First Chakra at a glance:

Element - Earth

Purpose - Foundation

Issues - Roots, Grounding, Nourishment, Trust, Health, Home, Family, Prosperity, Appropriate Boundaries

Location - Base of the Spine

Identity - Physical

Demon - Fear

All foundations rests upon the Earth - the universal ground for all that we do. To connect with the body is to connect with the earth, to be grounded in the biological reality of existence. Our bodies are the home of our Spirit. Situated at the base of the spine, the first chakra is the foundation for the entire chakra system. It is here that we build the foundation for the temple of the body. Without a strong, rooted foundation, little else can be accomplished. We must have soil firm enough to provide stability, yet yielding enough to be penetrated by roots. The anchoring of this temple digs deep into the earth, for its Sanskrit name, muladhara, means "root support".

This chakra roots us in to our bodies, the physical world, and the earth.

The foundation contains the temple's energy by defining its scope, edges and boundaries. It defines a place, a basic context of all that happens to us. It gives us a ground, a home, and anchor point for our experience. The foundation largely determines the shape of the stucture above, determining what it can hold, how high it can build, what kind of stresses it can withstand. Thus damage to this chakra is reflected in each and every chakra above. To build a strong foundation is to gain solidity. Solidity allows us to be firm and to make boundaries. Solidity has consistency, repetition, accountability. Our bodies are the solid form of our existence; they have definable boundaries. To be solid is to face what is in front of us without flinching, to remain achored in truth in the face of opposition, and to remain calm and secure.

A healthy first chakra allows a person to be energetically grounded - a concept that is critical to understanding basic aliveness and well-being. Grounding brings consciousness into the body, and is essential for forminh healthy boundaries. When we are grounded, we can be present, focused, dynamic. Our attention is concentratedin the here and now, bringing a dynamic intensity to the way we present ourselves. Our experience is direct, sensate, immediate. We are confident yet contained, connected with our own sorce of support. Without grounding we are unstable. We loose our centre, fly off the handle, get swept of our feet, or daydream in the fantasy world. We loose our ability to contain, which is the ability to have and to hold. If we cannot hold our boundaries and build up inner power; thus, we cannot mature.

The healthy establishment of one's ground is the essential work of the first chakra, and the foundation for any further growth. Here lies the basic rights of the first chakra: the right to be here and to the right to have what we need in order to survive.

Nourishment is our most basic form of support for the body's survival. Our past history determines how we support and nourish ourselves. Without support, we fall. Without nourishment we collapse. Reclaiming our right to be here, learning to ground, and attending to our need for nourishment are all first chakra necessities.

Anything that threatens survival, such as birth trauma, abandonment, neglect, serious illness, malnourishment, extreme poverty, or physical abuse, impacts the first chakra. The younger a child is when such things occur, the more likely these threats will undermine first chakra formation. A smooth first year of life creates a solid foundationthat can better withstand or recover from difficulties later on. When a young infant faces dangeror neglect, it forces him/her to fall back on him/herslef - an independence which is developmentally impossible. Instead the child falls into an intolerable pit of fear and helplessness - the experience of having no ground. When this happens, the downward current of energy is blocked. Instead, the life force moves towards the upper chakras, which feel safer. The upward movement then becomes habitua. depleting the lower chakras and sending the system out of balance.

As the parent was to the child, so the mind is to the body.

Without the healthy functioning of the first chakra, we are hopelessly trapped on a mundane level of existence, forever avoiding and forever dealing with the same issue - a need to solidify the ground level from which all else grows. If the ground is intact, subsequent work proceeds in a more coherent fashion and strengthens the ground. Grounding is a slow and cumulative process. It is where we begin, yet it is always changing as a result of what we build above it.

One can never work on grounding too much. Our culture, so very removed from the ground of the planet, and with values that hold the body and the physical world in such low esteem, continually separates us from our ground. Reclaiming the sacred temple of our bodies, our right to be here, and our right to have what we need in order to survive can be joyous reunion with the very ground of our own being and a solid beginning to the exciting journey though the chakras.

Anodea Judith, Eastern Body Western Mind, 1996

The chakra system is a seven-leveled philosophical model of the universe. Chakras have come to the West mainy through the tradition and practice of yoga. Yoga ("yoke") is a discipline designed to bring together to yoke together the individual with the divine, using mental and physical practices that join our mundane and spiritual lives. This goal is acheived by passing through steps of ever-expanding states of consciousness. The chakras represent these steps.

A chakra is a centre of organization that receives, assimilates, and expresses life force energy.

The word chakra literally means "wheel" or "disk" and refers to a spinning sphere of bioenergetic activity emanating from th emajor nerve ganglia branching forward from the spinal column. There are seven of these wheels stcked in a column that spans from the base of the spine to the top of the head. It is these seven chakras that correlate with the basic states of consciousness.

