element is air, the color green, and the basic right is to love and be loved.  In this chakra, we first want to develop an intimate, self-love that allows us to know our interior space and ultimately, fall in love with it. Oscar Wilde wrote, “To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance” and Thomas Moore wrote, “Being a friend to yourself is no mere metaphor or purely sentimental idea. It is the basis of all relationship, because it is a fundamental recognition of the soul.” In learning to love yourself, it is important to commit to self-reflection.  Anodea Judith says that to enter the heart is to enter into self-reflective consciousness, a place of self-examination. In that reflection, we not only define ourselves (as in the third chakra) but come into a relationship with ourselves. Furthermore, we want to find balance internally and also between ourselves and the world around us. We yearn, in this chakra, for healthy, long-lasting relationships, and the ability to both receive and give love.

The demon for this chakra is grief. If we deny it, avoid it, or attempt to shut it out, we become closed and numb to our feelings. When we we express it and allow ourselves to experience it fully, we are cultivating truth (most importantly) and allowing our heart to open and be light. If we refuse grief, we will carry it with us, with all its weight and despair. It will restrict the way we breathe, and effect our authenticity as individuals, our spiritual growth, well being, and most importantly, our present and future relationships.

“Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak whispers the o’er-fraught heart and bids it break.” -William Shakespeare-

“Pain opens us to deeper understanding of others and expands our limited being. Thus compassion is an excquisite balance of upper and lower chakra expression. Compassion relmains centered, yet open, and it quietly holds the space for change to occur, providing both the stability of a container and the freedom of release.” -Anodea Judith-

photo-3An excess fourth chakra will be focused too much on moving energy outward by overcompensating, developing a need for constant reassurance from loved ones,  codependency, excessive care-taking and jealousy. A deficient fourth chakra adopts rigid boundaries and keeps energy from coming in by withdrawing, dwelling on past relationships, remaining stuck in feelings of anger or disappointment, and an unwillingness to forgive. In the excess, our boundaries are poor and we adopt idealistic expectations of love that may cloud the senses, whereas in the deficient we become completely closed out of fear, rejection or the assumption we will be hurt if we allow ourselves to open up.

We want the fourth chakra to be strong and balanced so we can love and be loved, accept and be accepted, in the most authentic sense. Through self reflection, we can first reach an equilibrium, and then integrate and expand in order to achieve more mature levels of love and compassion. As Chenrezig once said, “Whoever wishes to attain Buddhahood need not follow the various practice but must only practice one thing and that is deep compassion.

“As we become more integrated, we become more relational. Our capacity for understanding and working with outer relationships is enhanced by the sophistication of our inner one. Instead of relating from a single part of ourselves, which makes us inflexible, we have a broader base from which to relate. There is simply more there for another to be attracted to, and more of us to meet them.” -Anodea Judith-

When the fourth chakra is balanced:

  • we are compassionate towards ourselves and others
  • we feel a genuine sense of empathy
  • we inhabit a strong sense of self-love
  • we feel worthy of love
  • we are peaceful and balanced
  • we demonstrate forgiveness
  • we feel a tremendous connection to ourselves and the world around us

When the fourth chakra is excessive:

  • we are codependent and needy
  • we have poor boundaries and discrimination
  • we become jealous easily
  • we are overly giving of ourselves as a means of overcompensation
  • we cling to people and things
  • we need constant reassurance from loved ones

When the fourth chakra is deficient:

  • we are withdrawn and isolated
  • we feel depressed more often
  • we develop a fear of intimacy and relationships
  • we lack empathy
  • we have a difficult time forgiving others and ourselves

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