The chakra system originated in India, more than four thousand years ago. They have been referred to in the ancient iterature of the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and most thoroughly in the sixteenth century text Sat-Chakra-Nirupana. Chakras are not physical entities in and of themselves. Like feelings or ideas, they cannot be held like a physical object, yet they have strong effect upon the body as they express the embodiment of spiritual energy on the physical plane. Chakra patterns are programmed deep in the ocre of the mind-body interface and have a strong relationship with our physical functioning.

By using techniques such as yoga, pranayama, bioenergetics, physical exercises, meditation, and visualization, we can influence our chakras, our health, and our lives.

The chakras are said to have a loctaion in the body even though they do not exist in the physical sense. Based on their location the chakras have become associated with various states of consciousness, archetypal elements, and philosophical constructs. The lower chakras, for example, which are physically closer to the earth, are related to the more practical matters of our lives - survival, movement, action. The upper chakras represent menatl realms and work on a symbolic level through words, images, and concepts.

Each of the seven chakras has also come to represent amajor area of human psychological health which can be brieflt summarized as follows:

1 - Survival

2 - Sexuality

3 - Power

4 - Love

5 - Communication

6 - Intuition

7 - Consciousness

We all function by sets of programs, which may or may not be conscious. The challenge before us is to find the appropriate program and get the bugs out. The chakra system is an evolutionary program that can be used to reprogram our lives. If the outer world is to be transformed, th eprocess nuct begin within. If the inner world is to be transformed, it must be understood in the light of the outer forces that shaped it. By understanding this internal arrangement, we can understand our defenses and needs, and learn how to restore balance.

In a series of post I will explore the seven chakras as presented by Anodea Judith. Join me on this journey through Psychology and the Chakra system as a path to the Self.

Reference Eastern Body, Western Mind 1996

Have you ever walked into a room and sensed the negativity or hostility of another person? Or have you ever felt angry at someone secretly, all the while acting like everything was ok? Whenever we interact with others in the physical world, an invisible exchange of energy is taking place too. We may see a smile on the face of someone listening to us, but what is happening on an invisible level? We all have an invisible dimension that we call spirit — an aspect I call “who we are beyond our skin.” We can’t see this part of ourselves, but together with body and mind, it makes up our whole being. In our culture, we deny a part of our whole being by not acknowledging this invisible level of ourselves. Yet all the while we send and receive negative thoughts and energy like “poison arrows,” not realizing the harm we do to our entire being. Energy we send through our thoughts and feelings impacts both our physical and emotional health as well as the world around us. That doesn’t mean we need to stop having negative feelings. It is our right as humans to have and express the range of feelings from joy and love to fear and anger.... It’s a part of what makes us feel alive. At the same time, it is important for us to look at what kind of situations and interactions trigger us, and then to learn to manage our reactions, express our thoughts and feelings in a healthy way, and all at the same time, transform negative energy to positive energy. It’s not an easy task, but if we want to change the world we need to focus on changing ourselves. Throughout time spiritual teachings have taught that our outer world is a reflection of our own inner state of consciousness. And no matter what outer negativity is being thrown your way, you have the power to start with yourself transform that energy to a positive outcome in the world. Here I’ve outlined 8 simple ways to transform negative energy. 8 Simple Practices to Transform Energy

1. Breathe Breathing is one of the simplest ways to transform energy. When you are in a state of reaction, your breathing becomes shallow. By breathing deeply, you naturally transform your reactive state.

2. Set an Intention When you feel upset, just say the following statement to yourself: “I need to express how I am feeling right now, and I ask that the energy of my feelings be transformed into love and light so I am feeding the world with love.”

3. Think of a Precious Image The energy behind your emotions goes out to all living beings. If confronted by someone who evokes strong emotions, think of a loved one and impose his or her image on the face of the person challenging you. For example, you might work with the face of a baby kitten, puppy, or your favorite flower. What thoughts do you want to send to those you love?

4. Use the Power of Words Spiritual traditions teach that words are vibration and the words we use affect our lives. As children many of us used the phrase “abracadabra.” This is actually an Aramaic phrase “Abraq ad habra” and means, “I will create as I speak.” Use words throughout the day which remind you of the energy of love.

5. Be Grateful Think about what you are grateful for. Being grateful always transforms your current state of consciousness.

6. Project Strength Don’t pity others whom you perceive as suffering — this only pushes them deeper into a hole. When you see people in their divine light and perfection you help give them the strength they need to deal with their troubles.

7. Connect with Nature Water can wash away your pain. As you wash, visualize negative energy flowing from you and being transformed into light. As you stand in the wind, imagine the wind carrying what needs to be released and being transformed into light. Light a candle and imagine the fire transmuting your intense feelings. Or you can bury your troubles in the earth with the intention that the energy be transformed to love.

8. Surround Yourself in Light If you feel someone is being energetically hostile toward you, imagine a protective light surrounding you. Some people think of being surrounded by white light. I imagine being enclosed in a translucent blue egg. Find a color that works for you.

The Shift Network